A blog about the restoration, remodel and renovation of a 1929 Chicago-style brick bungalow

Happy 2016!

Happy New Year everyone! Even though I usually prefer to stay at home for New Year’s Eve, we went to a party for a change of pace and had a nice time. Over the past several years I have also been hosting a New Year’s Eve Day brunch with a few friends, which I did again this year (Pete is usually at work). I have to say this year probably lasted the longest ever and we had a great time…which made it hard to keep the energy going and get to a party, but I had a short power nap and second or maybe third wind. 🙂 Most of those same friends were at the same party, so we just kept it going.

Anyway, New Year’s Day was a day for rest and relaxation so no projects, and it’s been nice to enjoy a fire in the almost-renovated fireplace the past few days. We had removed the glass doors from the fireplace a while back to spray paint the dated brass look with heat-resistant black paint but haven’t re-installed them yet (I think I still need to do some touchups), and I kind of like the fireplace without the doors. I’m sure it wastes energy so we’ll reinstall them, but I do like to smell the wood.

Yes, we have the fireplace tiled (I chickened out and waited for Pete to come home that night), except for the trim on the mantel and around the firebox opening. It only took us about an hour to do everything except for a few tiles that had to be cut. We changed our minds a bit on a couple things too.

We were going to create a hearth at floor level with the tile, but I decided to buy a half-round fire resistant rug from Plow & Hearth in a charcoal color. For one, I wasn’t crazy about putting something semi-permanent on the hardwood floor in front of the fireplace, and I thought it’d be nice to be able to put the rug away when the fireplace wasn’t in use. Secondly, by setting a tiled hearth on the surface the floor wouldn’t be completely level, and I wanted to maximize floor space.

The other thing we decided against was tiling the flat surface of the mantel area around the chimney stack. We decided a wood surface would look nicer and be flatter/more even than the tiles (because the tiles are natural slate, there is some variation in thickness). By eliminating those two tiled areas, we saved some time and money.

I’m sure you’re all anxious to see the progress, so without further ado and to start the first post of the new year on a high note, here is a quick shot:


I think for the first time ever I was able to arrange the living room furniture in a way that makes sense and feels right. More on that later, because right now it’s time to run some errands and get ready to work on bookcases!


  1. Jan on January 2, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    Oh my……what a change. It looks great. I agree with you about the hearth. Is that an old copper boiler that you are using for wood?

    • denise on January 3, 2016 at 6:02 pm

      Hi Jan–Thanks! Yes it is a copper boiler! I think that was one of the first antiques I ever bought at an antique store. Pete always thought we should drill some holes in the bottom and make it a planter, but I refused to allow it! It works great here.

  2. Chris on January 2, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    The tile looks very nice. I agree that an appropriate flame proof rug would work very well with your decor. It would protect your floors with a minimal visual impact.

    As an armchair DIYer, I have enjoyed following your blog and admire the way you have transformed your bungalow.

    BTW, were there any changes to your landscaping/garden this last year?

    • denise on January 3, 2016 at 6:09 pm

      Hi Chris, thanks for following my blog and commenting–I really appreciate it! As for the garden, I don’t think we did much this year other than maybe adding a few plants. Our vegetable garden did very well; we had tomatoes until November! I do want to change a few things so hopefully we’ll work on those this spring.

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