I am terribly proud of my fireplace. Five or so years ago when I bought my house, I told the real estate agent that the most important criteria was that the focal point of any prospective home had to be a great fireplace. I love the house I ended up with, especially the floor plan. The fireplace was larger than average (for 1956 houses) but REALLY ugly. It was faced with white painted brick and someone had glued down odd sized pieces of black slate on the hearth leaving wide dirty white grout lines. For a year or two I lived with it, plotting its reinvention. Tile was the answer. Now some folks would hesitate before using the focal point of their home as their very first tiling project. I am made of more foolhardy stuff. After only a brief Home Depot tiling demo I went ahead and jumped into the job.
Here is a "before" picture of the fireplace, as I set up to start tiling.
Tiling turns out to be easier than you might think as long as you apply a little math and you count on lots of spare tile for breakage. Oh and remember to get out all the cat hair before sealing the grout. I ran into a slight conundrum when I tiled above the opening. The Home Depot demo didn't cover vertical surfaces and the effects of gravity. Luckily I had a little table and a length of 2X4 of just the right size.
I finished the fireplace a long time ago, scraped the popcorn off the ceiling, and painted the walls orange. I am ever so pleased with my livingroom. But for over a year now I have had a blank wall over the fireplace. It is directly opposite the couch so I have had huge opportunity to contemplate adding the perfect piece of art. I have even fantasized about maybe painting the right picture myself. Yesterday it hit me - the print I have had hanging in my office at work for about 10 years might be just the thing. Here it is, now hung over the fireplace. It is not perfect (it is too small) but it definitely will do for now. And the subject matter goes great with my small herd of folkart farm animals on the mantel.