Farmhouse Fireplace Decor
I love to ponder the history of our home: who lived here, what life was like through the decades, and how each family made its mark herein. We struggle to walk that fine line in this old farmhouse- what is reasonable to alter and what is not. This wall in our kitchen, in which there is an original fireplace (we think), serves no other purpose. It cuts the otherwise large kitchen in two, thereby extinguishing any designs on that extra-large center island, or any island at all for that matter. Still, we are committed to preserving it (for now). I like the stone veneer fireplace and have even warmed to the off-center firebox. A burning fireplace is beautiful to behold. Our non-working fireplace is anything but. When you enter into the kitchen from the dining or living room, this is your view. Meh. This farmhouse needs some fireplace love, and decor.
Realistically, it may be years before we get around to rehabbing the fireplace. I’ve filled the opening before with a bucket of birch logs, candles at Christmas, pumpkins in the fall. You get the idea. Holidays have been easier to dress up but the day to day has left me puzzled. The birch logs were pleasant, but one by one they went missing until there were only a couple sad logs left. Our lab snuck them out under cover of night. So, despairing… I decided to undertake a screen of sorts.
I cut a piece of plywood the same dimensions as the opening and glued pallet board pieces to the plywood. Using a staple gun, I then nailed brads from behind to keep the warped boards in place. I rather like the warping though; I felt like it offered some dimension. I also appreciated the grey patina’d boards and decided against sanding any of it. This was super easy to make, aside from having to wrestle the boards free from the pallet itself. In all this hype about pallets, I would have thought someone would have commented about how difficult they are to deconstruct. You heard it here.
I consider the pallet board a win. This is also going to be my go-to when I haven’t the time or patience to curate a scene around my firebox because, after all, it’s a firebox. I’ll take this opportunity to tell you about my fail as well. I undertook to create a second panel (same size) to which I intended to adhere 1″ birch log cuts. I saw the photo somewhere and decided to replicate it. I hope I may yet have a finished product to show you at some point. However, … this was again harder than I expected. Am only in this moment realizing: I may be the problem. I hauled birch logs out of the woods, determined not to purchase something that nature readily provides in my backyard. After heaving it home, I discovered the logs to be unusable – fully decayed. Plan B called for my purchasing the log. Principle be damned.
Cutting 1″ discs on the chop saw turned out to be an exercise more closely resembling a martial arts film. Each disc was a weapon of destruction, as it inevitably took flight from the saw at an alarming velocity. I was Neo; sidestepping the disc of death. I quickly tired of this Matrix movie and quit the project until I could enlist the help of my handier, handy-man husband. To be continued.
As mentioned, I love the idea of the panel and will undertake to find other good panel options – maybe a stained glass window? However, I also think the firebox is an ideal space to adorn with anything you want to showcase. Mine happens to be in plain view and therefore, you either dress it up or hide it. Since the black sooty walls are the problem, I opted to hide those while using the space to showcase other prizes. I cut a foam core trifold to the dimensions of the space and then using a spray adhesive tacked on this black and white check fabric.
I originally chose the fabric with these vibrant greens in mind. I expected the green would pop against the more subtle black and white backdrop. Not sure I agree with my earlier assessment. Red accents might be the way I go next time. I have a lot of house plants though and I like having the opportunity to group them together. I think the ferns and sedum, with their bright hues and wispy foliage, offer a soft contrast to the austere stone space.
Bookcase in the space – not for me. I tried it, but it felt forced, too busy, without rhyme or reason. I was, however, glad to discover that this antique crate fit the space so well. Now that I’ve dragged it out of storage, I’m committed to finding it a new home, out and about town. Though not a fan of this book nook, I do like the crate here, as it fills the space perfectly. Consider a small piece of furniture – a stool, a crate – that allows you to stack items on and lends height to your display.
My countertop is lined with fruit we’ve picked from our trees, and other garden finds. Harvest is real. Depositing them here gets them off my work space while providing a burst of color against this darker backdrop. I grew squashes and baby pumpkins this year that I’m crazy proud of and want displayed prominently on the top of my tiered tower. Another reason I like this here is that the tiered tower is taller than maybe you realize. Atop my counter, it clamors for the sky and becomes the only focal point of the kitchen.
I saw some other great firebox ideas online that I may yet try. I like the idea of a stainless glass window and some version of an old gate. My rowdy boys and jumpy lab give pause to the former, but what’s life without a challenge? I’ll be on the lookout for both as I map these upcoming weekends around fall fairs and antique shows. The kids devour carnie food and I feast on people’s old treasures. We’re in our glory.
I will post the birchwood panel as soon as I get my less than eager husband to help me cut those wily discs. The holidays will no doubt find us filling that space with Christmas flare that we haven’t the heart to give up, Christmas hand-me-downs that should have been left with Christmases past. Candles and lanterns will warm the space through the winter (fire hazard foam-core removed) and then we’ll be unto spring! Look at that – a New England winter just came and went painlessly. You’re welcome.
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