Fireplace Design

This is going to be another one of those posts like the laundry room and the mudroom where I design it WAY before it will ever materialize into reality. So I apologize in advanced.

As I have posted before, I took a SketchUp class and am really enjoying designing in 3D. After the mudroom is finished, [it’s ALMOST there!!!!], we will tackle the fireplace.

Here’s how it looks now.

Here is the new design. I did not include the windows in the round living room in this 3D rendering because it is a very time-consuming process. I will add those at a later date. 🙂


Rendering of new fireplace design.

We want to incorporate black-painted steel like we have on our staircase. That’s what we are using for the material of the mantel.


This is a photo of the black-painted steel from the staircase. We will match this with the fireplace mantel material.

These are the tiles we’ve picked out.


Marble fireplace tile – White Oak 3D Honed 

Fireplace box surround tile – White Oak Marble

Let me know what you think of the design!

mudroom design

As we reassess all of our projects for the remainder of the year, my biggest priority it to get the main floor done enough for when I host Thanksgiving.

When people sit at our dining room table, half of the guests stare at our mudroom. We have the most ginormous opening to the mudroom. Bryce tells me that the architect who did our house design (Bryce purchased the drawings on line, we didn’t hire an architect to design our house) originally planned this space as the front entry. So it has 18′ ceilings. Eighteen foot ceilings are a bit excessive for a mudroom, but we will just make do.

Here are the before shots.

We have IKEA cabinets in our kitchen and are quite happy with those, so I designed the mudroom with their cabinets.

Below is my 3D layout.


The open space in the center high cabinet is for a microwave. A microwave in the mudroom, you say? The mudroom is right off the kitchen and I absolutely HATE microwaves. They are big, ugly, and don’t get me started on how unhealthy they are. They destroy food. That’s all I am going to say about that. But we do use it about once every 3 weeks or so, plus for resale value (not that we will ever sell this house), so we need a microwave.

Near the door to the outside, I have designed upper cabinets. Below them I designed a place to hang coats and to sit and take off your shoes. Then below that padded bench is storage for shoes and other things that we take outside, like a container to collect our eggs.




Custom built-in “locker” with a padded bench and storage.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, so we are planning on purchasing the cabinetry here very soon. We just have to finish the flooring in that room and install baseboards, then we can start assembling the cabinets. So stay tuned for more mudroom updates here soon!





This a purely therapeutic post, I really hope you don’t mind. With a house with so many projects, it’s very easy to get completely overwhelmed by the weight of what’s left to do. It gets depressing!

So to keep my spirits up, I am writing a post to focus on the positives. Here are some pretty great things we have accomplished.


Bryce designed a floating staircase for about $9000 in materials and hired labor. A local stair company wanted to charge us $100,000 to design and build it.


We built a little woodshed while I was pregnant.


We finished a master closet.


We started a front deck and had to stop construction because Bryce’s father passed away, then it was Fall and too rainy to work.


We took on a renovation of a rental, Bryce’s dad’s old duplex.

With how many balls we have up in the air, it is so easy to get overwhelmed by projects undone. I read a great article yesterday (I wish I could find it!) talking about how American culture is so obsessed with before and after. It’s all black and white. The article was about nutrition and finding a slow and steady method that works for you, not an instant fix – “Here’s me before, and now here’s my after!” Reality isn’t like that. It’s a process. This stuff takes a lot of time and a million baby steps forward and a half a million baby steps backwards.

I have to stop, put the project list down, and reflect sometimes on how much we have already accomplished. This is a huge life project and we are working on making a living out of this. Setting up something this grand is a huge endeavor.

Not to mention that through all of this, we are raising a 2 year old, a dog, 6 chickens. Bryce works full time and I am going back to school. Bryce is on a bike racing team and I am training for a triathlon. And in the middle of all of this, Bryce’s father passed away. He graciously left us a duplex in Portland, so we travel down every few weeks and put some hours in on renovating it so we can rent it out and try to make some money to put back into all of these projects.

So thanks for letting me stop and reflect to keep my sanity. This is a big labor of love. This stuff takes time. A LOT OF TIME.