Lessons from A White Painted Fireplace Makeover

Lessons from A White Painted Fireplace Makeover

You know that house in blogland or on Instagram (or in your neighborhood) where everything about it seems absolutely perfect? Well, I think “perfect” can be a misunderstood standard. Especially in our own home.

What does perfect mean to you?

Will a house be perfect if you can spend a lot of money on it? Is it perfect if it has every feature you need or the exact layout you want or is the style you’ve always dreamed about? Is it perfect only if it is in the right location? Or is it perfect if every choice is on trend or makes an Instagram-worthy photo? Is it perfect if everything in it functions the way it should?

Lessons from A White Painted Fireplace Makeover

I found this definition of perfect online:

perfect: having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be.

I feel like the part about having all the required or desirable elements leaves the measuring stick of perfection up to our own interpretation. Which, as Martha would say, is actually very good thing. 

If you decide to set very few limitations on what you deem as required, achievable or desirable qualities, a high standard of comparison to someone else can determine whether or not you have “all the required and desirable elements.”

Lessons from A White Painted Fireplace Makeover

But if your expectation for what is required and desirable is “lower” (perhaps because it takes into account your own priority goals and expectations), what is “perfect” for you right now could take on a different meaning.

You know what I mean? No?

Well, let me try to explain.

Exactly two years ago we bought this house in Seattle. The market was and has been crazy here. So as I mentioned while we were house hunting, we knew we’d have to make some compromises to what house would be “perfect for us.” Our desired location lowered our expectations for the house we’d be buying, haha.

Lessons from A White Painted Fireplace Makeover

Fortunately, we were able to find a solidly built older home that actually feels nice to be in. That was a win, very few houses we looked at had “that warm homey feeling.”  You can’t really put a price tag on a home (or a life) that just feels right. That “feeling” ended up being one of our main criterion for choosing a house, even over a particular style or size.

This house didn’t have every feature I would have listed for my perfect “dream house,” but because it “felt right” we knew in time we could make it our own.

Making it our own doesn’t require that we make the design perfect, but rather, it is about creating a home that “feels right” for your family in the season you are in.

Lessons from A White Painted Fireplace Makeover

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts about our home, I’m increasingly finding myself drawn to simplicity. Not just in designing my home (although this house definitely seems to feel best when we use a certain amount of restraint), but simplicity in life!

Simple decisions all around feel the best to our family right now.

Rather than using perfection or a comparison to someone else’s high standard as a measuring stick, we are trying to use simplicity as one of our main standards for making decisions.

With simplicity as our goal, we can more easily learn to be content with what we can do (or with what are willing to invest in) during this season. 

Lessons from A White Painted Fireplace Makeover

So what does all of this have to do with painting our stone fireplace white?

You might remember that back when we painted our fireplace gray that I had said I wasn’t sure I’d want white stone. Painting the stone gray made sense to me, so gray it was! I knew it would serve our space well for the time-being. Paint wasn’t the “ultimate” fix I dreamed of, but it was the simplest and best choice for us in that season.

I thought by this point in time I’d be ripping out the stone anyway and putting in my dream fireplace. But even if we had to wait for many years, I told myself that I could always try to paint the fireplace white the next time I wanted a fresh new look.

Lessons from A White Painted Fireplace Makeover

When I got the itch recently to make some updates to our living room, I really thought the time had come to rip out the fireplace and start over. But when I used simplicity as my guide, I realized that once again that the simplest way to make changes was to apply a new paint color to the fireplace.

I reminded myself that if I didn’t like it or grew tired of it in time, I could always take a more drastic (and expensive, ha) approach when I was more prepared to tackle a bigger project with a bigger budget.

But that day was not today. Or that week. Or this summer. Or this year.

So, we painted it white!

And you know what? I’m totally OK with it. In fact, I think I actually like it white. I definitely like it better than I thought I would. It feels like a fresh, simple and clean backdrop for the room. So, now I’m extra excited about decorating for fall and Christmas! And all it took was some paint.

I’m even starting to feel OK with leaving the fireplace as it is for awhile, at least for as long as it makes sense. Because in this season in our life, simple actually feels almost perfect. You know what I mean?

Lessons from A White Painted Fireplace Makeover

And if you’re wondering what this fireplace looked like when we moved in, below is a flash back to the before!

Lessons from A White Painted Fireplace Makeover

Do you ever find yourself craving a life of greater simplicity? How does that play into the design of your home?

Lessons from A White Painted Fireplace Makeover


Fireplace and wall paint color – Simply White Benjamin Moore

Mirror (mine was purchased locally but I believe this is the same one!)

Watercolor quote artwork on mantel

Rattan daybed

Gray and white pom pillow

Woven basket in fireplace

Birch logs

Woven Shades


Lessons from A White Painted Fireplace Makeover

A Growing Fiddle Leaf Fig?

A Growing Fiddle Leaf Fig?

This guy right here? He’s a fighter. I’ve actually never had a fiddle leaf fig survive in my care. Isn’t that dreadful? I shared one of my sad fiddle leaf sagas (a different fiddle leaf) a few years ago and unfortunately, that one didn’t make it. Of the four fiddle leaf figs I’ve had over the years, none are still with me.

Except…THIS GUY.

A Growing Fiddle Leaf Fig?

He had a bit of a rough transition to our new house (I left him unattended for several weeks outside while we were moving in the heat of the summer and many of his leaves turned brown and crunchy). But after a few months of getting him settled into a new home, he was looking pretty good.

But my, how he’s grown. In fact, that’s why I’m sharing about him today. I need more fiddle leaf advice! This time not because my fiddle leaf is withering, but because I have a GROWING FIDDLE LEAF and I have no idea what to do next!

A Growing Fiddle Leaf Fig?

He’s growing so much that his arms (?) trunks? are bending over from the weight of his ginormous leaves. Some of the new leaves are over 16 inches across, they are BEAUTIFUL! But the size of his leaves and the span of his arms (he has four) have me wondering if there’s something I should be doing for him that I’m not (besides moving my lamp and furniture to give him more room, ha).

A Growing Fiddle Leaf Fig?

Because I’ve always been afraid of upsetting him, I’ve never pruned him or repotted. I water him once a week and he likes that. Well, he hasn’t said anything to me out loud (bless) but he is alive, green and lovely so I’m assuming that he must be content with whatever situation he’s got going on here, at least for the moment.

Maybe it’s expected that his arms will continue to get super long like that? He’s not really very tall, just growing wider in all directions :).

A Growing Fiddle Leaf Fig?

A Growing Fiddle Leaf Fig?

He isn’t in a very big pot and I can see roots (they’ve always looked like that, I think). I could repot or put him in a slightly bigger pot with more soil? Or, do you think I shouldn’t risk it and as long as he’s happy just leave him be?

A Growing Fiddle Leaf Fig?

Should I take this opportunity with his robust health and growth to repot and prune? What would happen if I prune? Wouldn’t his arms grow just as long again?

The new leaves are so pretty I hate to cut it all back to the older not as pretty leaves only to (hopefully) start over again. What if he goes into shock? What if he gets mad or…dare I say it, what if I kill him?


If anyone knows what to do with a growing fiddle leaf, I’d be grateful for the advice. :)

Room Sources:

Round wood pedestal table (drop-leaf)

Cable-knit wool rug (on sale)

Metal barrel plant pot

Chalk Paint fireplace makeover details

Shop my house and latest decor finds

A Growing Fiddle Leaf Fig?