Keith’s Living Room Makeover – Pick My Presto

Meet Keith:


He plays drums on the worship team at our church, and although we just met him last year, he’s one of those guys you just feel like you’ve known forever- ya know what I mean? One of the things I noticed about him early on, is that he smiles a lot. And like Buddy the Elf, I’m a HUGE fan of that!

In addition to serving at Centerpoint


…Keith is also a firefighter here in Montgomery, Alabama…


…and he recently bought his first house over in Prattville…


I was so happy for him when I saw this Facebook update:


I didn’t know he was buying a house at the time, but our current house is the first one I’ve ever had my name on, so I could totally relate to his excitement that day!

That excitement gave me an idea about helping him with a room redo, so Kevin and I cautiously approached him about it at church a couple of weeks ago. We didn’t want to barge all up in his business, and for all we knew- he was passionate about interior design and wanted to personalize his first house himself. But (smiley) Keith was pumped about the idea, and he promptly invited us and his girlfriend over for supper.


(Keith and his girlfriend, Lauren at a fundraiser event in Tuscaloosa, Alabama)

We had so much fun hanging out and getting to know them better that night, and before we left, we snapped a photo of his living room so I could play around with some makeover ideas in Photoshop. We’ve decided to concentrate on the fireplace wall in his living room (especially since he knows what’s safe when it comes to that stuff), and now that we know more about what inspires Keith (design-wise), I think we’ve got a good idea for what we’d like to do over there. You can move your cursor arrow on and off of the photo below to see what we’re thinking for that wall:

And as you can see, I couldn’t resist throwing in some other things too, ha! #FunWithPhotoshop

Google Readers and email subscribers, you’ll have to click over to our blog ( to see it in action. If you’re on a device that doesn’t allow you to view the interactive photo above, here are the still images:

We’ve already been in touch with a couple of local friends of ours that have mad carpentry and design skills, so as long as we can round up some wood (we’ve still got some moolah on our True Value gift card), we should be good to go on the bookcases. As for the stone on the fireplace, we *may* be all set there as well. I’m not even kidding- within MINUTES of sending Keith the inspiration drawing, I got an email from a company called Airstone who creates very realistic-looking faux stones. They asked if we’d be interested in working with them on a project. Wow. Talk about Perfect timing! I’m going to email them back today, and hopefully, they’ll allow us to use some of their product on Keith’s fireplace. I’ll keep you posted- and I look forward to blogging about this entire adventure as it unfolds! By the looks of Keith’s Facebook page, he’s got a lot of friends, so we’re hoping to recruit some of them for a paint party at his place soon!


Keith said he loves the color charcoal gray, so first things first- we’re going to put our heads together about exactly which charcoal gray to use, and then we’ll use our gift card to purchase a couple of gallons of paint. More about that as soon as we’ve chosen it and have it up on the walls!

Now obviously we’re not ABC’s Extreme Home Makeover, so we might not be able to pull off everything in the inspiration photo- but we love this kind of stuff, and we’re really excited about the chance to get together with folks who are equally enthusiastic about helping Keith create an inspired space that echoes and shapes who he truly is. Because who he is- is inspiring to so many of us folks!

PS- This is not an Airstone or True Value-sponsored post, and all photos of Keith were swiped from his Facebook page. (Keith, if you’re reading: Thanks for allowing me to swipe ‘em!)


For pics and updates about what’s happening with Keith’s makeover in between posts, join us over on Twitter, Facebook and/or Instagram!

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  1. says

    How lucky Keith is to have you as friends. I excited and I don’t know any of you! Looking forward to seeing the finished product.

  2. Kim says

    Oh this looks great! Your original fireplace makeover at your old house has been my inspiration photo for our fireplace for a few years now – and I’ve also added the one you did for your family this past year. We FINALLY got started on it this past week and I can’t wait to finish. Thanks for all the inspiration!

  3. Leah says

    Wow! This looks like a fun one, guys! Love the built-ins on either side of the fireplace…oh, and the mantel…oh and the planks, and the colors, and the baskets, and…well…you get the idea.; )
    Have fun!!!
    Leah: )

  4. Sarah P says

    Can you disclosed where the TV console is from? My husband and I have been searching for one for a looong time and this would be perfect.

  5. says

    Ooh great one again!

    I just have to say that I looooooove that coffee table! Please share where you swiped that one? (As if I could jump in the car and go get it.. I’m in the Netherlands… but still)

  6. RACHEL CAREY says

    I like the coffee table he already has, just painted! Everything else looks great! Man, can we all pitch in and buy that guy a big-boy tv?

  7. says

    I can’t wait to see your plans come together! I had to go back and forth several times to catch all the details, it was like it was a totally different room!! Don’t you love how God puts people in our lives that feel like they have been there all along!!

  8. Sheri says

    Does Keith hear that he looks like Adam Levine a lot? Because he does!

    Love the built-ins and the blend of comfortable rustic with the masculine vibe. Can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  9. says

    I love what you do, Layla!! The inspiration board is beautiful and masculine, and filled with so many great touches. I love how you design specifically for a person’s taste – that smoky grey on the fireplace wall sounds great for Keith!

  10. Summer says

    So thrilled y’all are doing this for my super-sweet and awesome nephew :-) My husband (Uncle Johnny) is a retired firefighter and painter extraordinaire so count us in for the paint party :-) Thanks a bajillion for helping Keith out and blessings to you both!

    Aunt Summer

  11. says

    What a Lucky guy Keith is to have you all offer your suggestions for his new space. And how lucky you are to have such a great space (and smile) to work with. Your vision is practical and beautiful.. My two favorites!

  12. Donna Doble-Brown says

    WOW! Love it! but I always do . . . . can not wait to see what you guys decide on for the finished living room . . . .have fun! :)

  13. Danielle says

    I love the ideas you came up with! We just got finished (i.e. an hour ago) putting AirStone on our kitchen backsplash. It was super easy to install & looks great! Now we’re looking for other places to put it, definitely a good pick!

  14. Karie says

    You two ROCK! How lucky is Keith to have you two as friends…Now I am just putting this out there for you but next time you are in Ohio (I know you were here a few months ago) please know that my door is always open and I would love to have you share some fun ideas with us! We bought our first home 3 years ago and I am still trying to decide what to do with the living room, need to redo the bathroom and the hubby wants to do wood on the wall in his office much like you just did in your half bath…I love all your ideas and for more inspiration I am excited about the book I just bought – Young House Love! Have a great day!

    • says

      I was scanning the posts to see if ANYONE was going to mention what a cutie Keith is. I love your comment Kristin S. AND he is a firefighter! Keith and his girlfriend are a super cute couple.

      This will be a fun journey for all–have a great time! Layla–did you take the first shot of him? It looks like a modeling photo/pose!

      • Sarah says

        Funny- I was reading through the comments for that exact same reason. Your neighborhood seems like it couldn’t be more perfect. I was waiting for the part saying he was your new neighbor! :)

        • Layla says

          Thanks, Sarah! :-) We actually moved from Prattville to Pike Road- but we still go to church in Prattville- which is also where Keith’s house is. :-D

  15. Josey says

    Hey Layla,

    I have a long narrow room like this in my home that I had no idea what to do with! Ironically, I had been trying to figure out a way to incorporate a fireplace in there as well. Your inspiration photo, I suspect, will become my inspiration photo – thank you for that! Can you elaborate where you “swiped” the fireplace, and more specifically, the board treatment (and color) above the fireplace from?


  16. Angie W says

    I totally agree with Kristin! I was thinking how perfect he looked (on paper) for my daughter. Us mom’s are always looking for handsome men with good jobs for their little girls. BUT the point of your blog is this great makeover AND it is wonderful. I love the fireplace wall. It’s perfect.

  17. Megan says

    Oh Hannah Montana! I love this room and love that are so honestly generous! I think I’m just as excited about this as you are!

  18. says

    Oh I LOVE that fireplace. I am so unhappy with the one we currently have so I will be so excited to see how you transform his. You guys are so great! I love your blog!!!

  19. Lisa W. says

    Keith is a lucky man :-) And a cutie too :-) The room looks amazing as always!!! Can’t wait to see the end result!!!

  20. Tina says

    Love the stone and wood textures with the gray-blue color!
    Maybe since Keith is a firefighter we can call “smoky gray” something like “raincloud gray” instead :)
    We’ve actually got gray stone work around our firplace- you’ve inspired me to do more with its tones and texture. Thanks, and good luck with this cool project!

  21. says

    So great! I don’t even know him, but I feel like it will suit him, haha! Totally digging the blue wood planks above the fireplace!

  22. says

    Hi there! We are regular readers but don’t comment often. Boo on us! But this is such a fabulous idea. We can’t wait to see what you guys do with this room makeover. The design that you have created is perfect for a man but also has that special touch that is inviting to anyone. Excited to see the progress!!

    Jayme & Mendi @ Her Late Night Cravings

  23. Penny says

    I saw an Airstone display at my local Lowes this past weekend. They look pretty neat and are super lightweight. I can’t wait to see what you guys do, I’m sure it will be spectacular!

  24. molly abeloe says

    i’ve been following your blog for over a year now, and i just want to let you know how much your enthusiasm for life has lifted my spirits in a very unique time in life. my husband and i have moved away from home to pursue a youth pastoring job in Colorado, and we recently had our first child. i am encouraged by your creativity, your marriage, your faith, and your quest to adopt. may God richly bless your endeavors! i just wanted to tell you that what you’re doing really matters. press on! ps, i love this presto-change-o!
    love, molly, malachi, and baby everly

  25. Kar in Colorado says

    Love it! I hope you’ll share all the details of the Airstone project as you go. We have builder beige tile around our fireplace and I’ve wondered if Airstone could be our solution. Would love to hear some “real people” experience with it from you guys. Love your blog, and your style!

  26. Maribel in Texas says

    Please excuse me while I pick my jaw off of my desk! Lol. I LOOOOOVE this Pick-my-presto, I dare even say that it is my favorite! Way to hit the nail on the head Layla! :)

  27. Vanessa says

    Love the inspiration room. I just saw what you did with another fireplace makeover with wood above the mantel. Great idea!

  28. says

    I think we aren’t lucky :) Christians are blessed and it wasn’t just by chance you get the call about the faux stones. Look forward to seeing how they turn out as we are wanting to change our 1994 fireplace that snowbirds built. NO mantle, can you believe that?! Anyway, we’ve moved from Prattville, as you did, and we are now in Gulf Shores and love it. We have never been ‘beach’ types but there’s so much here to do for retirees that we stay busy!!
    Love your blog, as usual :)

  29. Rachel says

    I have known Keith since he was born…as I am one of his older cousins. He is, quite possibly, one of the most wonderful men I have ever been blessed to know. I got to watch him grow from a silly, picky eater of a little boy, to an amazing and God-loving Man. In the past 5 or 6 years, I have seen him serve above and beyond. And, of course, being the proud daughter of a firefighter myself, I can’t help but be just as proud of my baby cousin for his willingness to put his life on the line for others on a daily basis…his leg is physical proof of that. I am so grateful to you two for recognizing his awesomeness and providing such a deserving gift to him. I can’t wait to see the outcome! And, Keith, if you see this, I love you dearly. Love, your cuz. :)

  30. says

    As I was reading and looking at the pics, the first thing I thought of when I saw the fireplace was AirStone! Then my eyes widened when you mentioned they wanted to work with you! You are so lucky. I had to pay full retail! lol I just finished our kitchen island at our weekend log cabin using this. We had just enough left over to do the side of our cabinet in the kitchen that is exposed also.

    This is a great product and I highly recommend it. Easy to work with, and it doesn’t look fake or cheap. I hate that, kwim? I did a post on it this past Monday, so if you want to get an idea of what it looks like, take a look. They only have two colors to choose from. One is more grey toned and the other more tan. We choose the tan.

    P.S. Keith is a total cutie ;)

  31. says

    Yay! I cannot WAIT to see the stone fireplace makeover! :) I am wanting to do the exact same thing to our fireplace! :) Can’t wait how you like Airsoft! :)

  32. says

    Layla and Kevin, You guys have me in tears. I’m not sure why I am so emotional. I guess it’s because you guys have such big hearts. It’s very moving to me and I can just sense the love of Christ through you as you help others.
    The redo plans look amazing and I’m excited to see it all come together. Have a blessed day!

  33. Amy Y. says

    Oh how I wish you could come to my house and work your magic!
    What a lucky guy Keith is!!!
    Looking forward to seeing the end result.

  34. jennifer says

    i just painted my mantel charcoal gray, and had a hard time finding just the right color. gray can be hard! i ended up using porpoise from sherwin williams and had them add a little black. i can’t wait to see what you choose!

  35. Lucy says

    you guys can gladly “cautiously approach” us at church and offer to help with our living room. Anytime:) Just sayin’. Great work!!

  36. Merry says

    The inspiration is gorgeous! I would love to have that living room.

    Probably like most of your readers, I wish you could magically come transform my home. Decorating is hard, yo.

    I hope the Airstone partnership works out. I have seen some fantastic projects using it, and it looks absolutely real.

  37. says

    This is probably an inappropriate comment, but oh well! Is everyone at your church as young and good looking as you guys and Keith? Makes me want to move there and start going to your church! Can’t wait to see the room make over. ;)

  38. Ambierre says

    I love this! I’m kind of on this same track with my kitchen and living room right now and it’s looking great. We just painted our kitchen BM Kendall Charcoal and its perfect! Just an FYI in case you want to check it out : )

  39. Mickey says

    I love what you are planning to do with his living room, how lucky is he to have you two as friends. I am very interested in what color of charcoal gray you decide on. I am going to paint my computer room/office and want to do it in a charcoal gray and am having a dilly of a time selecting a color. The walls are currently filled with sample colors, some look more blue and other just a dull gray….any suggestions!!!!! Mickey

  40. says

    I’ve been researching Airstone for some time to see if it could work on the brick wall around our wood stove. I’m a little worried about the heat that a wood stove gives off but their product looks so great. I was set on painting the brick but when I saw their display I was intrigued. Can’t wait to hear how it goes. The room design looks great!

  41. Colleen says

    Love this room! We’re also moving and getting excited about our new space to play! Where is the couch in this room from? Thanks!

  42. Tracey says

    Love the fireplace and very excited to see what you can come up with/see the Airstone product (I wonder if I can get that up in Canada??). And Keith is a hottie fireman…..I have a little weakness for firemen ;-)

  43. cyndy jennings says

    Love your inspiration board. Can you tell me where the baskets are from? Love your blog too – great ideas!!

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