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!]


kristen davis

ohhh, that is SOOOO beautiful. i just read about sfgirlbybay’s beautiful copper fireplace front she had made – it reminds me of that. i love it.


honestly one of the most amazing before and afters ever..what a visionary I am in awe and LOVE the end results!!


This is great! What a wonderful idea and great use of resources. I love how it wasn’t really changed one bit.


That is the best before & after! A totally original repurpose of an awesome find…


Wow, wow, wow! I’m in aaagh about how freakin’ sweet this is. I normally have words. But in this case, I just want to bask in this moment of excellence.


This is fantastic! How was it affixed to the fireplace…I’d be way afraid of falling and damage….

Ryan Green

i am jealous of anyone that has a fire place, but this just made me EXTRA jealous. so cool and as a fellow dumpster-diver i LOVE the innovation used here!


best. after. ever.

(actually, i’m kind of in love with the before too. and now i’m totally wondering what beautiful treasure i’ve passed in the woods.)


This is the best before and after of all time!! Fantastic!

It’s a great example of looking at the world around us and using our imagination to see how we can use things in new and different ways.



Oh, I love this! Way to re-use the material…and the metal and the colors are gorgeous in that room!

Sophie S

Yep, love this, so innovative, and that lovely orange chair in front just makes it. I’ve been missing finding furniture on the street since I moved from the city to the country, but this just proves I’m not looking hard enough.


Wow she must have the most creative brain in the WORLD> most people would look at that and think, ‘urgh what a piece of junk’.
And look how that piece of junk turned out! GORGEOUS!


I’m amazed at the vision it took to see that! I’m speechless. It’s fantastic. Jessica you did a fab job…REALLY!


Truly the best before & after project ever. I was getting oh so tired of wallpaper and brightly colored upholstered chairs!


yay jess!!
love that fireplace…it’s even better in person!! especially in combination with the amazing view of the puget sound! your house is too awesome…


awesome! i love how she just left it alone. it takes an amazing eye to see something like that and have a vision of what to do with it. well done!


WOW! Thanks everyone for the nice comments! It’s bolted to the wall right into studs, so it’s solid, (to answer someone’s question) It’s been up for almost two years now and it’s holding strong. My contractor thought i was a little crazy for the idea, but i think he actually came around and liked it in the end!
When i found this piece there was another one similar to it buried more into the ground, so if there is any takers, and your in the neighborhood i’ll show you where to find it!

Lucy Gazelle

I love it! Very Pacific NW aesthetic, too!


This is such a good example of creative thinking and home design, and such a nice change from all the cookie-cutter MDF that gets praised as ‘fresh and modern’ in most main- stream home decor media.


WOW! I am blown away! That was not at all what I expected to see as the final product when I started scrolling down! Excellent idea!

Cadmium Red

Love the wabi-sabi look of this. Just curious if the metal conducts a lot of heat being so close to the fireplace? That could be nice if it warmed it to a touchable temperature, but was wondering if its made the metal hot like a radiator? Regardless of that, it is beautiful and clever.


Nope! doesn’t get too hot, it’s pushed slightly away from the wall (about 2 inches) and stays a nice touchable warm. Works well for warming yer buns.


Amazing re-purpose! Please, design angels, bless me with this kind of vision!!



Wow. This is such a great illustration of reduce, reuse, recycle. I completely love this and applaud the creative vision behind it. Picture me standing here holding a lighter aloft for her.


I’ve been looking forward to sitting by this fire for a couple of years. Soon I trust my dream will be realised.


Such a simple design with an amazing unique outcome. Love it!


That’s my girl! She has the artist’s eye.


can you please get her to do a sneak peak?


Very Green! Trash to Treasure, it looks great!


Wow! De-lurking for the first time to say that this before and after is phenomenal!


I have had the incredible privlidge of warmin’ by buns by this awesome piece of inspiration. Miss Jes is truley a gifted artist and we loves her to pieces!!!!!!!


Absolutely fabulous and inspiring!
I’m working on my biggest before and after project right now, re repurposing a vintage caravan in to a Mobile Vintage Shop.


It’s ridiculous how fab this is! Great Job of RE-USING found material!


How fantastic. Most people would be calling two small guys and a big truck. The surround looks stunning and will surely draw a lot of comments, all of them positive.


Very cool! But I was amazed at the orange chair – I have two of these exact same chairs that I found in two different thrift stores over a period of a couple years! Maybe they were sold in the area as I live in Seattle. Where did you find yours?

Arlo Rumpff

No lack of creativity from this Artist!!!


The spark fireplace is really offset by the surround. It really looks amazing. What’s the rest of her place look like anyway? Is that

sister #3

I am so glad people realize the amazingness of my sister Jess.

Everything in her house and studio is extraordinary, if you like the fireplace just wait until you see

Everything she touches turns cool.


It’s very lovely and creative… but, I immediately thought of DB Cooper as soon as you mentioned “sleeping bag”. Did she check around for a bag of cash and a parachute? You have to admit, that metal sheet sort of looks like a piece of fuselage. :-)


That is fantastic. I have an entire wall of brick with a little rectangle cut out for the fireplace and I have been tearing my hair our trying to come up with an idea that will break up the brick and not be too stuffy for the room. This gives me some great inspiration! I love it.


i’m glad to see the lynches so well represented in the comments! jessica, this is beautiful — no surprise — just like the rest of your work.


Amen! A DIY that is completely original and resourceful.

That alone is a great trend.


You have got to be brave and have guts to pull this off – kudos to Miss Jessica!

I want to see what the rest of this place looks like… I have a feeling this woman knows how to use color and texture to maximum effect!

Can we see more? MORE!!! Thanks.


Just sitting here at work doing my routine of blog reading at work and wow! I was hit by a fantastic fireplace! Really inspirational! I just wonder hoe she managed to get that home…or in the car.

Meera G. Eneland

Wow soo gorgeous, so creative and what a great of recycling discarded materials. So impressive. Would love to see the rest of her place.


The fireplace is gorgeous! A living work of repurposed art! Bow wow wow!


It is absolutley more creative then words. I have the same underlying question as most mothers of two working fulltime. HOW DO YOU FIND TIME TO BE SO CREATIVE?? Lord know I have all the idea but Im either missing time or money!!


I would love to see the FIREPLACE BEFORE, not just the piece of metal before.

Victoria Bennett Beyer

Wow! I know there are already 95 other comments, but that has to be one of the coolest and most innovative things I’ve seen on DS. GREAT share.


LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE. thank you for this.


I love this before and after. She salvaged something and repurposed it and it didn’t even involve upholstery or contact paper! Hooray! :)


this is *fantastic*!

i’d like to chime in with the others requesting a sneak peek of her house!


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.

Ben Bialek

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


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


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!


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?


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

erin lang norris

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!

Paul Gilbert

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


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

Jan MacKenzie

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!!!!!!!

Janet Hanson

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

bon bon

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!






Those guys took YEARS to grow!!!!


Jerry Lewis

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.


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?


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.