The Farmhouse Project

The Farmhouse Project: The Master’s Lounge

By January 13, 2016 No Comments

I recently found the original blueprints for our home. On the blueprints the upstairs living room is referred to as the Master’s Lounge. I like the sound of that. It feels formal, regal and fancy. It reminds me of simpler times. A time when we would retire for the evening to the master’s lounge, maybe read the paper while sipping on a glass of bourbon and watching Dick Clark on American Bandstand. Gosh! How old am I? Moving on.

We certainly are not fancy folks, but this month we finished the Master’s Lounge and I’m excited to share it with you.

So let’s not keep you waiting any longer, and take a look at where we started.


We kept the fireplace, shakes, and carpet. You will be amazed at what a few cosmetic changes and a new mantle did to this room.

Once again paint for the win. If I’ve said it once…I’ve said it a thousand times, paint transforms in such a way it is almost too simple. We also updated the fireplace with a new mantle and removed the cedar shakes above the mantle to draw the eye up and make it look taller. New light fixtures, and some updated decor and furniture and the master’s lounge is ready for someone to retire here for the evening.


Here is a complete list of the steps to this rooms makeover.

  1. Painted the walls. Color: Agreeable Grey by Sherwin Williams
  2. Painted all dark brown trim white.
  3. Painted the cedar shakes white.
  4. Removed the shakes and framed out above the fireplace.
  5. Re-grouted and painted the fireplace brick.
  6. Installed fireplace mantle and side posts.
  7. Cleaned and painted fireplace insert and screens black.
  8. Updated all outlets and switches to new white versions
  9. Installed new updated light fixtures.

Let’s take a look at some other angles of this room, then we will discuss the fireplace in more detail.


When we toured the home before we purchased it, we fell in love with the whole house intercom and stereo system. The coolest feature being the record and 8-track player that folded down out of the wall. Tate loves these features, and I find it incredible that I can put on a record upstairs and listen to it out in the garage. This house was totally pimped out for 1978.


The master’s lounge sits right outside the master bedroom and bathroom upstairs, so this area is very private. I placed a desk in this room because it feels very cozy and out of the way. I’m able to come up here and concentrate when I need to get some computer work done. The fact that we can’t get internet service yet, because of where the house is located, is somewhat of an issue, but you can’t beat the view from the desk.


You catch a glimpse of the sliding patio door in this photo the leads to the solarium. Yes, I said solarium.


I feel fancy just saying it.

Matter of fact when my sister and I drove to Waco, Texas this spring I annoyed her by seeing how often I could use the word solarium in a sentence. It was great fun.

I could just call it a sunroom but its official title is a solarium, and I wish to stick to protocol. I’m proper like that.


Ok, I will stop.

Let’s move on to the fireplace. While it may look like it was a quick transition, don’t be fooled. Much like many of my road trips there were dead-ends and many a detours.

Here is how it started.

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Obviously, the fireplace brick was very dark in color, but what you don’t see is how inset the mortar was and how rough the bricks were.

I wanted a much smoother surface where mortar met the face of the brick on a much more even field, and the bricks didn’t tear at your skin when you touched them.

I had this idea to fill in the mortar with some new grout/putty/mortar. I set off on a mission to find a product that would come in a caulking tube that I could just squeeze into the grooves, after much searching, what I came up with was a concrete/mortar crack repair product that indeed, came in a tube.

I spent a couple of nights going section by section filling in the mortar spaces between each brick with the filler and then using my fingers to push it in and smooth it out. Let me tell you, this is not as easy as it sounds. I tried different utensils and brushes, but nothing was the right size and stiffness to help force the product into the grooves, so I just embraced the messiness and did it with my own two hands.

None-the-less, I finally got all the grout lines filled in, all while also smearing the excess on the surface of the brick to smooth out the texture. It was messy, and a little frustrating, but all in all, it did the job.

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Once this was all complete, the guys at Grain Designs had the mantle and side post ready to install. While I had hoped to get the painting done before the installation, it didn’t work that way. If I’ve learned anything about construction, it is that when your “guys” are ready, you better be ready to let them in the door if you want to stay on schedule.

Blain and Grant did a splendid job on the installation and even helped me with a quick change of design in the process.

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Blain is seen here checking to make sure Grant is getting everything square…not like there was any doubt.

What they are really doing is sizing up where they are going to cut the shakes so they can inset the posts and mantle against the sheetrock and alongside the shakes instead of on top of them.

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They had the neatest saw that they used to cut a shallow and very straight line up the wall, and since they had this neat saw, I “saw” an opportunity to make an adjustment to the visual aspect of the fireplace. They were kind enough to oblige and remove the shakes from the upper portion of the wall above the mantle.

It wasn’t until I saw the mantle temporarily set in place that I recognized the need for this adjustment on the fly. Removing the shakes above the mantle draws the eye up and makes the entire fireplace feel taller.

Where the inspiration came from:


It was now time to paint the brick and stain the mantle. Staining the mantle was easy. I used one coat of Annie Sloan Dark Wax and was done in a jiffy. Finding the correct color for the bricks was a challenge. Here is what I had hoped to achieve.

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The funny thing was, now that I had spread that concrete patch all over the bricks, my once dark bricks were now gray. To achieve the look I wanted I actually had to go back and darken the bricks.
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I used Graphite Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® on some, dark wax on others and so forth. Then I tried to white wash over them with various colors, none of which worked in the way that I had hoped. In the end I settled on white bricks and now began the process of painting over the darkened bricks. I used two coat of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® in Pure White for the bricks themselves and then went back and used the color Paris Grey® to paint in the mortar lines.

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So the entire process was a kind of a back and forth, trial and error situation, but I’m happy with the final results and learned a ton in the process.


Next month we are headed downstairs to a guest bedroom and bathroom. I can’t wait to show you the cement tiles I used in the bathroom.



The Farmhouse Project: Master Bedroom
The Farmhouse House Project {Guest Bedroom Reveal}

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