Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by AirStone. All opinions are 100% my own.
Just when I thought I couldn’t love a makeover any more than our upstairs fireplace makeover, I was given the opportunity to partner with AirStone, once again, and this time I certain it is my ALL TIME FAVORITE DIY makeover EVER!!!
In December of last year (2019) we decided to replace our downstairs carpet with vinyl plank flooring.
Once we finished that, and after bribing and begging my husband, we agreed to upgrade the media/feature wall. As you can see in the before photo, the media wall before consisted of nothing more than your standard media cabinet and a pair of speakers.
Eager to transform the space, before Aaron changed his mind, I quickly turned to Pinterest for inspiration. We had always talked about how we wanted a fireplace downstairs so I thought, “Why not build a fireplace!?”
I knew I wanted to keep the downstairs materials the same as the upstairs for a consistent look and feel so I quickly reached out to AirStone for their permission to partner together again for yet another fireplace Makeover and they agreed!
AirStone is an ultra-light recycled stone veneer that provides the beauty, texture and durability of real stone without the need for professional installers or specialized tools.
It can be used to cover tile, brick, wood, and drywall and used both indoors and outdoors and all you need to adhere AirStone is a putty knife, a hacksaw or miter saw and a tub of pre-mixed adhesive.
Available in three colors (Autumn Mountain, Birch Bluff, and Spring Creek), AirStone will complement a wide variety of interior and exterior decors. Each collection is made up of stones of varying sizes and color tones that all have the texture, feel and durability of real stone but weigh 75% less. I chose the color Birch Bluff (the lightest of the three collections) again for this particular project.
I had fully anticipated to have a fireplace mantle built along with the built-in shelves but when I saw this large (62″W x 19″D x 48″H) electric fireplace from Big Lots I knew it was exactly what I had wanted and much cheaper than building one to match it. So we impulsively bought it and I quickly put it together and painted it to match our existing trim.
I then began the AirStone application process by taping off an area the size of the fireplace surround on the floor in front of the fireplace with painters tape and placed the stones within that space as if it were a puzzle. This method allowed me to visualize the pattern and make sure the pieces were a good fit and not too matchy-matchy to ensure a smoother/quicker application. Once it was all laid out to my liking, my husband cut the pieces to fit and I applied the adhesive and firmly pressed the stones into place working in a vertical pattern from the bottom to the top.
During this process, we reached out to a local craftsman (Tommy Branch) for help building the bookshelves on either side of the mantle.
We (yes Aaron and I) also built, added drywall, mudded and painted the wall to enclose a small media storage space that had been left empty for the past 5 years. Would it have been easier to leave it? Yes, it would have. But it would have been an odd, non-accessible hole so it looks much better now that it is closed off.
After the wall was done we had a looooooong break due to the time it took to build the bookshelves and then the COVID outbreak happened and that prolonged the process even more but once the bookcases were delivered it all went really quickly from there!
I painted the monstrous bookcases (102″ tall x 31.5″ wide x 12″ deep) to match the fireplace and trim. The bookcases were built to be compatible/comparable to the Ikea Billy Bookcases (only taller) so I could then buy the oxberg cabinet doors to fit the bottom which I also painted and added my own pulls.
With the bookshelves in place, we began building the wall between the two bookshelves out of 2 x 4’s, 2x 6’s, and plywood. We had to make sure it was strong enough to support the weight of the AirStone and the tv.
With the wall built, it was then time to hang the tv mount and finish the AirStone application. We placed two scrap pieces of wood- one at the bottom (below the mantle height) and one on the top (above the tv mount)- to support the weight of the stone. Without something to rest on, the weight of the stone would be too much to hold it in place and it would slide down before it dried causing it to be uneven.
I learned from my first AirStone project that it was best to apply the adhesive as if you’re “icing a cupcake” rather than “buttering bread” and to start from the bottom and work your way up in a horizontal and vertical manner, rather than top to bottom.
The final steps in the project were to add the trim and quarter round pieces to the wall and fronts of the bookcases, followed by some painters caulk and a fresh coat of paint to cover up the nail holes. I gave it a quick dusting and added some additional decorative accents and viola!
It may have taken a little longer than I had expected, but my dream of having a fireplace in our basement is now a beautiful reality and we couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out! Our family room makeover would not be complete without the help of my husband, Erdel and Wood Flooring, our bookshelf craftsman Tommy Branch, and of course, AirStone!
Scroll to see the transformation!
(couch, rug, and decorative accents linked at the end)
From Beginning to end….
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