Growing up in New Hampshire, I experienced the joy of curling up by the fire at an early age, and it’s stuck with me to this day. With its amazing houndstooth-painted walls, this living room makeover from Leslie Hickey would be wonderful even without the fireplace, but the strong lines of the stove add a wonderful touch of drama and warmth to the space. And now that I’ve seen how cozy this little corner is, I don’t think I could imagine the space without it. Nicely done, Leslie! — Kate
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Basic Steps: Our house was built in 1915 and is uninsulated, but as the electrical and plumbing still need updating, we decided a wood stove would add needed warmth to our home and cut down on our gas bill. There are some pretty kitschy bases for wood stoves out there, and I wanted a simple base that could hide a lot of sins. I happened upon a local company, Fuez, that makes recycled glass/cement countertops and convinced them to sell us a remnant. Stenciling took me a few hours a day, stretched out over a week, to do all of the houndstooth behind the wood stove. The stenciling came out of a desire to lighten things up in the whole area, without going with all white, and it is just the kind of repetitive, precise and monotonous activity that jives with my personality (my day job is letterpress/silkscreen work and photography).
Many of the items in the room are homeowner built, sewn or made, including bookshelves, the coffee table, reupholstery on the blue chair, pillows, porcelain eggs and much of the art. The couch is only the second piece of furniture we’ve ever purchased (after our bed)! The room is still a work in progress; eventually we’ll take out the exposed lath and plaster mantel room projection (it hides a chimney that exhausts the furnace) and take out the old popcorn ceiling as well as reupholster the yellow and blue chairs, but all in due time.
My advice: If you do buy a wood stove, make sure your installers have good references! Here in Portland, Oregon, there aren’t many to choose from, and unfortunately, we got the contractor that the store works with. Needless to say, they were not the best installers (they did come out relatively quickly when the roof started leaking into my bedroom during the first hard rain after the installation!). We lived in our house for a year before deciding on the stove and where to put it — we swapped the dining and living rooms (I took the photos from the dining room), so the dining area is no longer just off the kitchen, but, I hope, we’ve added to the quirkiness of our old house in a positive way. — Leslie
Paint: Metropaints (recycled paint made in Portland, Oregon) in “Mountain Snow” and “Seashell” (for houndstooth) and Sherwin Williams “Sahara”
Counter remnant/stove base: FuezGlass
Lamp near stove: CB2
Blue chair: college, now the cat’s favorite
Blanket on couch: Pendleton, “Spirit of the Peoples”
Cow rug: eBay
Picture frames: Ikea and Lomography (small black frame)
Wall clock: Goodwill