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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Fireplace update

sshayFebruary 4, 2013
We need to update our 1962 fireplace before we install dark hickory wood floors throughout the downstairs in a couple of weeks. I'd like to remove the hearth to enlarge the narrow room. I'm thinking of facing it with wood and moldings, perhaps eliminating the steps above (where I normally have plants); stucco, with wood mantles; sheet rock textured mud with wood mantles; or simply painting it for now (and maybe adding a wood mantle later). We're using Benjamin Moore "Calm" throughout the house in our remodel, so plan to use that color. We have black accents throughout the house. I would use granite or tiles on the floor instead of the hearth, as well as on the face if the wood requires it.
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yes,i agree with changing,it would give the room more space and you can the really update the fireplace,i would take out the steps and use the bricks to brick up the other side
    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 4:14PM
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A Kitchen That Works LLC
Painting would be a cost effective solution. Remember to keep flammable materials well away from the opening of the fireplace. Therefore you might want to paint or tile around the opening and then add the wood mantle. Removing the hearth seat will definitely make the room more spacious but you may have a challenge demoing the hearth without damaging the face of the fireplace. It is kind of nice to be able to use this area as "extra" seating when you are entertaining or just for warming oneself in front of the fire.
    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 5:06PM
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Interiors International, Inc.
I truly feel for you. I had the same type in my home that burned 2 years ago. The positive thing I took away from the fire was I never had to see that fireplace again. I was told to tear it out before I did my remodel but didn't listen. I wish I had because I was stuck with it once the new floors and everything was done. Do yourself a big favor and tear it out before you do any improvements to the room.
PS: The fireplace is what caused my house to burn down so I am a bit biased against that style.
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 5:13PM
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My experience is that in a narrow room if you remove the hearth you have removed the only opportunity for seating on that side of the space - and I see your chair next to it now where it jogs back- it isn't as if you can add something in front of the fireplace when you remove the hearth, and you will then have to face the wall below - you'll end up refacing the entire fireplace, chimney and wall below with something you don't like as much as the brick.

Since this fireplace is mid-century modern and off center, removing the steps will only add to the imbalance above. I see that your accents are a little more traditional/transitional, and perhaps if by selecting one modern element (a bright accent toned of modern glass shape from home goods to echo your favorite accent color?) and feature it on one of the main steps then leave the mantel clean,you would love the finished look more. You could paint your finials in the same glossy tone to match below on the hearth and use the rest of the elements in another room. If you add a plant back, use a structural succulent instead of traditional trailing ivy.

If you will paint this out in a glossy creamy off-white then paint the walls a mid-tone, you can feature the architectural element. Since it is designed to be off-center, there is not a good way to ever make this a traditional fireplace. Painting all the masonry / staining it all so that you get a uniform color will be your best bet since then you can work with it and make it a feature that brings your room some instant style points.
    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 5:20PM
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Thank you all for taking the time to add some suggestions. We've proceeded with removing the hearth - came out with a chisel and hammer or heavier hammer in a few places - we were expecting a big deal, but it was something we could do ourselves. We will be facing the lower part of the brick wall (around the opening) with something code and resurfacing the upper part with wood and moldings, enclosing the upper steps. We've ordered some beautiful, simple 12 x 24 porcelain tiles that are actually commercial and look something like dark slate, only better and more practical, for the floor below the firebox. I'll post another picture after we finish.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 9:49PM
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Ironwood Builders
sshay, I just came over to this post...glad you are putting a fire resistive surround on the firebox...but most codes require a 16" deep hearth as well. I read, but wasn't sure...you started your demolition at the hearth...I hope you plan on replacing it, too!
    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 11:44PM
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how about changing it into a biofireplace, it can be wall- mounted, no chimney is needed...

Additional product features:
• Remote-controlled
• The device works with Smart Home system drivers
• Equipped with additional safety sensors:
- CO2 sensor
- Device temperature sensor
- Seismic sensor
• 4-stage flame size regulation
• Real fire with natural colour
• No soot, no smoke, odourless
• No special installation, connection or chimney required
• No installation costs, that occur with gas fireplaces
• No special building permits necessary
    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 4:01AM
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We have a propane starter in our wood-burning fireplace and plan to convert it to propane when we are older. We have property where we cut our wood from downed trees, etc. for now - we do enjoy a wood fire and live on the ocean, not in a valley where we need to be more conscious of wood smoke.

We are replacing the hearth with tile on the floor - and will face the inside and front up as far as we need to go before we later face the top with wood and moldings. I need to check the code around the firebox to see just how far up we have to go. We may be using slate to do this or possibly charcoal painted metal. We found a beautiful Italian Impervious Porcelain tile in the same color tones (12 x 24) to put on the floor, with our hardwood flooring going up to it with no transition strip.

Thank you for your input. I will be looking at Houzz ideabooks and photos to make my final plans! I love this site!
    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 11:46AM
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dont forget to send in a picture when you have finished!!!
    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 12:29PM
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Rita Henry
I would drywall over the top to hides those steps. Looks like a woodburning fireplace so at least 20" of non-combustible material required in TWO DIRECTIONS. Until you have the money to add a new firebox and remodel that wall, I would just eliminate the upper part.
    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 12:49PM
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Ooh, didn't think about drywall to the ceiling to the corner of the wall. We won't ever be adding a new firebox, so that might be good beside the brick wood-faced/with moldings fireplace with crown moldings around the mantle piece.

I will be sure to send a pix when we finish. Thanks to all for your ideas!
1 Like    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 5:35PM
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