Family Room Gets Rustic Renovation

Faux shiplap fireplace with mantel and candle on accent table
Crystal and Trent Gatlin’s family room was beautiful before, but now it has rustic charm.

When your house has the right size, shape and location, but not the right character for your family, it’s time for a rustic renovation.

At the edge of a cotton field is a subdivision where Trent and Crystal Gatlin live with their three daughters, Madeline, Reese and Hayden.

We’re helping Crystal and Trent add some rustic charm to their family room.

Here are some of the projects we will tackle:

Update the Fireplace

Our fireplace upgrades include installing a split brick surround and adding a new maple mantel and corbels.

We cover up the framing on the fireplace and install the split brick surround. We use construction adhesive to secure the bricks in a running bond pattern. The staggered layout is useful for homes with uneven surfaces — because the tiles are not placed in a straight line, imperfections are difficult to spot.

We install split brick around the fireplace and apply a German Schmear finish for an old-world look.

The technique is sort of like whitewashing with latex paint, but you spread wet mortar (and remove some before it dries).

Next, we add shiplap to complete this fireplace’s rustic look. We used 1/4-inch Lauan Plywood, which is affordable, popular, and available at the home center.

And we make it match in this recessed area in the living room, too:

Add faux beam to living room

Installing a faux beam breaks up the family room ceiling’s monotony and adds dimension and visual interest to an otherwise blank space.

Post-Production Thoughts

“Today’s Homeowner” hosts Danny Lipford and Chelsea Lipford Wolf visit with Crystal and Trent Gatlin.

Crystal and Trent have a beautiful home and the family room was already attractive; it just didn’t suit the style and unique personality of their family.

So we started with the focal point of the room — the fireplace. By removing the basic “kit mantel” and plain ceramic surround, we gave ourselves a blank canvas to work with.

The split bricks we used for the surround brought in plenty of rustic charm while Chelsea’s German Schmear finish added a touch of modern design and brightness to the surface.

The “faux shiplap” that we wrapped around the fireplace makes it unapologetic about its role as the focal point in the room, and the simple corbel and beam maple mantel add both warmth and sentimental value to the space.

The new beam overhead is simple and clean but it helps balance the room by drawing some attention to the enormous vaulted ceiling.
And the shiplap in that nook up above seems to give that area a little more purpose.

Plus we only spent a little over $500 for all the materials to complete the project.

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