Sometimes fireplace wishes do come true. After fifteen years of plans and savings, we finally remodeled our fireplace, mantel, and hearth. It was the early 2000s when our home was built. By 2018 we had paid off a ten-year and 5-month business loan and discovered the valuable real estate hidden behind our Costco flat screen.

We also discovered Netflix, which changed the concept of leaving the house to watch a movie and the need to leave the theater to use a public restroom.

What did we do before the pause button?

We had a gigantic space behind our flat screen that was originally created for big tube televisions. Those were popular in the early 90s like stirrup pants and Esprit sweaters.

Remember those big box televisions that weighed 300 pounds and every seller generously listed their television as an inclusion?  My husband paid our mechanic $50 to take our television to the dump.  

With a tape measure in hand, we discovered the valuable real estate hidden behind our updated Costco flat screen. Of course, with any family room reconfiguration or remodel the most important question is:

where do we put the television?

It was my husband’s first question and he could not wrap his head around the television being above the fireplace. I already knew the answer to his question because I had compiled notes on our decisions.

Years ago we met with an architect and she drew up plans for our dreams of a double-sided fireplace between the family and living room. It was going to be amazing.

Until our contractor started to talk about steel beams and floor joists. And then our contractor suggested we use the same fireplace plans and adapt our existing fireplace into a two-story stone fireplace and hearth with a mantel.



  1. ORDER THE FIREPLACE EARLY (FIRST) Provide the contractor with all the manufacturer measurements and details. Review, measure, review measure. The contractor framed the fireplace before the installation.


I wanted a mantel for the fireplace for the Christmas stockings. We ended up with a Douglas Fir mantel. We opted for the same boxed style we made for our DIY basement fireplace remodel. Because of the size of this wall and the weight of the mantel, we had our contractor coordinate the mantel details.

Fun fact the wood slab was delivered to our yard and then it was built in our garage. The Douglas fir slab is wrapped in the white plastic wrap below.


When we gutted the fireplace and the existing 12×12 stone tiles we had 33″ inches of stone on each corner of the hearth. The center of the hearth housed the fireplace.

We opted for a 13″ stone hearth to extend out from the fireplace. It is my favorite part of the fireplace. It adds seating and a place to warm up in the chilly winter months.

It is also the perfect backdrop for family photos!


This was my same advice for this lighting upgrade tip. We replaced our builder’s basic fireplace insert with a 40″ wide by 36″ tall fireplace from this store in the Denver metro area. Making the decision to go larger made the fireplace a real statement piece. We wanted the loo of all the oversized fireplaces in the mountains.


If you are changing the room’s layout or in our case the fireplace, the television was a more difficult decision than deciding on the name for our third child.

We briefly entertained the idea of placing the television on the opposite wall. But we were more likely to be on the couch to watch football or Netflix than to stare at the fireplace. Initially, I did not love the idea of the television above the stone fireplace. But in the end, my visions of stockings came true- they were just aligned with the television frame below.

Oh and that blank wall on the opposite side of the family room and on the opposite side of the living room. Well, we made the living room wall into a library wall. You can see seasonal photos of our living room on my Instagram (please follow or comment). I follow back!


Thank you for stopping by today. I would love it if you pinned this image for others to find! If you love thrifty and one-hour projects please sign up for the Weekend Edit an easy breezy four-minute newsletter delivered to your inbox on Saturday mornings. You can sign up here for the Weekend Edit.

If you are thinking of a kitchen remodel here are some tips before you write that first check (or Venmo).

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