Today’s the day! I’m sharing with you guys the reveal of our DIY stone fireplace. I’ll be slowly sharing ALL of our updates (including new floors, paint, etc) but for now I’m going to focus exclusively on our fireplace. This is a long blog post so grab a kombucha (currently living for the *fall themed* kombucha from TJ’s) and settle in.
When we moved into our house last summer, I knew we’d be updating most of the downstairs. The previous owners tended to this house with so much love and kept it in such great shape, but most of the cosmetic features were reminiscent of builder grade 2005 vibes.
OK so without further ado, here is the before…
and here is the AFTER.
The original fireplace had square tan tiles. Definitely not the end of the world, but they really clashed with the California-cool living room aesthetic we were going for.
I began researching what we could do to renovate our fireplace without breaking the bank. I originally wanted to rip out the tile, and install a new modern tile on the fireplace. This was way above my DIY comfort level so I had a contractor (I got 2 quotes actually) come out and give me an estimate of what it would cost to have a professional install it. Shocker: way above my budget. It would involve tearing out the old tile on the fireplace and floor (no small task), restructuring/reinforcing the the drywall, and then the product cost and labor of tiling the new fireplace front and floor.
So. Hiring a contractor wasn’t going to work. And like I said, wasn’t into retiling it myself. I then explored the idea of *painting* the tiles. This is becoming a pretty popular idea, and there are a lot of tutorials on Pinterest for it. Essentially, to make it look good you have to paint over a stencil and it will create a pattern over your fireplace. I opted against this option because we will be selling this house, and didn’t want something so bold.
After a lot of google searches that went along the lines of “affordable but chic and not tacky fireplace renovation” I found a product called Airstone. It’s a man made, lightweight stone made out of (mostly) recycled material. I’ve always LOVED the look of white stacked stone on fireplaces so this seemed PERFECT.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
Airstone is fairly DIY friendly. You can put it over most materials (brick, drywall, tile) so no demolition is needed. Which is awesome, because unlike Chip Gaines I am not a fan of demo if it’s on my own house haha.
As far as materials needed to install Airstone, you’ll only need:
The Airstone Interior Adhesive (it’s their own special glue, like a grout essentially)
Airstone regular + corner/end pieces (you can buy at Lowe’s or on their website)
A power saw (they say you can use a hack saw — PLZ save yourself the trouble and rent a wet saw from Home Depot or Lowe’s)
A putty knife
You’ll need to order the primary wall stone (just the regular rectangle pieces) and corner end pieces (they’ll have a smooth edge so your ends don’t look horrid).
We used the “birch bluff” color pattern. It’s the best IMO. They’re mostly white with a hint of grey and beige mixed in for that perfectly illusive *greige* color that can go with almost any color scheme. I have tried to keep the tones of my editing very true to the original so you can get an idea of the color!
Almost every blog post I’ve seen on Airstone says the pictures don’t do it justice, and I totally agree. I mean don’t get me wrong, I love the pics but seeing it in person is SO much better. The texture is so legit, and the colors are so complex on each individual piece of stone.
First you’ll want to open all your boxes of Airstone and lay out all the pieces of stone on the floor. Undoubtedly you’ll have some that are broken, so make sure you order a little extra than you’ll need.
Look at the colors and see what you’re working with — one box may have an overall darker color than another so be sure to mix them around.
We started at the bottom of our fireplace and worked our way left and up. We didn’t plan the entire layout of the pieces ahead of time because that would be like Tetris, but we did take our time to carefully plan each row.
You’ll want to fit the pieces very snugly next to each other so the gaps aren’t too large.
We rented a power saw (a wet saw) from a hardware store. This was major! Cannot emphasize enough how much you don’t want to use a hand saw to cut the pieces. It took us about 2 full days to lay all the stone.
In addition to adhering the Airstone, we also had to paint the tile on the floor, and spray paint the gold trim on the black fireplace face. To paint the tile, we first used Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 primer. From my research there doesn’t appear to be one clear cut way to paint tile, but this primer was highly recommended. And, they actually have a photo of tile being painted on the can. After 2 coats of primer, I painted it the same trim of white as our mantle.
This project was a bit more time intensive than we thought it would be (esp. with painting the tile, spray painting the gold trim, 2 intensive days of stone laying) but it was SO worth it. It was a ton cheaper than what it would have cost to have a contractor demo the old fireplace, and lay new tile.
I LOVE the new look and how airy and light it all is, even though stone is considered a *heavier* material. What do you guys think??
P.S. If you’d like to save this to your HOME DECOR board on Pinterest, just hover to the top left of any image to pin it.
P.S.S. You can see more home decor/home related posts on my blog HERE.