Well, we finally finished the fireplace project! The funny thing is that after all of that, we decided not to put the TV up there. I flipped the sectional around - one side against the windows & the other extending in front of the room opening - and it just felt a million times cozier having the TV there along the wall, with the newly built-in space above the fireplace for books and things. We also painted the room and added wall shelves behind the sofa corner.
I'll share more detailed shots, but for now this post is apparently more of an ode to Christmas decorations. ;) We moved the fake tree upstairs and got a tabletop Fraser Fir...boy are they pretty.