Revamping an old fireplace

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So, the fireplace… how many of you have been wanting to redecorate your living rooms, only to have to continue to stare at your 20 year old plus fireplace? What do you DO with that old thing? Some paint it. Others tile over it.

First, think of the look that you want. I personally love an old world looking appearance. And I knew the brick or painting wasn’t something I wanted to stay put.

Here’s what I started with. Your typical brick. The previous owners at least changed out the mantle to make it appear abit beefier, so kudos for that! But it still whispered to me.

The first step was to figure out what kind of look I desired. I sketched a rock fireplace that went from floor to ceiling with abit of tapering in from the mantle up and desired a heavier woodsy mantle. Working with my friend/part of the team Dan, a massive mantle was also created out of precision board. We went for a slightly whimsical feel. A wire brush on a drill, hand carving and a router were all used to create this guy.

After the carving of the mantle, came painting/glazing the piece. This is yours truly working on those layers of paint to achieve a wood effect.

Next, the old mantle was removed and the measuring process has begun. The new mantle is sitting on the hearth.

With the mantle in place, some heavy metal brackets were created to cover the brick like brackets. I personally love old rustic metal so this flavour was bent to my shape for certain. The massive brackets quickly brought the scale of the mantle right down to the perfect proportion.

I also disliked the square opening, so a metal insert was designed to curve the opening, but also was made removable so if I desired to go to gas at a later date, I still could. Looks cooler already!

Next the framework was created so the rock could be carried up all the way to the ceiling. Cultured stone was the chosen product for this go around. (there are also other unique ways to go about this… one is fiberglass reinforced hand carved cement, but I’ll save that for another post) The stone was placed right over top of the existing brick and on the new framework above the mantel.

Here’s an example of the concrete I just spoke of. The base was hand carved with the concrete to achieve the look of one solid rock, rather than many pieces of stone put together. The result puts more weight to the fireplace and is easier to sit on as well. Here the stone is being treated to achieve the same colour results as the rest of the rock.

My apologies for this pic which is on the darker side, but this is the end result, sans the grouting that needs to still be implemented. What was once a cute little brick fireplace became this majestic total room feature that gave the living area not only a magnificent feature to gaze at, but a much homier old world appearance as well. And now the real fun could start!

The mantle gets changed out frequently. Whenever I bring home a new find, I try it on the mantle. Decorating to scale is pretty key with all displays of course, however with this mantle being so chunky, I’m thrilled to report I’m able to really load the bulk on for alot of fun effects!

Don’t think for a minute you’re stuck with your outdated fireplace. You have alot of creative options! And we are also offering a fireplace revamp as part of the services here too!

Time to get cozy with a nice fire… ahhh, much better!

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  1. Oh my, what a beautiful transformation on the fireplace. Donna, I read in one of your posts that you love tile, so do I!!! It is so nice to know that I am not alone. I love to install it, touch it, look at it and even frame it and use for artwork on my walls. I am so grateful to Layla at the The Lettered Cottage for her post on your fireplace reno. I will be adding your blog to my list of favorites!!!
    Nola Harris
    The Bloom Girls
    Nashville, TN

  2. Donna, Found your blog by way of Layla’s post on your fireplace. Love your fireplace makeover. I’m so looking forward to going through your blog and seeing what other inspiration I can find! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Holy smokes! It’s fantastic! I never would have imagined that a boring old brick fireplace could be transformed quite like that. Well done!

  4. Oh my goodness!!! I absolutely LOVE this!!! We have a fireplace much like your old one that I can’t stand!! I think I’m going to paint it until we can do something like what you did!! So awesome!!