Diagon Alley! Colorful Fire Pinecones

Pardon me while I get my bearings. I’m suffering from weather whiplash. It’s been a bit quiet here on the blog lately because I’ve just returned from a nice vacation in sunny California! And now I’m watching the snow fall heavily outside my window.

As I am enjoying staying inside in our warm house, I thought the perfect way to bounce back into blogging would be to share one of our favorite winter things: colorful fires! I love a good fire and goodness knows we have enough firewood to keep them going.

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Amazon Prime for the DIYer

I am sitting in our brand new family room as I type this post. That is a sentence I never thought I would write! : ) Well, maybe not never, but it was hard to picture it becoming a reality. We have a few more bits and pieces to do before I share an “after” post, so I hope you can all at least pretend to share my excitement!

We, obviously, do a lot of projects around the home. Today I thought I’d talk about a place you wouldn’t necessarily think of for your DIY needs….. Amazon.com!

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C’mon Baby Light my Fire (A Hearth Refresh)

One of the perks of living in the cold, frigid, bone-chilling weather of New England (can you tell how I feel about the direction the weather has taken lately?) is sitting by a roaring fireplace.

I love fires (the kind in fireplaces, that is). They are warm and cozy and smell nice.

Plus, if we didn’t have fires I’m not sure what else we would do with all this firewood in our yard.

This was our fireplace the day we moved into the house. Fairly non-descript. Classic mantle. Old bronze cover. Brick in need of cleaning. Strange pre-historic floor thingy most fireplaces have.

First we ripped out the bronze cover. It was really dated looking.

I started sanding a few spots before we painted and lo and behold.

But this mantle has a secret past. Once upon a time this mantle was teal.


It’s like finding out my favorite librarian was a cocktail waitress.

But it’s secret past is safe with me. And all of you.

After sanding down a few rough spots, I painted the mantle our trim color (Valspar Swiss Coffee in semi-gloss).

And TA-DA. The fireplace is complete. (Sorry for the dark photo. As you can see this was right after we moved in.)

Just kidding. It wasn’t that easy.

As you can see, the interior brick of the fireplace is a little worn looking. We’ve looked into high-heat paints (and even had a lengthy discussion with our local Sherwin Williams store manager), but have yet to find anything that won’t likely burn-up as soon as we start the next fire.

Then, we needed to have a chimney-sweep come clean out the chimney.

*cue “chim-chiminey, chim-chiminey chim chim charoo”


I really wanted our chimney-sweep to show up and sing on the rooftops like Burt. But he was just an old dude wearing a hoodie and he smelled like smoke. Another childhood fantasy dashed upon the ground.

In addition to the sweeping of our chimney, we needed to have the chimney re-tipped (they needed to repair some cement-work at the top of the chimney) and we also needed to have it re-capped (to avoid any more wild animals using our bathroom).

It looks sort of like this:

We purchased a stainless steel chimney cap for our house. This is one of the necessary projects that is entirely under-whelming.

But that’s a fact of renovating. It’s 20% exciting and 80% stuff no one will ever notice. So I need to point it out to someone. 🙂

Actually, this is a perfect example of DIY renovating. People think you just painted the mantle, when really you had to have the chimney guys come over three different times to estimate, sweep, cement and install. I could hear rain drops pitter pattering in our fireplace people! There were larger issues at hand!

All that to say – we love our fireplace now!

We purchased a screen from Lowe’s (and are considering putting a new door cover on in the future).

We enjoyed a roaring fire all night long for our New Year’s Eve party!

(Sorry about the autumn decor! I’m quite behind on posting about our different projects.)

I’m still not sure what to do about the weird floor though. Our fireplace is flush with the hardwood so it doesn’t make sense to build something. For now I don’t even see it behind our coffee table, so it stays. : )

Are you a bigger fan of fireplaces or campfires? I can’t decide.