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Unread 09-16-2011, 09:50 AM
 
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Default How to remodel this ugly 1970s fireplace?

So my fireplace looks something like this (below). Its in the den, which is currently all wood panelling. I'm removing all the panelling and putting up drywall...but I have no idea what to do with the fireplace. Its the stoop that gets me. Just cover the whole thing in (fake?) stone? I don't want to spend a ton to do the fireplace either. Suggestions appreciated, thanks!
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How to remodel this ugly 1970s fireplace?-phx70sfireplace1972.jpg  
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Unread 09-16-2011, 10:03 AM
 
Location: Elsewhere
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I wouldn't change a thing. It could do with a little cleaning. Maybe a mantelpiece that isn't quite so wide, just a few inches wider than the fireplace opening itself.

PS -- fireplaces don't have "stoops". They have "hearths."
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Unread 09-16-2011, 10:09 AM
 
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you could cover it with fake stone. it would look nice. the "stoop" is a raised harth, I personally like the raised look.

if you want to do the stone, it isn't really that cheap, but does come out nice. Also with it being the whole width of the room, it both adds up in price and has a big visual impact.

I thnk your biggest offender is the wood panelling above the fireplace and proably the rest of the room.



If it were me, and I somehow could sell my wife on it, and it didn't cost a fortune, I'd consider:
Demoing the brick on either side of the fireplace, leaving a centered 6 or so feet of brick Have the mason come in and cover the brick with stone and put bluestone or brownstone on the raised harth. Install drywall above the fireplace in place of the panelling. And put 2 built in bookshelves one on either side of the fireplace. So now you'll have a 6' fireplace in stone, with 2 bookshelves and smoothfinished wall above.

you could possibly have the bookshelves sit on the raised harth as well.
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Unread 09-16-2011, 10:28 AM
 
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My initial thoughts. Your instincts about removing the paneling are spot on. You rarely want to do a dark color or a heavy looking material above lighter colors or finishes that appear "lighter" in weight. Your current wall is top heavy and this unbalances the room. Even if you left it, you'd want to paint it a lighter color.

There are also a lot of horizontal lines which create an optical illusion of adding length to the wall. This can be a good thing in smaller rooms, but the downside is that, visually, it pulls the ceiling down. I'd work to reverse this. I'd use horizontal lines along the longest walls in the room and use vertical lines on the narrowest walls.

The last thought is that the fact that the surround runs from wall to wall, leaves the fireplace isolated. The opening is too small in scale compared to the fireplace surround. A couple of ideas to address this:
  1. Add a scaled down surround. You may be able to build this out on top of the brick, but your fireplace will be recessed. Or you can remove the brick entirely. For the scale of this wall, I'd put in a 12-18" surround and cap it off with a a nice mantle.
  2. Install built-in bookcases to hide the hearth between the wall and the fireplace and to add some vertical lines to the wall.

Last edited by TheWayISeeThings; 09-16-2011 at 10:36 AM..
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Unread 09-16-2011, 10:38 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWayISeeThings View Post
My initial thoughts. Your instincts about removing the paneling are spot on. You rarely want to do a dark color or a heavy looking material above lighter colors or finishes that appear "lighter" in weight. Your current wall is top heavy and this unbalances the room. Even if you left it, you'd want to paint it a lighter color.

There are also a lot of horizontal lines which create an optical illusion of adding length to the wall. This can be a good thing in smaller rooms, but the downside is that, visually, it pulls the ceiling down. I'd work to reverse this. I'd use horizontal lines along the longest walls in the room and use vertical lines on the narrowest walls.

The last thought is that the fact that the surround runs from wall to wall, leaves the fireplace isolated. The opening is too small in scale compared to the fireplace surround. A couple of ideas to address this:
  1. Add a scaled down surround. You may be able to build this out on top of the brick, but your fireplace will be recessed. Or you can remove the brick entirely. For the scale of this wall, I'd put in a 12-18" surround and cap it off with a a nice mantle.
  2. Install built-in bookcases to hide the hearth between the wall and the fireplace and to add some vertical lines to the wall.
After re-reading your post, it sounds like maybe this is a picture you pulled off of the internet and not YOUR fireplace. Is that correct? If so, some of my advice may not apply...it will depend on your specific dimensions. However, thinking about where to run horizontal and vertical lines and how they affect whether the room feels long, wide, or having a low ceiling, are always good to consider.
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Unread 09-17-2011, 06:57 AM
 
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I like the brick. The wood on the wall above the fireplace has to go.
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Unread 09-17-2011, 09:54 AM
 
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Thanks, this is helpful. Correct, that's not my exact fireplace, just a similar picture I found online. For mine, the fireplace extends half way up the wall and the top half of the wall is soon-to-be-replaced wood panelling. I like the idea about cabinets on each side. Would you extend them all the way up the wall or just up to the mantle (about half way up the wall)?
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Unread 09-17-2011, 01:04 PM
 
Location: Asheville
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If you extended the shelves all the way up, you would need to either fill the space above the fireplace with artwork or a TV, or build out the space to look like an extension upward of the fireplace. I think I would first try putting the shelves at a height even with whatever mantle you decide to put. If it doesn't look right, you can always add more, perhaps cabinets for your TV and music stuff. Also, you can leave your shelves open, or close some, or put glass doors.

Take a look at some glass tiles, you can put them over the brick surrounding the fireplace, going up to wherever you want the mantlepiece and then extending over to the bookcases. For the hearth, you can pick some honed, shiny stone, cut to fit full-depth and across same distance as surround. The step-up, if you do have that, can be same stuff as hearth, but you would want the bookcase step-up areas to be of the same material and color as you do the bookcases, I think.

Mantlepiece can be substantial unpainted wood, or traditional style in white, or same as hearthstone. Just remember that all flammable items have to be a certain distance from the fire, you can find that online somewhere. This applies to where you stop the bookcases, what material you use for the bookcases, and same thing with the mantle.

Let us know what you think of various glass tiles, some are really beautiful, small squares that sparkle in many colors. But those are not for everybody. Large-sized tiles or various stone materials look good to some people rather than some glam style that I kinda like.
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Unread 09-17-2011, 01:24 PM
 
Location: Prospect, KY
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I would do it right the first time instead spending more time, effort and money on trying to disguise an unattractive/dated feature. I would remove everything from that wall except for the fireplace opening, repair/drywall the wall, paint the wall a lovely color, buy a beautiful mantle to add to your fireplace, build a new hearth covered in the stone or brick of your choice and add crown molding to the ceiling. You will never regret having done it right the first time. Even if you have to do the work in stages as you have the money and time - just do it right.

Last edited by Cattknap; 09-17-2011 at 01:48 PM..
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Unread 09-17-2011, 07:48 PM
 
Location: Silver Springs, FL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cattknap View Post
I would do it right the first time instead spending more time, effort and money on trying to disguise an unattractive/dated feature. I would remove everything from that wall except for the fireplace opening, repair/drywall the wall, paint the wall a lovely color, buy a beautiful mantle to add to your fireplace, build a new hearth covered in the stone or brick of your choice and add crown molding to the ceiling. You will never regret having done it right the first time. Even if you have to do the work in stages as you have the money and time - just do it right.
This!
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