The last couple of weeks we have been working on getting the entryway and fireplace tiled so that we can get really close to having carpet.
Below is a picture of the fireplace in the living room as it was when we moved in.
Here is the fireplace after we stripped it of anything really resembling a fireplace. First we removed the brass and glass cover. Then we dismantled the mantle and the trim on the sides. Lastly Adam took a hammer and pry and took off all the tile and residual mortar as gently as he could.
Part of our plan was to build out under the actual fireplace to give it a little more presence and also to to help provide additional protection for the soon-to-be carpet that will be installed. I didn't like the idea of just a hearth pad on the floor (this is the few little tiles that sit on or near the floor in front of your fireplace), if we had a gas fireplace that would be one thing but the idea of ashes on new carpet wasn't a pleasant thought. Here (below) Adam just took some 2 x 4's and built what I refer to as "the bench"
We used a brick pattern gobi slate that we found at the Tile Shop. It wasn't the cheapest tile, but luckily this isn't a huge area and we ended up getting just the effect we wanted. Here is Adam putting it up. We just used a normal thinset mortar with a trowel specifically for wall tiling. We also replaced all of the area behind the previous tile with new cement board, as well as put cement board on the "bench".
And after Adam's wonderful work below is the fireplace with all the tile up. It got a little tedious at the end b/c he had to kind of piece the sides of the bench together due to the area not being exactly 12 inches and requiring a partial tile piece. I think it looks great! We still need to seal the tile, since it is slate (a natural stone) you must seal it before grouting or the grout would stick to all the groves and stuff. After that we can grout it and then seal the grout. My participation in this project, other than cleaning excess mortar between the tiles, was to spray paint the brass doors black. I didn't take a picture yet but it looks so much better. Finally we will add the mantle and the trim and have a new beautiful fireplace.
We are also retiling our front door entryway and decided to use slate there also. We used a design consisting of 6 and 12 inch tiles. These we just purchased at Lowes and they weren't anything too special. Here is the tile all laid out we just need to get the mortar adhesive on and then we will finish it the same way we will finish the fireplace with the seal and the grout.