It’s the most wonderful time of the year … to finish a weekend project!
Well, good little boys and girls, I hear you’re ready for a ho-ho-home project! I dug into Santa Jonathan’s mailbag for some #WeekendDIY tips to keep you in the holiday spirit and off the naughty list. First up, a favorite of mine: fireplaces!
Question: We just bought a new house and hope to do some renovations. How difficult is it to add a wood-burning fireplace on the top floor? We have an insert in our basement; should we just convert that into a wood-burning fireplace instead?
Jonathan: If you want a real flame, I highly recommend the ease of gas over a wood-burning fireplace. Most clients of mine who asked for a wood-burning fireplace changed their mind six months later because of all the work. Plus, many jurisdictions won’t even allow wood-burning fireplaces anymore. They raise your insurance rate, and they’re not great for people with respiratory problems.
But don’t despair: There are tons of great gas and electric options that look like wood-burning fireplaces, without the mess, risk and expense. You’ll feel all warm and cozy knowing you made the right decision.
Q: So, my husband glued tiles around our fireplace up to the ceiling. It looks lovely, but the sides are slightly uneven. It’s driving me crazy and we can’t figure out how to fix it! He thinks it would be too hard to cut them evenly, so he wants to chip them up more to give it a “rustic” look. That’s a big NO from me! Any suggestions?
J: Yikes, that’s tricky! You could get a thin cutting wheel for your grinder and slowly follow a line on the wall, but what we call “dry stack” material like that is sometimes hard to manage. You might consider adding a low-profile edge trim with a lip, as you could then paint the trim any color.
Now, let’s turn our attention to making the house cozy, with one of my favorite DIY projects …
Q: We are wanting to do a board and batten in a few locations around the house, but we’re nervous! What are your best tips and tricks?
J: B&B looks great and is really easy to do. It’s my favorite kind of project: it looks luxurious but is easy on the wallet! Just make sure you have the right house wrap underneath for weatherproofing and fasten it securely to the sheeting or studs. I also caulk the gaps, then paint, so it’s a perfect seal.
Q: I want holiday cheer in my house, but I’m just being real: I’m tired. What’s one thing I can do to bring everything together, look impressive, and not take a lot of time?
J: Garland! Garland everywhere! Add it to any room in the house, on railings, down staircases, on top of cabinets. It looks great inside and out, and it will instantly brighten your spirits and your home. And when you’re done hanging all the garland, you can take a nap!
However, if you do get inspired to do more, you’re probably going to have to figure out where all the decorations live the rest of the year …
Q: I need storage without big bulky cabinets. Any ideas?
Q: How do you make storage space when you have no space?
Q: I’m running out of storage space—help!
J: Whoa, whoa, not all at once, ha! My biggest rule: get stuff off the floor and counters. The best way to do that is to look for underutilized space, and we all have it, even if it doesn’t feel like it! I like to hang racks above a garage door for seasonal items, which is perfect for those holiday inflatables.
Inside, hang pockets inside closet doors for shoes and hard-to-find items, and install pullout bins under beds. I love ottomans with hidden storage—the perfect place for those blankets you can use as you sit by your new fireplace!
Remember, if you have a #WeekendDIY question, hit me up at @JonathanScott on Instagram. Happy Holidays, and Happy DIYing!