Happy New Year !!  I hope everyone had a fun-filled holiday season with family, friends and food and is now forging ahead into the new year with your resolution(s) list in hand and decorating projects lined up !!  Of course, the wheels are spinning out of control in my head with dreams of projects I'd like to conquer in 2010 ... my poor husband.

As I'm new to blogging, I don't have a recap of the projects the hubs and I tackled in 2009, but will definitely share them shortly !!  But, since Sarah over at Thrifty Decor Chick, Rhoda at Southern Hospitality and Susan at Between Naps on the Porch are all hosting weekly Before and After parties, I thought I'd start by sharing one of our recent projects - our humble fireplace's transformation.  I'm also linking up to a new party ... The Mantel Party at "Stories from A 2 Z!"  I'm sure there's lots of eye candy !!

I liked our fireplace/mantle, but I didn't *love* it.  I tried painting the inset *too* many different colors and placing many different pieces of art in it, but nothing ever worked.  It was missing something (okay, a LOT) to truly be the focal point of our great room !! 

Before (Yawn) ...

So, after perusing the internet forEVAH, I found an inspiration picture and then poorly sketched what we wanted.  Then, my husband and I got to work and totally did the work all by ourselves ... NOT (sorry, everyone, I don't have the do-it-yourself factor on this one) !!  Actually, our contractor, Todd, was able to exactly duplicate what we wanted ... he truly did an amazing job with MDF and inexpensive molding !!

After (YAY) !!

I love it ... everything about it ... the traditional look ... how the crisp, white paint pops against our wall paint ... the taller mantle ... the ledge up top and the detailed molding ... LOVE it all !!  It truly gives our room a brand new look.  And, rather than paying an electrician too much money (that we don't have) to add electric, our contractor hid extension cords inside the legs on the left side so that I can add lamps to the mantle and illuminate the top ledge and the alcoves above that.  

I've truly had fun futzing (is that a word?) with the accessories on it and will continue to futz a bazillion more times before I'm satisfied !!  YAY !!

I look forward to seeing everyone else's "before and afters."

Thanks for stopping by,


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