DIY stucco fireplace turned SOS

Our cottage needed something fresh. We’ve been in this home a few years now, and originally we wanted to keep the stone on the fireplace to help it stay true to who it was. We added a rustic wood mantle and beam and it was quite cozy. Check it out in this feature in BHG.
We really did love it as we love honoring the original character of a home, when it’s timeless.


Fast forward to now… We started dreaming up some ideas and wanted to bring some fresh life to the living space. White, a little modern, but still keeping in with the cottage feel. We loved the idea of stucco (the exterior of the home is original stucco from 1982.) It’s cozy, textured, yet modern with nods of beach living. The plan was to cover the stone, leaving only the top of the hearth original, and also keeping one rustic beam for the modern mantle. I told Casey I thought it was doable, and after-all it was my birthday… so…

Here’s our #tutorial -

STEP ONE - Give yourself a pep talk! You may have never messed with stone before, but you’ve spray painted some things. You have street cred. You’ve got this. 

STEP TWO - Mix together, and cover that thing up! “It’s going to look like a Greece villa that’s been here for hundreds of years by the time I’m done with this.”

STEP THREE - Wow I should probably step outside. Those fumes are making the room spin…

STEP FOUR - Well… *steps back and stares*

STEP FIVE -  SOS…dials number for skilled stucco artisan.

Yes, you read that right. We went ALL in for this DIY and had to hire help to finish the job.
A realization in this entire feat was learning when to put down the tools, step back and allow the professionals to do THEIR job. And guess what? We ended up with a better end result!
There are some things we can tackle in the DIY world, but we will stick with design for the most part ;)

It feels right for a little Disclaimer: Even with design - Pinterest will only take you so far! Designing & managing a whole home renovation is not a small task. When it comes to pairing certain finishes, handling the nitty gritty details, communicating with the contractor, measuring to make sure things will actually work & particular knowledge on products, we have 17 years of experience in this.
And while we may not be skilled stucco artisans (So close, so close), we’ve built an incredible team that in turn creates a better end product of experience and design for clients, because we carry that knowledge and experience. We know our land and our specialty is doing design and operating as a construction management specialist.

Okay, enough of that… Here’s what you really came here for - the photos!
Let’s take a look at our cottage fireplace journey…

Here is the “before-before" // When we first bought our home.


Here is the fireplace after our renovation a few years ago with original stone (note: the rug changed out maybe 3x, so this is an older one)

Here’s the DIY process on our end. We mixed the mortar and concrete and started filling in all the grooves… seemed easy enough… it’s not.

Floating the stucco evenly was NOT easy and getting a mix that wouldn’t dry out too fast or be too soupy was SUPER challenging also. This is when it turned the corner, thanks to hired help!

Here is where we landed!! // White stucco fireplace with original stone hearth & rustic wood beam.
Currently a mirror to help it feel more open with the low 8ft ceilings. Knowing me, this will change frequently :)


We absolutely LOVE how the finished product turned out! It added such a fresh & bright feel to our low ceiling and limited natural light living room. We love that it has movement to give an old/textured feel to coincide with our cottage home feel.

Just as we evolve, and styles change over the years, the home can feel that itching too. You don’t have to take away from what it is, but you can bring some life to something with fresh eyes.

And as you can see it’s Adeline approved! :)

- Anisa & Casey