So, What Should You Yabba Dabba Do With A Flintstone Fireplace?

I never know what challenge I may walk into when I’m called in for a Home Staging Consultation.  This house had a few, but none larger than the 1970’s Flintstone fireplace in the paneled den:

flintstones stone fireplaceFlintstone fireplace before


The Nashville homeowners already knew this fireplace dated the house terribly and would make it difficult to sell in their tony neighborhood.  They planned on ripping it out completely, and considered removing the bad faux paneling and drywalling the entire room.  That would have required a lot of time and money, not to mention the big mess that it would cause.  I had a better idea . . . 

painted stone fireplaceYabba Dabba Do!


Never, ever underestimate the power of paint.  I called in my faux painter to transform the fireplace with three shades of paint.  It doesn’t even look like the same fireplace, but I swear it is!

paneled denbefore


In addition to the fireplace transformation, this room needed updated color for the wood paneling and bookcases.  And a little bit of staging magic – less is more!

staged paneled living room




Part-time Home Staging was the beginning of my career in the realm of design and decoration a decade ago.  I was honored this year to have been awarded the 2013 Best Occupied Staging – North America, and I was recently notified that I will be receiving another international award in January by the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA).

best redesign 2014 


I will also be a speaker at the annual RESA convention in Las Vegas in January, along with Barbara Corcoran of ABC’s Shark Tank,  Michael Finalson and Lisa Vail of HGTV’s Selling LA, Home Staging legend, Christine Rae, and several other talented home staging and real estate professionals:

resa 2014 convention

RESA 2014 Convention 


If you already a Home Stager, attending this conference is a great way to network, develop your professional staging skills, and take your business to the next level.   If you are interested in starting a Home Staging business, stay tuned for my upcoming book due out early spring of 2014: Psychological Staging, The Home Staging Secrets of The Decorologist which will lay the groundwork for the professional home staging certification course that I plan to launch in 2014.  It’s gonna be a big year!

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47 thoughts on “So, What Should You Yabba Dabba Do With A Flintstone Fireplace?

  1. Ginny says:

    What an incredible transformation and clever staging strategy saving the home sellers a lot of money and inconvenience. Great colours! Looking forward to hearing you speak at the convention this year, and meeting you. A book, a course…wow lots of exciting things happening. Well deserved success!

  2. Tammy Roberts says:

    Congratulations Kristie! I’m proud to be on your client list and happily enjoying my furniture arrangement and the way you decorated with what I had.

  3. Susan Silverman says:

    That is an amazing transformation. The fireplace is spectacular. You can’t even see the lines of the original paneling? Did you re-drywall or just paint the paneling?

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      No drywall, Susan – just a good primer and paint! The lines are still visible, but they are subtle. I actually like the texture of the lines, so I never suggest trying to fill those in or replace with drywall unless the paneling is buckling or in bad shape otherwise.

  4. Amy says:

    Hi Kristie! I’ve been looking for a picture of a room like this with the fireplace on one end. We have the same set up and I’m having a terrible time arranging the furniture so it’s a comfortable TV viewing family area. Unfortunately we had to put the TV above the fireplace… I can’t arrange the furniture so that more than one person has a comfortable spot for viewing? I’m thinking a sectional, but I know you’re not a fan. Any thoughts? Thanks!!

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Sure – you could do a sofa facing the fireplace/tv and a pair of skirted chairs that swivel in front of and on either side of the fireplace, facing the sofa (coffee table in middle). If positioned far enough into the room, the chairs could swivel towards the tv when needed, but faces the conversation area when not.

  5. Catherine says:

    The fireplace insert/box is gone which looks much better but I do not see logs or a rack for logs. Is the fireplace still functional? I have something similar and it is an eye sore, wondering if I have any inexpensive options. We love to use the fireplace.

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      If you need a screen/insert, you could do a black one so it’s not so obtrusive as a brass one. I’m not sure this fireplace is functioning – they were staging it to sell, so they may have just cleaned it out and the next owners could put a log rack back in later?

  6. ~Syl says:

    Once again, simply STELLAR!!!!!!! You have an Amazing gift and thank you for sharing your talents and inspiring others!!!! Congratulations on your awards and many blessings to you and your family in the New Year!!!!!

  7. Nancy says:

    That’s not just Wow, but WOW, WOW, WOW!!! It does not look, or feel, like the same room. Your faux painter is a true artist, also. Lovely, lovely job on the fireplace. The awards keep coming, and deservedly so. Congratulations! Nancy

  8. Sindy says:

    Awesome, Kristie! Your room transformations just get better and better. This fireplace room and the four color kitchen are truly exceptional. Hope they sell their home quickly and get tons of extra $$$ thanks to you!

  9. Shelley says:

    You hit this one right out of the ballpark Kristie! Congrats on your RESA award and all the best for 2014. It will be an amazing year for you! How will you be offering your staging course btw?

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      I will likely start with a 3-day course in Nashville – then perhaps I’ll travel to other major cities and do the same. I want to train students face-to-face, if possible – I think that’s the most valuable way to learn!

  10. Wendy says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I saw this before I visited my mom in Florida for Christmas. It was the inspiration I needed to help my mom. She has a house with ugly, orange tinted wood wall paneling in the living room and dining room. She hasn’t wanted to move into this house because of the musty smell from the carpet and dark, cave like paneling. With only three days before Christmas, I didn’t have time to rip it out and put up drywall. My husband and son ripped out 450 square feet of carpet and installed a light linen/sand color ceramic tile resembling wood planks. Meanwhile, I deglossed the paneling and trim with a liquid sander, primed with Zinsser’s oil based primer and painted her paneling in a soft ivory latex and trim in a bright white. What a huge difference! I wished I had internet connection while there so I could contact you for a consult.

  11. Sharon says:

    Hi Kristie – I LOVE Your work. Quick question…When you do one of your (AMAZING!) transformations like this family room, where does the new furniture come from? Did the family purchase the two new sofas? Rent them? or do you provide the new things?

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      It all depends on what the homeowner has or needs. This was a staging to sell, and they had these two small sofas in a basement den. I suggested they use those instead of the large sectional that was here – I think they got rid of the sectional altogether. But I typically bring in accessories, pillows, lamps, art, etc.

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  16. Fatima Tundo says:

    The room looks 100% better! I have a similar situation in my basement. We have a brick fireplace surrounded by wood paneling. Since the basement doesn’t get a ton of natural light, I was thinking about painting it and I love the color you chose for this room. What color is it and what finish? Also, what do you think about white-washing a red brick fireplace that has a dark grey stone mantle ??? Your input would be much appreciated!! Thanks!!

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      It all depends on the walls and trim color in the room. This fireplace was painted with a mix of three colors by a faux painter – I chose the colors for her to use, but I don’t recall what they were. For your fireplace, you might consider using a white color that is the same as your trim, a medium gray, and a darker charcoal gray for your fireplace. That color combo should help unite the fireplace to the gray stone mantle while lightening up the space at the same time. Good luck!

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  18. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you for all these ideas on the fireplace. I love the stone, it’s amazing how you changed it. Just lightening it up, as well as the surrounding areas lightened. Also, like you said, less is more. In my house I have been minimizing so much. I’m not minimizing to nothing, as I don’t want rooms to feel cold and dreary, but simple and less, I feel is so welcoming. I personally feel so much calmer when a room is simple, warm, light, makes me happy. If a room is cluttered, seriously makes me feel stressed out. I want my house to feel spa-like in the sense of calm and inviting. That brings me to our fireplace that I’ve been staring at for years. It’s brick. I actually wish it was those thin stones that people stack, and greys, but alas, my fireplace is all brick. It’s a standard height ceiling and it’s floor to ceiling medium-dark brick and the mortar is black/dark grey. I don’t want to paint it white or a solid color, but I did see this stone that you painted which is amazing, which also led me to see a brick fireplace picture where the reddish/orange colored brick was transformed to greys. It turned out AMAZING how you had it done! It’s exactly what I want my fireplace to look like. Also, we have a split entry house (which I regret) but I can’t change that now, so downstairs we have brick on the wall too, as there is a hookup if someone wanted a woodstove. I can leave that brick, but I want the brick up here lighter, lighter mortar and not sure about the mantle. It’s a very thick solid wood mantle. I can’t take it off, so it has to remain in place, plus even if I could get that piece off, I have major back/spine issues, so I couldn’t lift that mantle as it’s really heavy looking/solid. We have a large tv over the fireplace and the mantle protects the tv from the heat. We actually rarely use the fireplace because we have central heat, but the fireplace is definitely the focal point, and I just want to try and figure out how to do that myself, so I can really enjoy our living room more as the brick is just so dark and blah, boring to me. I’ve seen a bunch of youtube videos on people white washing their brick, but I don’t like the way they have it turn out. It just looks like someone threw watered down white paint on the brick, and I just don’t like that. So since you picked out at least 3 colors, totally makes sense to use multi shades so it looks like it came that way. (Sorry, I’m rambling, your ideas are awesome, thank you for sharing!) Also then trying to figure out what to do with my small foyer, and also the small hall when we come through the garage door. I want both areas welcoming. I’m working on it. Thank you!

  19. Chandler says:

    Forgive me if I’ve missed this question, but could you please share the fireplace colors you used, and what order you applied them? The previous owner of my condo painted the stones blue! Like royal blue! The mortar is white. What a “swell” look it is, haha. I would so greatly appreciate any advice 🙂

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Chandler – it depends on the room. I can’t remember what exact colors we used here, but we used a combination of the trim color, more neutral version of the wall color, and a darker gray accent color like Kendall Charcoal. Royal blue? That’s a travesty 😉

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