Weekend Reading

By Kate Riley January 7, 2017

I spent most of yesterday putting the finishing touches on the community living room and kitchen spaces for the transitional house for veterans in partnership with my local Committee on the Shelterless. I’ve been working behind the scenes with this non-profit for years, and yesterday was move in day so the team finished the house just as the veterans were arriving. It is the best feeling hearing the “wow”s and seeing the smiles when they move in to the home. I’ll be sharing some pictures of the living room and kitchen makeover in the coming weeks.

Confession. I still haven’t cleaned up Christmas. I feel like the last person on earth! I’m under the gun because the pickup tree service comes tomorrow so this evening I’ll be taking down my tree. The garlands and ornaments will be packed away tomorrow then I can finally look at purging the house of the excess that built up over the holidays. I purge seasonally so next week my focus will be on cleaning out those drawers and closets once more. This week has been so lazy for all of us but the kids go back to school next week and that’s when I feel like I can be more productive again with a routine in place.

I agreed to Dry January along with a few friends and I’m one week in, but it’s killing me. I miss my nightly glass of wine! I will persevere and make it to the 31st but if any of you have any recommendations for low calorie, refreshing, non-alcoholic beverages you love to sip on, I’d love some recommendations!! This one is already on my list. Favorite links from the week below:


Thanks Domino for including me among the best budget decorating blogs!

We’ll see more of these 2016 design trends continue this year.

Great tips on how to mix and match nightstands.

I guess I’m not well read but these are the books to read to earn that title.

Loved National Geographic’s best photos of 2016.

Things to do on a plane when you’re bored.

The year of hygge and yes to more of it!

Mmmmm, energy boosting breakfast toasts!

My feelings exactly: loved this article on digital minimalism.



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.