Before and After: Updating the Living room’s fireplace

We moved exactly five months ago to Madrid so I thought it was time to start sharing the updates I have been making to our new home. It’s been a busy time and those things really tend to take way much time than anticipated. Despite the undeniable progress I still have many points to cross off my to-do list. Styling and taking pictures takes me sometimes as much time as painting an entire room (hey who wants to see all the baby stuff lying around on the ground?).

A few days ago I finally finished painting our living room. The walls were white like in the entire house but still had holes from where furniture had been fixed earlier. It wasn’t that bad but I just wanted to create something with a more polished look which for me simply doesn’t cut it with white walls.

Emerald Green Interiors Before & After Fireplace

I hate to share pictures that are not pretty but what’s a “Before and After” blog post without the before pictures? Here is the picture of the fireplace area taken when we visited the house a second time after deciding that this would be the one. You can see bits of the terrible floor tiles that had probably been there since the early seventies when the house was built. And don’t you love the lovely (not!) radiator set in the middle of the wall?

Emerald Green Interiors Before & After Fireplace1

Below is a picture taken the day before we moved in. You can get a better sense of the space without furniture and the new wooden oak laminate certainly creates a more neutral backdrop. Sorry the picture is grainy. You can see that there is a weird wooden vertical plinth on one wall corner. We have those all over the house. There are supposed to protect the corners and seem to be a quite popular practice in Spain. Needless to say that I hated them form day one as they were breaking up the space visually. Do you notice that the recomposed stone used for the base and for the sides of the chimney is of two different colors?

Emerald Green Interiors Before & After Fireplace4

So here is the after: I painted the walls, the awkward vertical plinth and the two colored fake stone parts of the fireplace. Thanks to a little paint the plinth disappears and the fireplace goes from pseudo traditional to modern. Luckily the wooden beam of the lintel has survived forty years without being varnished glossy dark brown, like all the woodwork in the house, and has a lovely worn raw wood color. I hung this fabulous colorful print over the fireplace. I found it in Brussels before our move and just sprayed white paint over the ivory mat. The plant collection is the indirect result of my participating in the Urban Jungle Blogger column. Add a few natural fibers baskets and our Iranian carpet, et Voilà!

Emerald Green Interiors Before & After Fireplace

The transformation is quite impressive but the means used were actually quite minimal. Never underestimate the power of a good paint job. It can correct and hide many flaws. How do you like my first “Before and After”? Do you want to see more? Have a lovely day!

* Photography by Corinne Kowal

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  • Oh yes! Definitely want to see more…ReplyCancel

  • And I love those gorgeous wood floors! What a transformation; very nice…ReplyCancel

    • Dear Libby, I hate to disappoint. Those floors, despite being a huge improvement from the terrible floor tiles we had, are actually not as gorgeous as what you think. There are laminate floors which is a cheap alternative to real wooden floors. Their look s decent but having lived in flats with real wooden parquet I can tell you that there is a real difference.ReplyCancel

  • Corrine, you have done a great job without doing much to your fireplace. It stands out so much more and definitely has its contemporary aura about it! But hey, on the bright side the laminate flooring does look so much more awesome than the old tiles you had! Great post!ReplyCancel