A Testing Ground

So much of finding your own style is trial and error, don’t you think?

There are remodeling ideas and looks that I’ve wanted to try, but my house just isn’t the right place to act as a testing ground – our home is “done” from a construction standpoint, no more renovations going on here. (However, you know I’ll never be able to resist switching up the decor.)

So, that leaves our flips.  Cue wicked laughter and rubbing hands together gleefully.

Obviously these houses are designed to appeal to a wide market, so I can’t get too crazy.  But I can test out a few things here and there, right?  Right.

With this flip in particular I’m kind of letting loose a little.  For example, I think I want all white walls in our next house, so I’m testing it out here.  And I’ve become smitten with the look of gray-painted brick with a watery turquoise front door, so I’m testing it out here.

exterior paint samples

Gray cabinets, the trend that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere?  Testing it out in the kitchen and guest bathroom at this flip.

A slightly more contemporary vibe?  Testing it out in a few places at this flip, but what immediately comes to mind is the fireplace.

Here’s how it started out looking:

It's Great To Be Home - "Before" Photos of Our 6th Flip

Whoa sadness. And I don’t know how that’s the “best” before photo I have of the fireplace – apologies.

After demo, drywall and new flooring, now it’s a blank slate that looks like this:


I sketched up an elevation of that wall so that I could try out a few different looks for the fireplace.


Pinterest was of course my first resource for inspiration.  The fireplaces that immediately grabbed my attention were very minimalist – just a simple wooden surround without any detailing.  Swoon city.  I added a little chunkiness to my inspiration images and came up with this:


But then I worried that a minimalist fireplace would get lost in that giant room, with that super tall ceiling.  So, back to the drawing board.  And I came up with this:


Still minimalist, but taller and therefore more substantial.  The horizontal lines above the brick represent a streamlined mantle that would project out a bit.  I think this option is definitely the safe choice…but I don’t like it nearly as much as the smaller, lower version.  So, I’m taking a risk and going with my favorite.

Fingers crossed it turns out.

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  1. Garret says:

    Looks like your getting some home remodeling done on this drab, and boring home! I am liking the sound of your color ideas, can’t wait to see the finished product!

  2. Katrina says:

    I like nice streamlined fireplaces! Can’t wait to see how this look turns out!

  3. I’m excited to see the turquoise door. We’re in the market for a new door when we do our renovation (if we do) and I’m leaning towards a colorful door. I don’t think my husband will go for it, but you never know what a good inspiration photo may do to sway him!

  4. Debbie says:

    If I were a buyer I think I’d prefer the first choice, the smaller fireplace. It would be easier to hang something over it and not be forced to choose because of the size of the fireplace surround.

  5. Mike Thompson says:

    Hi, Liz! Another great couple of recent posts. About the fireplace, I tend to agree that the overmantle, while nice, is a bit too overpowering and lends itself more with a traditional vibe, which I gather is the opposite direction your were headed. The smaller, more simple mantle is definitely the way to go, IMO. As to the paint scheme (you said you were leaning all-white), I prefer the dark trim and light/white walls. It would tie in so nicely with the kitchen cabinetry and floor tiles you’ve chosen. My suggestion would be to take some modest risks. Paint is cheap and buyers can always repaint later. Time and again you have demonstrated a fine eye for design in all of of your “rescues” (again, I love that term over flip) that you may in fact be setting a design trend that many buyers will swoon over. You’ve convinced me to try something similar to my home’s interior. As with other projects I am gaining courage to tackle, I owe my inspiration to you.

    Best regards,

  6. Suzie says:

    Also, like the coastal blue/greens you show at the top of this post! Another that I’ve used from SW that has that feel is Sea Salt (SW 6204). On the wall, it’s BEAUTIFUL soft, green/blue breezy coastal color that’s a bit neutral and doesn’t scream for attention. Looks more depressing in the fandeck, but I promise it’s not!! Good luck!

  7. Keith Grubb says:

    Amazing difference adding the hip roof. You have quite the talent I might add. I will be checking in on what you have to say in the future.

  8. Aimee says:

    Liz, love your blog posts, but also enjoy reading your readers’ responses. It is sort of like a remodeling/decorating Dear Abby thing.
    I’m eagerly waiting to see the fireplace and front
    door transformations!

  9. Cindy says:

    I have been secretly following your blog and I love the way you find small things that totally change the look of a room, like in flip five how much difference the flooring made with the bay window and a bit brighter paint on the walls, I am loving it. I really can’t wait to see what happens with this one!

  10. Virginia Jane says:

    I discovered your blog a month or two ago and am finally caught up with all your flips – from beginning to end. I love seeing what you do.

    I have noticed that you tend to locate the microwave below counter level in a base cabinet. I realize that a choice like that is always a personal preference, but as I get older, I really want it to be closer to eye level. Also, though my kids are now in their upper 20’s, I wouldn’t want one placed so low if I had young children in the home. Seems to me like a safer location is up higher. Just a thought.

    Keep up the good work!

  11. Sherri J. says:

    I definitely like the last one. I imagine that you will install some kind of cuboard or storage board on top of the fire place, to make it a bit more decorative?

  12. Lucy says:

    I’d personally like to see the fire place open up a bit more, doesn’t have to be bigger but a bit more open. Maybe removing some the brick tiling will allow it to have that expansive feel to it.

  13. Sarah says:

    Love the gray/turquoise idea. The second inspiration photo is from my neck of the woods (just a couple of towns over from me in Utah). I love the front door, and the low profile fire place. Can’t wait to see more progress!

  14. I do trust all the ideas you have presented in your post.
    They’re very convincing and will certainly work. Nonetheless, the posts are very short for beginners. May you please extend them a bit from next time? Thank you for the post.