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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Ugly Fireplace

pds290January 14, 2013
I have a stone fireplace in my bedroom with a wood stove installed in it. I rarely use the wood stove because it is very hard to light. It doesn't add much to the ambience of the room because the window in the stove door is too small to see the fire and it makes the room too hot for comfortable sleeping. Worse, the fireplace is ugly. The stone work is lousy with great swaths of cement in between the stones. I'm trying to decide what to do. I've considered chipping enough stone away to be able to cover the stone with something simpler.l. Another possibility is to try to hammer out the stone altogether and make more space in the bedroom, but that may be more of a project than I should tackle without knowing the possible problems I could run into (not to mention the strenuous nature of the challenge!) I could return to a fireplace with no stove, or put in a different insert that would allow me to see the fire better. These thoughts come as part of a broader project, as I am in the process of whitewashing the pine paneling in the room, which will certainly influence design decisions I make for the fireplace. Any thoughts or advice (design or technical) would be appreciated! All of this comes with budget considerations, as I don't have much to spend on the project so would like to do as much of it myself as possible.
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C Wright Design
Hi there! I would begin by removing the insert. Next, if you could send on pictures of the color and look of the whitewashed pine I think we could all help you with some great ideas. Do I see water damage on the pine above the mantle? If so, be sure to deal with that issue before whitewashing that area. Good luck!
    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 8:52PM
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Try this: remove the stove. If you miss it, hook it up again. That may solve your whole dilemma. Also, as it is nice to have that fireplace in the bedroom, see about letting it remain. You have a ton of work if you try to knock this whole thing out, or even just to chip at the stone. Make the best of what you have. I quite like the natural stone. For color, or a definite change though, what about painting the stones? You could take the color up the wood paneling there and increase the height of the whole area. People do that all the time. You could go cream or white since you are whitewashing the paneling elsewhere. Just some thoughts for you. All the best of luck in your project!
    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 8:58PM
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Kimberly Hogan_Castillo
Two fireplaces are better than one..Move the fireplace stove to another room that needs extra warmth..Your stone fireplace you can stain the cement to another color & the stone fireplace to use for wood or candles instead
    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 9:19PM
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Kimberly Hogan_Castillo
Add wood-shutters to window on the left
    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 9:20PM
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For safety's sake, I would consult a fireplace/chimney professional before making any changes. Venting the fire is important.

In terms of redoing the stone, you need more information. Find out if the stone is the facade or the structure. You might find it is fairly inexpensive to hire a pro to remove a stone facade. Then you can redo it with something you like and an insert you like.
    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 9:24PM
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MLB Design Group
I agree with others that you should take the iron stove out of this room. I used basic thinset (the same stuff you use to set tile) to cover up the rock on a fireplace. I mixed a couple of batches of this stuff, put on some gloves, and trowelled the stuff all over the stone, using my hands to press it in here and there. After it dried, I painted it an off-white Sherwin Williams color. Eventually I had one of my woodworker partners build a new mantle out of a fall-down tree. It was a relatively simple, and not terribly expensive fix that worked well in this simple ranch home. We thought the river rock stone was a bit "lodge-y" and wanted something simpler and more modern without having to rip everything out. I later saw a similar re-do at a restaurant where they mortared over a brick wall, then painted the whole thing a different color.
    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 9:52PM
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MLB Design Group
Here's how the fireplace and mantle looked at Christmas.
    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 9:58PM
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Here are a couple of photos of the walls I just finished whitewashing in the adjacent room.
    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 4:24AM
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