Fireplace Makeover

This past year, while the kids and I took a trip home (Ohio) during Spring break, Mr AW Exquisite Design decided to tackle a quick weekend project: making over the fireplace in our living room! I believe he spread it out over the course of the week since he also had to work.

The past 2 years have been insanely busy with transforming our home to look more like our style. It’s been fun but wrought with plenty of angst, trial and error. It is exciting to see marked progress with all the projects so far.

Okay, so let’s go back. Wayyyy back to the beginning when we first moved in to get a clear picture of what it originally looked like. We didn’t do much of anything to this space until recently. Starting with this fireplace.

*Please kindly forgive the grainy photos and decorating; I had a very difficult time rummaging through tons of old photos to find anything decent that shows how it was before. It continues to evolve into a more pleasing aesthetic-

Christmas 2012

Because of the lack of vision for the space partly due to the bare bones structure , there was a severe absence of real design. Read: BORING! Even Christmas decor didn’t do much to dress it up. At least my cute kids made for something interesting to look at in the picture. ?

This winter has been an exception but we love nice, cozy fireside time when it is bitterly cold outside. Yes, even here in Atlanta it seriously gets too cold some winters. This one has been the mildest that I’ve ever experienced in all the time I’ve lived in the south. So I don’t believe we’ve even lit the fire once this winter. For good reason too since we are currently putting in hardwood flooring! That was a long time coming and dream come true for sure! If you follow me on Instagram, you will see some of the progress peeks. It is definitely exciting!!!

Fireplace warmth

Okay, so Michael took a few shots but hardly as many as I would have taken to document the process. I give him a hard time about it since I know how easy it is to forget certain things unless there was a picture taken or written down. I wonder if he could be coaxed to join me in writing posts on this little blog of mine to give his educated insights and angles that would prove resourceful to others. ?   I’m glad he did get some “during” shots so I have a blog post to write about. Haha!  It’s all in the details and start to finish in my book! I like to see ALL the good, bad, AND ugly. That is real, unglossed-over life!! Some of you just care to see the after and that’s okay. But in the end the important thing is if the end result is a big difference and wows you!

The demolition:

Layering on the stone veneer flats and clamps holding 2×4 wood in place

While tackling this job, Michael also decided to install a couple recessed lights above the fireplace. He attempted to see about installing more throughout the outer edge surrounding the tray ceiling but because of the hvac duct system running right above we can’t. ? ?


We are so glad to have this small but significant change in the main area and now are you ready for the – AFTER – ?

Funny thing about this picture though? It is actually a “before” since this was taken just prior to beginning the major living room makeover ! ? We were actually removing everything from this area hence the stacked pillows on the couch, no curtains on the rods, and dvds in the basket. 

                                STAY TUNED for more transformations of this living room!


 Thanks for stopping in for a little visit!


The *EMPTY* House Tour

The *EMPTY* House Tour





Our First House

Our house as it looked in April 2008
when we first moved in.

Come on in and take a tour of our house —- albeit empty of furnishings and the like. Hahaha!  I would show you our house as it is today if it weren’t for all the reconstruction projects going on currently and the subsequential mess but figured I would spare you all the gory visual. 

Now…….. keep in mind, these (not-so-great-quality) pictures were taken exactly 7 years ago in April 2008. Right about the time we first moved in. And with a point-and-shoot – the Canon PowerShot SD870 IS.              

So, if you’ll just excuse the grainy-ness and poor lighting of the photos, let’s take a little walk through this place we call “HOME”. This house is our first home. It sits on a 3/4 acre lot and in a cul-de-sac.

I know many of you may really like this house but truth be told, I was not sold on it from the get-go. Although out of the [many] houses we screened, this one fit the bill for our needs the best. I knew Mr. AW Exquisite Design fell in love with it pretty much immediately …. not altogether unlike with me! Heehee.



This is where you enter from the front of the house. I don’t have an original picture with a view looking into the house when you first walk in but this is the foyer or entry way.  My son is standing in the living room and kitchen is directly across from him to the left. 


Entry Way

Entry Way to the front of house

                                                  Part of the foyer looking towards the front from the top of the stairs.

Pic monkey Entry Way edit


To the left coming in through the front door, is our home office or so named the “computer room” due to this room housing the desktop computer. This is where Mr. AWE Design camps out on Fridays since he has started working from home about a year or so ago.


Home Office

At the right and wrapping around to the kitchen through that entrance you see is technically a dining room but we were smart and turned it into a multi-purpose space a.k.a. the Toy/Craft room.

Toy/Craft Room

This was a Dining Room but we turned it into a Toy/Craft room

  (Actually, we are getting rid of that mirror ^ now that our half-bath has experienced somewhat of an overhaul. Not finished yet but the reveal is forthcoming, my friends!) Since the editing of this picture, we sort of unexpectedly ended up renovating that downstairs lavatory (does anyone ever refer to a bathroom in that term anymore?!?) so we are on the lookout for a new looking glass!


Okay, so now we enter into our spacious and open kitchen……                                                                                                          

Behold! All the space! And cabinets! And more cabinets!                                                                                                                                       But don’t worry. We found plenty of stuff to fill them all up with. In case you were worried we had more space than we knew what to do with. Hahaha.  

Behind that purple pail is the garage to the left.                                                                                                                                            

And there’s that cute little boy following me around again! How I miss those not-a-tiny-baby-but-yet-still-a-baby days!

Original Kitchen - edit 3


                                                                                  The garage……………                                                                                                           


Original Garage edit 1


Back to the kitchen. The garage entrance is off to the right where you see to the outside. The other back door is the one with blinds on it. You can’t really tell from the picture but the white of the cabinets were pretty dingy so we decided to paint them black. We ran through so many spray cans of paint to get good coverage and we have dealt with the spray aftermath ever since. I even find residual spray “dust” upstairs because we did not cordon off with plastic sheeting. 



Kitchen before we moved in

This is a view looking from where the refrigerator stands. Living room is straight across; the opening in the center leads to the front entry way.

We still have yet to replace that white range that has gotten pretty grungy and gross now. Everything looked so clean and new back then, even if it wasn’t (brand new, that is). 



Kitchen looking towards living room and leading to entry way



Kitchen Island with sun room to right and living room directly ahead.

The lovely sun room with LOTS of windows…… Love this part of the house!

Original Sunroom - edit 3



The laundry room…………                                                                                                                                                                                               and behind the double doors is our 1st and bigger pantry.

Laundry Room

Laundry Room


The living room area…… this was one of the reasons I was not 100% crazy about the house. It is rather small and limited with furniture and home decor placement. My idealist self wanted a cathedral-style ceiling. But as we can see, the house has many other redeeming qualities about it. So I accept this less-than-my-ideal part of the house.

Living Room

Living Room


Living Room

Living Room looking out to the backyard and kids play set in neighbors’ yard


That is all of the downstairs …………………………………………………….

                 So follow me upstairs now.


Bottom stairs


Our Staircase



Stairs leading to second level and first two bedrooms


The first bedroom I’m showing you is the guest room. It faces the front on the right side of the house.  You can’t tell from the photo very well, but this is actually the smallest bedroom. I just divided it into three different angles.

guest room

The “extra” bedroom which is our guest room


My Sugarplum Princess’ room. At the time of this picture, she was cozy at home in my belly.

My Girl's Room


Next we have the 2nd [guest] bathroom which consists of two rooms. We have since updated the lavatory space.

2nd Full Bath

Now we reach my Sugarsnap Pea’s room. He gets the nice bay window and a great bird’s eye view of the landscape. He also gets lucky with a nice walk-in closet!

Son's Room


Walk-In Closet Of Son's Room

Spacious walk-in closet

        And last but not least …. What really sold me, lock stock and barrel? – 

                                                            The Master Bedroom & Bathroom!!!

    I mean, I could not get enough of the vaulted ceiling and how huge the rooms were!

Master Bedroom with Vaulted Ceiling


Three Master Windows


The sitting room facing the front of the house and situated on the left side of the house. There are two closets flanking this sitting area.

Sitting Room Of Master


Master Closets Collage


That probably should have said, “entry to hallway” or hallway. Oh well, sometimes you don’t pick up on your own writing mistakes until too late (since this pic had already been edited). But you get the idea of what is meant. Right? Right???

Wall In Master

 This view is in the bathroom looking through the french doors into the bedroom.

French Doors To Master Bath


Bath In Master Bathroom

In the mirror you can see where the shower stall is and the 3rd master closet which is the biggest one. [Don’t have a picture of that one]

Master Bath


Toilet room


Let’s backtrack on the way out into my son’s room where you get a birds’ eye view of the front yard. This was the first onset of Spring as evidenced by those beautiful dogwoods with the pink blooms. That island in which the trees sit has since had a serious downsizing and all that stubborn ugly foliage disappeared. Most of those trees that look barren in the right photo are also gone. But not because we wanted them removed – that’s a story for another day though, friends.

View Of Front Yard



That concludes showing you the premises of the A W Exquisite Design manor.



As you can see from the pictures, our house has a pretty nice layout…. open space, plenty of room and of course —- LOTS of DIY potential!!


Hope you all enjoyed the comprehensive tour and background story of the ‘before’ and hopefully we can put some rooms together for an ‘after’ tour some time in the near future. Just wanted to make a proper introduction so you get a good idea of what we have to work with. LOOOONG and arduous road to achieve a home that showcases our design style.  We are getting there though and it’s an exciting journey!













Stay tuned for more…… Lots more to come!!

Walkway lights

This photo is courtesy of my husband’s awesome photography skills via the Sony DSLR-A350.


Announcing my blog!

Announcing blog- – – –

My very first blog post! I’m testing this out to see how it looks on my page. I’m very excited to enter the wonderful world of
  I will be featuring……..

  • my DIY projects
  • beauty & fashion tips and reviews
  • sewing adventures
  • foodie-type stuff like recipes and cooking/baking
  • Also, I love interior design and to organize so organization and decorating will also be a part of the fabric of this blog.



Stay tuned for more…….. !DSC00687