powered by
Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Updating a fireplace - small opening, brick from floor to ceiling covering the wall

justinkrampNovember 3, 2012
We are in the process of purchasing a terrific fixer-upper with some great bones. The large living room has a high ceiling with beams, a floor-to-ceiling window at one end and a fireplace at the other.

I've attached a small, poorly lit picture from the listing (sorry!) that shows the fireplace end. We like the idea of the fireplace, but want to update the look. The opening is small and round, and the brick covers most of the wall all the way to the ceiling.

We were thinking maybe enlarge the opening and make it rectangular, but we're not sure what to do with the brick. We've seen other walls like this where the brick (or stone) is a much narrower strip of the wall, which looks more clean and contemporary.

We'll be painting and replacing the carpet with hardwoods, so there will be other updates here, but we're scratching our head with the fireplace.

Any recommendations or photos of similar projects would be appreciated!
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
I wonder if the fireplace situation is being made worse by the dark walls. What is your plans for them? I agree that the firebox is plenty small, but it may make a big hole in your wallet to change it. Not feeling the whimpy hearth either. Is there anything interesting under the carpet?

My to-do list: check under carpet for hardwood. Consider painting the walls a lighter color. Consider painting the ceiling rafters. Take down the mantle. Paint the brick wall. Tear out the hearth and install a piece of stone or marble flush with the floor and the width of the brick wall. Take your fire-box down to the floor level, then decide how much width it needs to balance. Not feeling that port-hole window, especially if you want to make your fire-box angular.
    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 3:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Hi Momsy. Yep we'll be painting walls, ceiling and beams. Likely something very light like a white or light gray. Floors will be hardwoods. The window will be updated at some point but probably not initially.
    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 3:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
HI -- That is a great looking room . I would say that the fireplace does need an update .BUT please don't paint the beams ! Paint the walls and the ceiling the same color but leave the beams . They are the rooms character . I think if you can restyle the fireplace by elongateting the fire box and cladding it in some more modern ledge stone or tiles that would make the room more to your taste. It might be better to remove all the old panelling and then paint the walls and the ceiling all the same . I think if you did the new ledge stone on the fireplace and then maybe do the whole fireplace wall with the stone and don't have a mantel but have a small console cabinet on each side or free standing bookcases . Then have lamps and mirrors etc. for decor. Also remove that block hearth base and have nothing or have a new hearth base built right across that whole area.I prefer nothing.
    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 5:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Have you thought about white washing the brick and adding a shorter, but beefed up mantle?

Sometimes it is best to live with something for a while before you make changes. That is what I would do with the firebox. I would buy a heftier screen to hdisguise the size of the box until I had made a decision as to the best way to spend my money.

You could evenpaint a piece of plywood black and put it up to see how it would look if the firebox were larger.

You may enjoy seeing this: http://www.infarrantlycreative.net/2012/09/how-to-paint-a-brick-fireplace.html
1 Like    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 5:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
I agree with painting/white washing the brick but that won't make the opening look larger. It is out of scale/proportion. I can see molding around it: either square or rectangle, or curved to match the shape of the opening but either way pretty thick to enlarge the appearance. And maybe set the molding a distance away from the opening.

If you paint the rest of the room all a light color, you could make it modern looking with chrome or steel surround instead of molding. The round window could be treated as a porthole. It would add a bit of whimsy and you wouldn't have to remove it.

Looking at the picture again, I think I'd remove the mantel and put a really big piece of art on the brick. We found vines in the woods that we wound into a huge wreath and put on the stone chimney. Some really funky art would be very edgy especially if you go modern.
    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 7:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
I have a similar dilemma and we are considering covering most of the fireplace with board and batten pained white, have a look at some pictures
    Bookmark   January 29, 2015 at 10:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Dar Eckert
old post
    Bookmark   January 29, 2015 at 11:49AM
Sign Up to comment
Related Discussions
Need help updating a full brick wall fireplace
We recently bought this 80's decorated home and want...
Update exterior, possibly paint brick exterior
We are doing some much need refreshing to this property....
Updating a brick fireplace
I would like to update or reface my boring 1970's brick...
How can we update this painted brick fireplace?
My mom removed the dark wood paneling in the family...
More Discussions
Will adding a 4 inch piece of molding above to the...
please help complete my lr/dr
just painted my dark lr/dr with a light color. Have...
Do you have a safe in your house?
Do you keep a safe in your home for storing valuables?...
Emily Hurley
Tell us: What would you hide in your Secret Room?
More and more often, we see photos on Houzz of secret...
Emily Hurley
A Hare-y bedroom
Im about to embark on designing this bedroom. I have...
People viewed this after searching for:
The content on this page is provided by Houzz and is subject to the Houzz terms of use, copyright and privacy policy.
Copyright claims: contact the Houzz designated agent.