Fireplace Makeover: Tile Options & Plan

By Kate Riley August 12, 2015

*This post is in partnership with Floor & Decor.

I’m preparing for a mini remodel of the fireplace in our family room. The gas fireplace is offset and because of that has never looked right to me. There is also a niche above which I feel very “meh” about, I’m not a big fan of niches, so I finally decided to frame it in and hang either a bigger flat screen TV above or some really cool art. You can see how unbalanced the fireplace looks below from this older post about painting the built ins on both sides.

I also decided it was time to fix the fireplace tile that I’ve never liked, it was a last second desperate choice made to fill the space because the tile guy was on site and I had a newborn and a two year old in my arms and needed the tile that same day. It’s brown and boring and off the shelf and it has bugged me for years which is why I rarely photograph this space and every time I sit down in this room (ahem, everyday) I have that same feeling of “that really needs to change” so the time has come to make it so.

family room built ins

So the plan is to 1) center the gas fireplace so it’s balanced, 2) fill in the niche above and run electrical to mount a flat screen TV (or hang art, still debating), and 3) swap out the tile for something more contemporary. The chair and rug are long gone, I’ll share the replacements when I photograph the new look when the fireplace makeover is complete and the new sectional arrives.

My first thought was to reframe the wall to allow the tile go all the way to the ceiling like with this stunning example but then I realized by removing that upper portion of the wall where the niche is I’d have to also remove the crown molding which I like and it looks nice because it wraps all the way around the room. I could also reframe the wall down below and pull the fireplace out those 6 inches but then I’m losing 1/3 of my wood bench and I do like that the way it is, and I’d have to wrap the tile around the edge which may look strange, so instead I decided just to keep it simple and frame in the niche above, perhaps add horizontal planks to that area, center the fireplace, and tile the inset with something more modern.  

I’m on the hunt for new tile to surround the fireplace when it’s reframed. I’m shopping at Floor & Decor for the tile, I had such a positive experience with them on the recent master bathroom vanity remodel. I’m going neutral and timeless, I’m drawn to linear and geometric patterns, here are some of the top contenders, notice the similarities.

fireplace surround tile options

from top left:  1. marble stick linear   2. silver shadow polished linear  3.  white brick marble  4. hex marble 1 x 1”  5. silver fantasy linear marble   6. bianco round  7. sahara carrara brick marble  8. cloud stick glass   9. 2 x 2” hexagon  10. bianco random  11.  carrara milano linear  12.  snow white matte

Which one do you like best? My faves at the moment are #1 and #11 but I have to see all the samples in my house first.

Want more fireplace design inspiration? I’ve been pinning fireplace design ideas all day, check them out here!

fireplace tile inspiration


*this post is sponsored by Floor & Decor, all opinions are my own.

Chopped Salad, Three Ways

By Kate Riley August 11, 2015

Last year I vowed to change the way I eat. 20 pounds had crept up on me and I knew a lot of that came from lazy eating habits. Instead of picking a specific diet I simply decided to eat clean instead. I do not obsessively count calories, I hate feeling hungry so I never ever skip meals, but I do watch pretty carefully what I eat each day and for me the main rule is the food has to be as close to natural as possible. I won’t give up chocolate and red wine but both clean eating and consistent exercise has given me more energy and I’ve stuck with it for a year, dropped the weight, and I’m feeling better than ever.

With my clean eating manifesto comes a lot of salads. A LOT. And like with exercise you can totally plateau and become extremely bored. Lettuce, let’s face it, you’re drab.

good grips salad chopperWhen it comes to salads it’s all about the toppings but I was even growing bored with my go-to favorites, so last week I switched things up with a kitchen gadget that’s helping me love salads again.

I’ve been to a few restaurants and even Subway that offer a chopped salad and I wanted to be able to do it myself at home so I ordered this bowl and chopper combo. I’m hooked!


I love a basic cobb. Butter lettuce, BACON, blue cheese, hard boiled egg, tomatoes, avocado AMEN, and cooked turkey or chicken.

chopped cobb salad ingredients

This tool is cool, you layer the bigger tougher ingredients on top of the lettuce and chop away.

chopping tool




Next, add the more delicate or softer ingredients.

more delicate

Drizzle your dressing (blue cheese or ranch) and toss.

drizzle dresing 3

A classic chopped cobb salad, hello lunch.

classic cobb

So instead of stabbing the salad with your fork it’s more like scooping and that small difference makes the salad taste better in my opinion. More little morsels in each bite. (That plate is vintage Tar-jay, seen here in 2011).