Friday, March 10, 2017

Before and Mostly After

alaska home decor blog dark blue fireplace modern mountain home

I realized recently that while I have shared photos here and there of the living room, I hadn't really shown anybody what it looked like before we made the changes: 

I didn't take any good "before" photos so I have to use this one from the listing. And here's some quick iPhone photos to show off the progress:

The first order of business was painting the fireplace. I mentioned to Andrew that I wanted it to look like navy blue brick. Not like a blue-painted brick fireplace but like someone had actually made blue bricks and put them together with blue mortar. He thought it sounded nuts but luckily our marriage is one of trust so off I went! I scoured the internet but found zero resources or tutorials on how to make it happen. In this age of blogs and Pinterest it's always a shock to find yourself without directions. Like, fine I'll just figure out how to make lemon lavender black pepper biscotti myself internet. Aaaaaanyway, I found a good photo of some aged (regular) bricks and tried to figure out how I could replicate the "bloom" that older bricks can have.

First I painted the entire fireplace in a deep matte blue. Then I mixed 4 parts water, 1 part of the same blue paint, and 1 part white paint. I took a rag and would randomly pat some of the mixture onto a brick and then wipe it off with a dry towel. I'd do about 5 or 6 bricks at a time before wiping just so it could soak into the holes and cracks a bit. And then I repeated that until the whole fireplace was done. Even if they don't look exactly like real blue bricks I like the depth and texture it brings to that part of the room. 

The finished result! The photograph is by me and if you're local you might recognize the chairlifts at the Arctic Valley Ski Area. At some point I'd love to sell prints but until then I'll just talk about it on the internet. 

 The next thing we did was replace the flooring. It's hard to tell from the "before" photo but the carpet had a mauve-y hue to it. It was nice carpet but pretty dated and once the fireplace was painted it really didn't go. Our flooring is by K√•hrs in the Oak Oyster color. It's an oiled hardwood, well, actually it's an engineered hardwood. The salesperson told us that real hardwood flooring doesn't do well in very dry south-central Alaska climate - and judging by us having to fight the warping of our butcher block countertops I'd say she's right. If you are ever interested in an oiled hardwood floor I recommend you do some research first on the upkeep, there is some maintenance . The reason we love and picked it is that it develops a great patina with use. With three kids the developing of patina is probably going a lot faster than those without haha!

So that's the changes we've made. One project we have left is replacing the mauve hearth tiles with something else. We're leaning towards putting in white concrete. Design-wise, I've got a ways to go. This room has been a challenge both with it's size/shape (14'x40') and having a corner fireplace. But I'm really excited by the progress and am excited to share it with you!


Couch: West Elm Tillary Sectional in Performance Velvet, Ink Blue
Swiss Cross Pillows: Upp North Co. (here)
Copper Side Table: Target (current version here)
Rug: IKEA (here)
Coffee Table: Sven Aage Madsen (see more of his stuff here)


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