Creating an old world cultured stone fireplace, without massive destruction is possible. Here’s proof!
Once upon a time, the fireplace was your typical outdated brick variety with a teeny weeny little mantel. When my home underwent major renovations,
asked me what plans I had for the fireplace. I cringed, wishing I HAD plans. He jumped in and offered to help create something I could feel really proud of. That was a very good day. So together, we came up with some designs and a plan of action.
First, the mantel was created out of high density foam board that was hand carved, hand tooled as well as run on a CNC router to create the whimsical woodgrain. It is HUGE and very heavy.
After the carving of the mantle, came the many layers of paint and glazes to recreate deep rich woodsy tones.
The old mantel comes down…
… and the new one is installed. Also added at this time were metal corbels hiding the original brick ones, as well as a decorative metal insert.
A framework was created in order to carry the fireplace right up to the ceiling. Note the curvy sides, for an old world appearance.
Next, a skim coat of cement (and other things) covered the existing brick to create the base for the rock work.
Buddy Dan and the overly talented crew carefully trimmed and placed cultured stone on the framework and existing brick interface.
Here Phoenix is applying an acid stain to his hand carved fiberglass reinforced concrete base. A solid looking rock was hand sculpted over top of the brick rather than using cultured stone, in order to create more visual weight to the base, as well as a comfier place to sit.
The final result? Old world charm that demands your full attention when you walk upstairs. I’ve always loved fireplaces that touched the ceiling. I love how they move your eye up wards, creating a much grander presence.
Here’s a closeup of the massive metal corbels that were created to cover over top of the existing brick ones. And their massiveness also brought the over sized hand carved mantel into proper scale too. Isn’t this an amazing touch? One can paint the metal or even apply acid to rust it, however I fell in love with it just the way it was. (which ties in with my kitchen island).
Update: The metal corbels were completely created out of heavy gauge metal, handcut by Dan. The joins were welded and the rivet was created out of a steel ball cut in half. The metal is naturally black until you grind it, bringing up the steel tones. One can chose to continue to grind for an all metal look or leave it as is for a distressed finish. I chose the latter.
This metal plate was created to visually remove the plain square hole. I had actually desired the rock to capture the soft curves of the top, however this plate was a great fix. It’s held in place with pins that can simply be removed if one wishes to change to a gas insert at a later date.
The faux wooden mantel itself wears many layers of paint and glaze, creating rich wood tones that capture every nook and cranny of the added texture from all the tooling.
Mantel decorating ideas
Because the mantel is over scaled in size, you really have the opportunity to pile on the accessories! It’s very fun to create different looks!
What cool thing have you done to change your fireplace look? Is there something you want to do to yours? Feel free to leave your link in the comments if you have pictures. I’d love to see.
~ This post has been updated: the original was featured on ~