Marble Fireplace Makeover

By Kate Riley January 4, 2017

When we purchased this investment property last year, one of the things I knew I wanted to change was the fireplace in the living room. It’s a focal point in the home and the first thing you see when you walk in the front door. I wanted it to wow a future buyer and make it a selling point too.

Over the weekend we finished the tile, grout, and Matt built a new mantel with the help of my dad. I love the look of this newly remodeled fireplace!



This is what the fireplace looked like when we bought this house. Not horrible with its basic ceramic tile and a plain mantel that matched the light beige walls, but not very exciting either. And what’s up with that tiny sliver of tile in the middle? That was bugging me.



The first thing we did was remove the old tile. Originally I wanted to remove the hearth base and have only the sides of the fireplace meet the floor, but when I opted for luxury vinyl plank flooring instead of tile flooring I had to keep the hearth base in place for fire safety. Tearing out the old tile destroyed the drywall so it needed to be replaced.


The surround and base also required new drywall before the new tile could be applied.


Once those steps were completed I went shopping for tile. There’s a huge Floor & Decor store 20 minutes from this house in Las Vegas so I stopped in to look for something that would work well for the design I had in mind. I wasn’t disappointed, I found the perfect marble stone tile, this is the Golden Valley Marble Mosaic and it has beautiful brown veining running through it.

You can order this tile online but I’m super picky when it comes to natural marble or stone and a big believer in choosing it in person. I like consistency among the colors running through the natural marble and I noticed some of the mosaics in the boxes had really dark pieces.


Instead of grabbing and loading up a bunch of boxes I hand picked each tile just to be sure the colors were similar among them. This isn’t the case with manmade porcelain or glass tiles, but with natural stone there can be discrepancies so I like to pick out each piece. It sounds strange when I tell most people this, but shopping for tile is my kind of fun :)



I’m making choices that will appeal to a lot of buyers so the style I’ve chosen with the finish materials is transitional. I want the house to feel fresh and modern but I also want the finishes to have traditional roots. The medley of rich wood tones and a classic stone finish accomplishes just that.

I was drawn to these marble tiles because of their shape with their contemporary elongated rectangles. I’m really pleased with how the brown tones in the marble pick up on the dark stain on the mantel and the floors.


This mosaic was really tight when installed and didn’t require spacers during the process, but you can see below there were little slivers of spaces in between some of the mosaics which I filled with grout in the color Bone.



Matt and my dad spent an afternoon building the mantel. They built it out of birch purchased from Lowes, they built a basic box to go around the old mantel. They mitered the corners then used a brad nailer to piece it together and secure it to the old mantel, it’s a big improvement to the basic mantel that was there before.




I applied one coat of walnut stain to the birch wood to give the mantel a balanced look with the floor. (I still have to go back and apply a coat of clear wax to protect it for the future.)



I’m so pleased with the new look of this fireplace!!





The new fireplace and flooring dramatically change the look of the living room! (Also notice the popcorn ceilings and gone and the walls are textured smooth and painted fresh white.)





Of course I had to style it with a few accessories just to show it off :)


I’ll have more spaces to share in February when the bathrooms in this house are done!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Floor & Decor. The opinions and text are all mine.

Flip House Progress

By Kate Riley January 3, 2017

January greetings and Happy New Year! The past ten days have been really great, I took a break from the blog and most of social media and that felt so good. As a blogger I’m always thinking about new content, but I forced myself to step away and not worry about it until January. And here we are!

Stepping away helps me so much with clarity and setting new goals for the future. After taking a break and then looking back, I see that 2016 was very good to me in my personal life. I feel so blessed to have had a year filled with exciting travel and one spent making great memories. I flipped through all the snapshots on my phone and couldn’t help but smile at all those good times I had just living in the moment. My hope for 2017 is much more of the same!

I’ve been in Vegas for a week working on the flip house and reconnecting with my extended family. I had cousins from all over gathering in town and we spent days talking and playing games and it was the BEST!

I’m easing back into blogging with a flip house progress report. Yesterday we left the subcontractors in charge of finishing the two bathroom remodels underway. Here are a few cellphone snapshots I took before I left town showing the progress that’s been made so far. While in town we worked mostly on the hall bathroom and the fireplace in the living room.

I shared a picture of the hall bathroom here, now it’s looking very different. We removed the old tile in the shower and floor and replaced it with more modern choices. The new shower tile is larger in scale (link below), it still needs to be grouted. The floor tile is a graphic pattern I found at Home Depot, it also needs grout. I forget the name of it but I’ll share it when I photograph it and feature it next month.

I’m going for contrast in here, white walls and a dark wood vanity with a white quartz countertop. I chose this vanity and this tile for the backsplash behind the sink, it’s gonna be gorgeous when complete!

The master bathroom has been gutted and the walls retextured but still needs everything: new flooring, a new vanity, and shower tile. I’m ordering a custom vanity so this space will take a few more months to finish.

For this shower I’m also using the same calacatta porcelain tile as in the hall bathroom shower, it looks fantastic in person and is so affordable. Highly recommended!

The only thing that’s complete in the kitchen is the smooth textured walls and vinyl plank flooring. Right now it’s a blank canvas. I mapped out the measurements for the cabinet plan since I’ll be ordering those next week. I like the idea of using green gray cabinets in here with white quartz countertops. I’ll share more ideas on this space as decisions are made, catch a glimpse of the ‘before’ here.

The new Armstrong vinyl plank floors were completed a few months ago, I wrote about their installation back in August. We replaced all the old yellowed electrical plates with white ones, the baseboards are also new. The walls are painted Glidden’s White on White which I also used in the community spaces in the first Vegas remodel. We’ve measured for new windows and they will replaced in February.

We also finished up a remodel of the fireplace with marble stone tile and a DIY mantel. I’ll share the details and better pictures of the fireplace makeover tomorrow.

Fingers crossed we can finish up the bathrooms and kitchen by late spring since the plan is to stage it and put it on the market before summer. Much to do!  :)