Keith the Fireman’s Living Room Reveal

Remember Keith the Fireman?


If not, let me get you up to speed before I share the before & after photos of his finally-finished living room! :-D

We met Keith at church at the very end of 2012. He was playing drums with Centerpoint‘s worship team, and that was when Kevin auditioned for and was invited to be a part of the team, too. A few months later, in March of 2013, Keith posted this photo and message on his Facebook page:


I was so excited for him!! :-D

He also posted some interior pics that day, and although it looked like the place had great bones & several rooms had already been updated, I felt really inspired to reach out to him about adding some personality into the living room. I didn’t know him super well at that point though, so I decided to ask a mutual friend to run it by him for me. (Thanks again, Ashley!) I was so pumped when she reported back that he was totally up for the adventure!

The next time I bumped into him at church, I told him all I would need from him was an extra set of hands (or two) every now and then, and that I’d put together an inspiration photo for him so he could see what I was visualizing for the space. He gave the inspiration photo a thumbs up as soon as I had it finished, and Kevin and I have had so much fun surprising him with every little update over the past year!

Ok, are you ready to see the before and afters? Here we go! :-D

First up, BEFORE:


Next, here’s the inspiration photo I Photoshopped together for Keith so that he could really see the space I hoped to be able to pull together for him:


And finally, here’s a photo of the finished room that Kevin and I snapped yesterday:

Rustic Modern Contemporary Living Room | The Lettered Cottage Blog | Fireplace Makeover | Barnwood Wall

We snuck over there and put the finishing touches on everything before Keith and Lauren got home from work. Yep! SURPRISE! The living room isn’t the only thing that changed in Keith’s life since last year- he also got engaged and married to his girlfriend Lauren:-D

Keith and Lauren photos

They are both so sweet, and I loved seeing their faces light up when they walked in yesterday!

Keith and Lauren

Truth be told, I didn’t really know exactly how I’d pull everything together when I started this thing, but like all the makeovers we jump into I jump us into (ha!), I had faith that it would all come together in the end. (Thank you for always going with the flow when it comes to my spontaneous decorating schemes, Mr. Palmer! You are SUNSHINE. XO)

Rustic meets Contemporary Living Room | The Lettered Cottage | Flor Carpet Squares | Airstone Fireplace | Wood Wall

Once I had the green light from Keith, I reached out to SkimstoneAirstone and Southern Accents at various points last year. They were all excited to help and ended up giving us the faux concrete for the hearth, and the faux stone & rustic wood around the fireplace, free of charge. Southern Accents also donated the coffee table, which was made from a slice of a fallen tree and a couple of heavy metal parts they were creative enough to put together as a base. (Thanks again for your help with that, Lucy and Garlan!) The carpet tiles were a gift from the folks at Flor, and I just love the way they look in there!

TJ Maxx Throw Pillows | Neutral Sofa | Gray Walls | Rustic Contemporary Traditional Living Room

(I left that photo box on the table empty so that they could add their own pics!)

We helped Tommy & Shelley re-do their kitchen last Fall, and they let us take their old-but-solid-and-in-perfect-condition upper kitchen cabinets so that we could turn them into a shallow TV stand for Keith and Lauren in December. The unit is painted with Graphite-colored chalk paint and what a functional piece that turned out to be!

Kitchen cabinets turned TV Stand | The Lettered Cottage

Kevin and I threw in a few things we weren’t using/didn’t have room for any more, too: a couple of extra bookcases, a table and tablecloth, some lamps, pillows & decor items, and our previously-loved-but-still-super-comfy sofa & chair-and-a-half. (They weren’t the right size for the shape of our new living room, but they fit perfectly into Keith & Lauren’s- yay!) I gathered up the rest of the decor, pillows, plants and curtains, little by little, over the past year, and stuck firm to a budget of 200 bucks.

Coffee Table Decor | The Lettered Cottage

Add all that “stuff” together with the manual labor that Brian the Carpenter, Matt the Magnificent, and Keith & Lauren and their family & friends all took part in, and BOOM. It all came together just like I had hoped! It took a while because of everybody’s busy schedules, and waiting for things to arrive from the sponsors, and other jobs, and other makeovers, and dry times, and shopping times (some things came from Ikea in Atlanta and we only go there a few times a year), and weddings, and honeymoons, etc, etc, etc…but we did it! :-D

Throw Pillows | Rustic Contemporary Living Room | The Lettered Cottage

We didn’t take any photos looking back at the front door because the wall behind the chair-and-a-half is still completely blank. I’m hoping to help them do something fun over there this year though, and I’ll be sure to snap some pics from that angle once we’ve got it all decked out!

For now, happy weekend and thanks for swinging by today!

PS- If you have any questions or would like to go back and read about each step of this makeover journey, click this link to be redirected to all of the posts I published about it: Keith and Lauren’s Living Room Makeover. :-D

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  1. Robbin says

    Ahhhhh……gorgeous! Well done, Layla. You are so talented. Sending prayers for you, Kevin, and Sweet P. God’s timing will bring you together soon.

  2. says

    Looks great Layla!
    How do the carpet tiles work – are they just floating over the floorboards or are they tied down some how?
    Thinking they might be the way to go in my living room as I can never find a rug the right size or design and I’m not keen on the one I have now.
    Thanks and keep up the great work, you are a real inspiration!

  3. Jeanna says

    It’s just beautiful as always! I love your eye for detail, and that fireplace is to die for! I was just wondering though, why it took a full year?

    • Layla says

      Thanks, Jeanna! Life, money, day jobs, night jobs, weekend jobs, coordinating schedules with carpenters and the homeowners, rounding up “stuff” as my budget allowed, waiting for items from sponsors, waiting for things to dry, a wedding, a honeymoon, work, work, work, etc, etc, etc :-D

  4. says

    Absolutely amazing! Look at how closely the reality resembles your vision! It’s gorgeous. Great job Layla and group.

    Congratulations to the precious couple.

  5. says

    That coffee table is just awesome. I’ve been dreaming of incorporating something similar somewhere in our home for a while now. There are loads of fallen trees in the vacant reserve behind our house though I’m not sure how to go about ‘slicing’ any of them (in a free DIY way, anyways).
    Great makeover!

  6. says

    Hi Layla! Great job on the living room makeover! I was wondering if you could answer a question. The mantle you hung looks very similar to a mantle that my husband bought me for Christmas. Ours was cut from an old barn beam. It weighs over 100 lbs. It has been sitting in our garage since then because we aren’t sure how to hang it. We are also planning to use air stone as the surround. Ours also has corbels made out of the same wood as the mantle, and they are already attached. We will be attaching it to drywall. There are at least two studs there. Could you offer some advice as to how you hung this mantel? And whether you think we could use the same method to hang our? We would so appreciate it!

  7. Tammie says

    Wow, looks great! Any chance he would know the name of the yellowish paint that was in the room before?

  8. DLG in Mich says

    The room turned out fabulous! I absolutely love your style. I’m trying to convince my Dad to help me do a similar makeover on our fireplace. I’ve been scouting out reclaimed barn wood for the mantle on Craig’s List. Nice work!

  9. Pam from Michigan says

    Layla your sweet soul shines through…wow…you even gave them your sofa!! The room design alone would have been an amazing gift. You and Kevin deserve all the best for the love you give to others!

  10. debbie rodriguez says

    The after picture looks like its not real, no i don’t mean that, it’s so perfect it looks like it could be an inspiration photo. It turned out beautiful. :)

  11. says

    You are so clever it looks stunning, homey and sophisticated at the same time…they will love that space. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

  12. Sandy A says

    Oh, I just love what you have created in Lauren and Keith the Fireman’s living room! The fireplace is just so lovely and updated–the built-ins are perfect–fantastic work Layla!!

  13. Tina says

    Wow! It looks beautiful! I went back to also see tommy and shelley’s kitchen. It’s incredible that the granite in the reveal is what they always had, funny how the right color cabinets can then show how beautiful something else has been all along!! It just goes to show that you don’t have to rip out an entire room to make a big change! Also,your sharing and reusing items from different places is inspiring.

  14. says

    What a handsome couple! The room is amazing too. I love how you stuck to a budget while still making it look like a million bucks.

  15. says

    I love it! and so glad that you shared your talent with your new friends. I am really liking the wood panelling look that you have done over the fireplace….trying to convince hubby of that kind of treatment for a wall I am not totally happy with in our house. hmmmmm Love the picture of the happy homeowners!

  16. says

    I can’t even begin to say how much I love this room. And my favorite part (well, that’s hard to pick too) is the reuse of so much stuff! I can get really passionate about the amount of new “stuff” that gets poured into our houses these days….and I REALLY believe in reusing and repurposing items. You’ve done EXACTLY what I love…used a perfectly good piece for something else. And shared furniture you no longer needed. Love you even more after today’s post!

  17. Jenni says

    A-mazing!!!!!!!!! It looks so peaceful. I love it!!!!!

    Layla, where did you find those pillows? They’re so pretty. I love them!!

    • Layla says

      Thanks, Jenni! I got them all over the place, and some of them are a few years old. The green & white fern pillow was from Target, the union jack pillow came from a seller on Etsy, and I found the rest of them (recently) at TJ Maxx. :-)

  18. says

    this is such a sweet and adorable story!!!! Cute couple, wish them the very best. There faces say all that needs saying. Stunning redo

    PS where did the pillows come from the bird fern leaf and blue? thanks

    • Layla says

      Thank you, Robin! :-D See my comment to Jenni above for the stores. The fern one is a few years old, but the bird one may still be at TJ Maxx. I picked that one up at the end of last year. :-)

  19. Terri says

    WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU TWO SHOULD BE ON HGTV/ DIY NETWORK!! … OH WAIT…. YOU ALREADY ARE!!! LOLOLOLOL… and it is soooo evident why!!! You guys rock!!!!!! This is just beautiful!!!!! Comgrats to the newly weds as well!!!!!! :)

    • Layla says

      Thank you, Terri! We aren’t on HGTV or the DIY Network, but I absolutely LOVE pulling things like this together every now and then, just for fun! :-D

      • Terri says

        Silly ME!!! I THOUGHT I was watching your Tutorial Video ( Little one’s room reno) on DIY network a couple of weeks ago… oh well…. You should be on HGTV / DIY Network for sure!!! You guys rock!! soooooo enjoy following your blog!!! :)

  20. Laurie says

    Wow… beautiful make-over!! …and they are such an adorable couple! What a sweet newly-wed gift from your family to theirs… I love how their living room has character and touches of firefighter cool in some of the colors and rustic elements but yet is bright and beautiful so that they both can feel right at home!

    • Layla says

      Thanks, Bev! The table lamp came from HomeGoods a few years ago, and we got the sofa at Total Liquidation in Montgomery in 2007. :-)

  21. says

    Girl, in my parts of the woods we say, “ya did good, ya did real good.” This is so awesome!!! I bet they don’t want to leave! :-)

  22. Maryjane says

    I love, love, love this post/room! And that couch/sofa!!!! And I LOVE that coffee table!!! Holy cow! It’s AMAZING!!!!!

    AND….I love how you thank “your Mr” for embarking on the decorating adventures with you. He seems like a real sweetie. You two are excellent. I happened upon an old post the other day that was written by Kevin. I was totally shocked but I found it rather neat to hear his voice too.

    Ok, back to that phenomenal coffee table :) did you glaze/varnish/protect the coffee table somehow? I have a very curious kitty and an adorable almost-a-year nephew, so I want something sturdy and durable that I can clean/dust easy but still looks super nice. I’m always looking for environmentally-friendly options so this could be a match-made-by-the-Universe/God if I hear of someone with such a slice of tree.

    Total awesomeness to you for recycling as much as you do. I really hope more people catch on to respecting and protecting and healing Mother Earth. Do you know of somewhere that sells coffee tables like this? I wasn’t clear on if the people who put this together have the ability to do more or if this was a one time thing?

    And where did you guys get your couch? I realize you’ve had it for a bit but I’m totally on the hunt for one like that. I love the warm colour. It also looks really comfy too. I am trying to figure out if I want a sectional or pieces like this but I love it!!!

    I will check out the previous posts to check out what the wall colour is (although, I love it when at the end of a post like this, you list all your sources in a list).

    I also love how you went with a light floor colour. So many designers are going with dark wood these days but this is so warm and inviting.

    I LOVE the pops of greens.

    This whole room is absolutely something to study again and again to so I can attempt my own redo (cause we live so far away).

    The reaction shot is perfect! They are so adorable. A big congrats to them! Yay them!!!! I love hearing of love stories/weddings. Happy dance! :D

    Have a WONDERFUL day!
    in Manitoba, Canada

    • Layla says

      Hi Maryjane!
      Thank you!! :-D I usually do end the posts with a resource list, but everything is pretty well sectioned out on the page I linked to, so I think you’ll find everything you’re looking for there. We got the couch at Total Liquidation in Montgomery is 2007, and the flooring was already in the room, so no change necessary- yahoo! I love it when that happens! :-D

  23. hello haha harf says

    absolutely incredible! just gorgeous. i love that even the green box on the left of the fireplace is smiling!

  24. Cindy says

    Layla: You and Kevin continue to wow me! Everything you do, whether it be to your own home, working with others on their homes, your work with Design, or pulling together the show last fall, always comes across with much love. I continue to wish you only the best, Cindy

  25. Kris says Layla, this is gorgeous. My niece is marrying a fireman this spring so I love your story about Keith and Lauren. Best wishes to them both as they settle into their new space.

  26. Tania says

    Layla, honestly…you are so amazingly talented! I have a pretty good eye for design, but WOW!!! I am always so wonderfully surprised when I see your inspiration pics and your final “reveals”!!! I’m going to be attempting my first “fixer upper” this year, so I may be reaching out to you for some inspiration and ideas (if you have the time of course, with ALL you’ve got goin’ on) Amazing work!!!!! XO

  27. says

    First, Keith and Lauren are adorable! I love the look on her face coming in the door!

    The room looks AMAZING!!! My favorite part is how you were able to blend the masculine and feminine – the plank wall and stacked stone juxtaposed with the sunburst mirror. Love love and love.

  28. Sandra says

    This is so beautiful, Layla! I much prefer your take on the mantel and that coffee table is so cool! What lucky friends you have!

  29. says

    What a fabulous transformation – from a boring box to an inviting, warm, interesting room. Great job!

    And congrats to Keith and his bride!

  30. Sherri says

    The makeover is gorgeous and amazing. What is even more amazing is your heart for God and for blessing others. Jewels in your crown in the heavenly realm for sure. ” The Lord bless you and keep you.”

  31. Heidi says

    What a stunning makeover! I love the fireplace block and mantle and the bookcases are beautiful. Also love the coffee table. The colors are perfect. This is one of your best yet!
    So generous of everyone to volunteer and donate items. You work great miracles. Blessings to both you and Kevin. And Sweet P!

  32. Julie B.[Holland] says

    Job well done! I love that table, and the pillows! The room looks so peaceful and relaxing. Congratulations to Keith and Lauren.

  33. Dianne says

    Layla, you do such beautiful work! You are one talented lady! Everything looks gorgeous in Keith and Lauren’s living room!

  34. Kandy says

    You guys are amazingly talented! Wish you lived in Denver! I am thinking of selling my home and would love help with staging and making a few inexpensive changes that would help sell this place at top dollar.

  35. says

    I really love the fireplace, the barn wood backdrop and the stone bring such great natural aspects to the room. I also love the plants spread throughout, I think I need to add more of that into my decor, thanks for the inspiration!

  36. says

    Amazing and gorgeous!! I had to scroll up and down a few times to believe the after was the real picture. great job as usual!

  37. Anna says

    LOVE! You have an amazing style that I wish I could replicate :) And that coffee table, my favorite!!

  38. Sunny says

    Just lovely…I love the feel and coloring of the barnwood, a hint of blue? And the sunburst mirror…where did you get this one Layla..the originals are so expensive and others look cheap…I love your visions..

  39. Lori S H says

    Wow!! This is an amazing transformation. Your after is so much better than your design. I love it. Most of all, I really think your generosity and well being just shines right through. That is a true gift to others.

  40. says

    Oh, I love it so much!!! You are so inspiring. My favorite thing (besides the looks on their faces!) is the little surprise pops of green in the pillows and plants. That detail totally makes the room for me! Love it!!!

  41. lyndsey says

    I’m always so impressed with how well you stat within budget, and the rooms always look lovely. That’s real talent!
    What is the light blue wall color? I have four samples on my bedroom wall right now, but the one in this room is what I want!

  42. Candace Petree says

    Loooove this room & love your blog!! Your design but even more importantly your perspective & outlook on life are very inspiring! I always look forward to reading your posts:) Quick question about this room…I read that you used Gray Owl darkened by 50% for the walls, is that correct? Thanks so much!!!!

    • Layla says

      Thank you, Candace! I think we used Comfort Gray in Keith’s living room. (We used Gray Owl lightened by 50% in our living room) :-)

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