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Design Challenge - Family Room Fireplace
colleengarza
December 21, 2012 in Design Dilemma
Our fireplace is outdated and ugly. My husband loves the bricks, but I on the other-hand would like to put little sticks of dynamite on them to blow them up. We have been going back and forth on ideas for months, but can't seem to find a happy medium. Any advice?
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Natalie
Oh goodness, can I light the match??? :)
At the very least see if he'll be open to painting it for now until you two can agree on a new facade...
Pics for him to be inspired. Good Luck!
[houzz=Alterstudio][houzz=Hammett][houzz=][houzz=Danville Remodel]
December 21, 2012 at 12:22pm   
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colleengarza
Painting the fireplace is definitely an option. Now, we just need to pick a color. I like the grey, but don't know how it will match with the red and brown.
December 21, 2012 at 12:39pm   
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Natalie
Your furnishings are red and brown? A soft VERY pale sage/gray hue, or khaki looks great with red and brown. If you prefer warmer then a macadamia color might be favorable. If you want the FP to be a focal point, then paint it darker than your walls-the deep gray is great, but do check it with the brown before committing. Have fun...
[houzz=Fiorella Design][houzz=Interior Design - Residential Photography][houzz=marilza][houzz=House in Redding, Fairfield County, CT]
December 21, 2012 at 12:54pm   
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PRO
Frank Webb's Bath and Lighting Center
I would remove all the extra bricks on both sides of the fireplace and those wood cabinets, making it look like a standard fireplace, perhaps hang a flat screen TV over the fireplace if the room is used for watching TV and have bookshelves or storage cabinets put in on both sides to balance the space
December 21, 2012 at 1:09pm     
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Samantha Broxton
I agree it's the balance of the whole wall that's off. I'd get rid of all but the straight fireplace brick and those soffits as well then add some nice deep and tall cabinetry to each side to bring it all out to the same depth since the one side seems wider put the tv in there, paint the mantel area to match the walls and hang something there. If that corner of another room looking spot with the return in it could be moved then just single out the fireplace and open the whole wall up tv on one side and dry bar on the smaller side. Paint colors could so help the brick as well, if a dark red or chocolaty brown just on the brick would be too much with the furnishings then a nice taupe or beige for the brick and walls would be good.
December 21, 2012 at 2:17pm     
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Randy Christner
Tear it all out and send it to me.... I'll take it!!! LOL
December 21, 2012 at 3:05pm   
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PRO
Interiors International, Inc.
I agree with Frank Webb's Bath and Lighting Center. It is a good start and it won't cost you anything. This gives you time to consider a more permanent option.
December 21, 2012 at 3:09pm   
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charleee
I would stain the bricks a dark reddish brown, lose all the bricks to the left and right of the fireplace, remove the cabinet and add bookshelves on either side. Either mount your tv above, or artwork, or depending on the view, a mirror.
December 21, 2012 at 3:10pm   
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petalumamama
That wall seems way out of balance with what you have now....I say DO NOT PAINT THE BRICK but get rid of the brick around the pinky painted area and the tower of bricks on the left and leave the rest, The old bricks are so much nicer than new or painted bricks! Add a mantle and definately get rid of the oak cabinets on the one side. Once you do all that, you will have a cleaner slate to work with and then you can decide on wall color etc. and things will start falling into place. Good luck!!
December 21, 2012 at 3:11pm     
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Linda Anthony
If there is room, put the TV right over the FP like we see in most new homes that way your furniture placement would be simple.


This shows built-in on either side for balance and furniture placement...
December 21, 2012 at 3:15pm     
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kitasei
I know we see tvs over fireplaces all the time, but I have been told that it's terrible to subject a tv to the heat. Can we have some professional opinion about that option?
December 21, 2012 at 3:24pm   
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smasko
Being that your fireplace as it is right now is off center, bricks are not looking too good nothing is really right, therefore I wouldn't use it as a base to build off of. What I would do is knock everything out and look at sites with fireplaces and get ideas of stone, brick, mantles, etc...Get quotes from contractors or fireplace installation places and have the whole wall done the way you want. I would not try to make something out of what is existing now, because it will involve cost and a lot of work. Your fireplace is the focal point of the room and it should be done right and the way you want!!!
December 21, 2012 at 3:30pm     
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PRO
Main Line Kitchen Design
Frank's idea is a great simpler solution. It will balance the room and deemphasize the fireplace. But the brick work is poorly done and in the end it might cost the same or only a little more to take it all away and reuse the fireplace box and build a more traditional fireplace with a painted mantle with matching painted shelves and base cabinets below on both sides. All the wood work, moldings and shelves could be unfinished pine and painted to match the base painted cabinets . You would only be buying the base cabinets all the other materials would be very inexpensive. See my drawing below
December 21, 2012 at 3:43pm     
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PRO
Main Line Kitchen Design
Drawing
December 21, 2012 at 3:45pm   
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mskabialka
I would never put a TV above a fireplace - surely you would get terrible neck strain from always looking up! I agree that the stones on either side should go but it probably depends on your budget. Then again, dynamite might be the best option - start with a clean slate and put in something more contemporary.
December 21, 2012 at 3:48pm     
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PRO
EcoSmart Fire
You could certainly make use of that brick while going modern as well. Check out some of our Ideabooks for inspiration! http://www.houzz.com/projects/76780/With-Simplicity-Comes-Style
December 21, 2012 at 3:58pm   
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lyrics1967
One word....STUCCO
December 21, 2012 at 4:10pm   
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PRO
Interiors International, Inc.
NOT STUCCO!
December 21, 2012 at 4:13pm   
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lyrics1967
LOL Why? So many different stucco textures to choose from.
December 21, 2012 at 4:17pm   
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PRO
Main Line Kitchen Design
Pop corn ceiling too? Just kidding
December 21, 2012 at 4:18pm     
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lyrics1967
Only if it's buttered! :)
December 21, 2012 at 4:20pm     
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Linda Anthony
if some think putting the tv over the fp is a bad idea, there is certainly enough room to build it in to left of the fp once you make it look like a 'standard' fp and then furn placement will be quite easy. Would have room for storage of DVD's and other electronics as well. Have read the tv should be place so that the center of the tv is 44" from the floor for easy viewing.
December 21, 2012 at 4:28pm   
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Dianne_Covington Cousins
The wall is totally off balance. I would rip it all out, cabinets as well Make one clean wall with modern long horizontal fireplace
December 21, 2012 at 5:18pm     
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linderella
TV above the fireplace is a bad idea for a number of reasons. First, the angle to watch TV is very uncomfortable; secondly, the heat and electronics do not mix. I would suggest starting small on your project by removing the bricks on either side of the fireplace. It appears from your photo that the wall to the left is bare and available for TV placement. If so, then depending on your budget you could add attached shelves or curios on either side of the fireplace. The cut out above the fireplace should be the same color as the walls - I would add a decorative mirror to spot. Is the color on the walls new paint? If so, Once the extra brick is removed and the cut out above the f/p is painted, you will be able to see whether or not you can tolerate the existing brick. My guess is it would be an improvement to paint the brick white as it is very complimentary to the soft green paint. and your light carpeting. The only cost associated with this plan is for paint and addition of the shelves.
December 21, 2012 at 5:29pm   
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rosemeyer
We've had a 60" TV over our fireplace and never had an issue with heat. Nor with hurting our necks when viewing. Sitting in our chairs and on our couch, which are slightly leaned back, is actually very comfortable. I agree with all the comments for completing "gutting" the entire wall. good luck!
December 21, 2012 at 5:36pm     
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squirrelsincoconutbras
Rough idea, but I would do something like this for a quick fix.
December 21, 2012 at 5:56pm     
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PRO
Main Line Kitchen Design
Customers of ours that have put the TV over the fireplace have been happy and not complained of neck issues etc. Think of restaurants and bars where TV,s are so much higher. I'd prefer lower but it makes the room work better and look better due to symmetry. Having one focal point in the room makes traffic flow and furniture placement in a room usually work a lot better..
December 21, 2012 at 8:19pm     
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rtrulove
Sorry didn't read all the comments so I apologize if I am repeating! I say don't paint the brick but leave it just around the fireplace. Put in some sort of mantle (which you can paint a light color or stain) and rip out the brick over the fireplace, drywall and hang TV up there. I love the idea of adding built ins on either side. This is exactly how our living room is! Then you can hide all the TV components in the built ins :-)
December 21, 2012 at 8:30pm     
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roomi
Well without the green wall, the pink, the weird cupboard and the curtains there is potential. Because the fireplace side wall is quite thin it would be great to raise up the other side with matching bricks and create two lovely inglenooks with lovely rugs and cushions and mood/reading lighting and sit with one's back up against the warm brick walls reading something riveting. I think I would end up sleeping overnight.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inglenook
December 21, 2012 at 8:30pm   
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colleengarza
Wow...THANK YOU GUYS A MILLION for all the advice. I didn't expect to get so many ideas. I printed them out so my husband can reconsider having the bricks removed. Unfortunately, we just paid $10,000 on our floor, so we don't have the luxury to demolish the whole thing. The cabinets on the side sounds like a winner and we will definitely get rid of the row of bricks on the left. Will send pictures once it is finished. Thanks again
December 21, 2012 at 10:20pm     
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colleengarza
Wow...THANK YOU GUYS A MILLION for all the advice. I didn't expect to get so many ideas. I printed them out so my husband can reconsider having the bricks removed. Unfortunately, we just paid $10,000 on our floor, so we don't have the luxury to demolish the whole thing. The cabinets on the side sounds like a winner and we will definitely get rid of the row of bricks on the left. Will send pictures once it is finished. Thanks again :)
December 21, 2012 at 10:27pm   
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PRO
abodwell interior design- Brittney Fischbeck
I wold lower the cabinet so it's a base cabinet and put a top on it in mdf then paint the whole thing white. Of course if you can afford a whole new builtin, do it, and maybe even to the ceiling. I dont know if you need to put a tv in here but if so i would put it above the cabinet. I would plaster over the top half of the brick center smooth finish, and fill in that arch. I would then have a shallow mantel done that wraps on all 3 sides. good luck!
December 21, 2012 at 10:47pm   
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PRO
DESIGN COACH
Blow it up- start again....know what you want to do before you do. Hire a pro to at least give you advice...
December 22, 2012 at 7:23am     
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PRO
DESIGN COACH
If you can't afford to do remove it all- then why did you ask? Try and remove all the brick that you can including the step on the right. There may be something structural under it. So if you can't remove it, then paint it the same colour as the wall and maybe make it into a seat. Put a console or bench the same height as it on the other side. You need to balance it out. Reface the centre in a tile or something a little more modern and neutral if that is your taste.
You can hang a tv above if the fireplace is gas. A real wood fireplace over time will heat the tv up and make it wear faster. You won't notice it right away- it may take a while, but will shorten the life of your tv. Typically homeowners do patch up things before they get a big picture of the whole room. Now that you've done the floor your limited in what you can do. I hope next time you decide to renovate, you get a clear plan as to what you want to do before you get started. Thats really the best advice anyone can give. Its like driving somewhere- if you don't plan your route, it'll take you longer to get to your destination and will probably cost you more.
December 22, 2012 at 7:33am     
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kitasei
Thank you Design Coach for a clear answer re tv's over fireplaces. And your advice to consider all projects before starting one.
December 22, 2012 at 7:37am   
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smasko
Yes, I agree with Design Coach. I had suggested you knock everything out because the fireplace is the focal point of the room and needs to be done the way you want, and building off of the base you have right now, requires so much that you might as well start from scratch. I would still get estimates and see what it would cost, you might end up spending almost the same trying to build off what you have now. Another suggestion to save money, would be if you can demolish and remove the debris on your own, and then get quotes. Getting estimates saves you so much $$$ and allows you to get different ideas.
December 22, 2012 at 8:25am     
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