before & after: jessica’s fireplace

for those of you looking for a before & after that doesn’t involve painting and upholstering a chair (i know, i hear you) here is a great makeover project that involves not only a found material- but an unidentified one at that. jessica lynch of slow shirts recently finished building her home/studio on guemes island in washington state. while exploring the woods near her house, she found an old leaning sleep structure (complete with molding sleeping bag) that had been abandoned years ago. taken by the huge heap of metal leaning against a tree, jessica decided to find a way to get it into her home- after a little power-washing and deep scrubbing. no painting, no covering in wallpaper- just a good cleaning (and a little cutting) and voila! jessica converted her found metal piece into an industrial-looking fireplace surround. i’m so impressed by her vision for this piece and the way she stayed true to its original look. thanks so much to jessica for sharing.

[have a before & after you’d like to share on d*s? just shoot me an email right here with your pictures]

[ps: stay tuned for sarah’s weeder’s digest video next at 2!]


  1. Angela says:

    So I mean this in the best possible way… but THANK GOD. I’m so happy to see something that is not another repainted, reupholstered, decoupaged piece of boring mediocre furniture.

  2. Ben Bialek says:

    As a designer in Vancouver I am always looking for new ideas, and this fireplace is just awesome!!
    Love it, love it, love it!!!

  3. Kim says:

    This is genius and NO wallpaper, thank God. Makes me want to get a tentanus shot and go junk yard diving. Perfection!

  4. Sugeng says:

    This woman must have strong biceps, or very good friends to pull this through the woods! She probably gets that from the printing work for her designs and shirts.

    Designer in Vancouver could have a field trip to Jessica´s house after a bite at Adrift restaurant and see more he is so close!

  5. Jessica says:

    Holy crap! A seriously HUGE THANK YOU to all for saying such nice things, it really has made my days.

    The fireplace surround before is nothing to really see but a solid black frame. I bought it from sparks and they offer surrounds that i couldn’t afford, ( like marble or granite n’ such) and i knew i wanted to try and figure out my own anyway. The metal piece i found is actually VERY light. I drug it out of the woods with the help of my friend Maggi (thanks MAggs) and then threw it in the back of my pickup truck. I have dutch doors that open onto a porch so it was easy to bring inside tilted at an angle.

    As far as the chairs origins, it was given to me by a neighbor, like much of the rest of the furniture in my house. I don’t have a budget for new furniture after building, so i gladly accept discards from neighbors and cruise thrift stores when in need. It’s more fun anyway, right?

  6. Justine says:

    Really awesome idea! Great job!

  7. this is so cool. I love the look of it.

  8. Justin says:

    Looks great. That metal piece is the sheet metal used in transport truck trailers and camper trailers pre 1980ish.

  9. MaryAnn KOHL says:


  10. Oh hey! I’ve had that image in my inspiration folder for awhile now…it’s so cool to see how it was made! I kept wondering about that, ooooh so neat!

  11. Jen says:

    Love it! Very cool. thanks for sharing

  12. Kelli Taylor says:

    Oh my gosh! This is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen!!!

  13. Paul Gilbert says:

    What great idea!!!! I love it. Right now in PA a bum warmer sounds great. Nice job.

  14. kate says:


  15. Wendy says:

    Well that gets the “best in show” for before and afters.

  16. This is amazing. Wow. What an unique idea. It just goes to show that with a little courage and a lot of talent and imagination anything is possible. Thanks for sharing! I love your blog!!!!!!!

  17. Janet Hanson says:

    I’m really inspired by the vision that Jessica has shown – a truly unique application from just thinking a little outside the box.

  18. bon bon says:

    i have been keeping my eye open for ideas for my own fireplace, and love the looks of this as well, but my concern is…how hot does it get? it is still metal and heat. it may not be a good choice if you have small children or pets who like to like to get close. what’s been your experience so far, jessica? thanks!

  19. Robbie! says:





    Those guys took YEARS to grow!!!!


  20. Jerry Lewis says:

    Wow!!!It’s amazing how creative a person can be. As for me I admire people who can look at the things that surround them from an unusual view.

  21. Glen Woody says:

    Oh, it’s so creative natirally!

  22. caralluma says:

    it is still metal and heat. it may not be a good choice if you have small children or pets who like to like to get close. what’s been your experience so far, jessica?

  23. Jessica says:

    To address the metal and heat question-
    it’s not a problem at all. The metal surround is lifted away from the wall, and it’s never been too hot to touch. It gets nice and warm at most. My dogs spend a lot of time sleeping in front of it with no problems.

  24. It looks great. Good job Jessica.

  25. This looks great… nice job Jessica!


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