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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Fireplace redo

johnsonlkFebruary 5, 2013
Any ideas on how to update this fireplace. Can the wood be saved by painting or staining the rough cedar? Can the bricks look better? Ideas are appreciated. This is a small but sunny living room. Like neutral colors.
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I had a similar brick fireplace and I painted it to blend with the walls. I love it! I would go a bit darker on the wood. After living with it for 25 years I was sick of the rustic look!
1 Like    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 1:42PM
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JoAnn McDougall
I like this space.. I think it has such potential! I would sand and restain the wood.. build the shelving on both sides to match, with low voltage lighting. Paint the brick, or at least take a wire brush too it. I dislike the tv on the mantle.. if I had to leave it there, I'd mount it on the wall. I don't think it would take much to make this a warm living space. Like you, I like neutral colours, take pictures when you are done, I bet you'll make it fabulous!
1 Like    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 3:27PM
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stone of your choice up to cieling with wood mantle that looks like it just got carved from a tree and paint the panelling a soft vanilla white and match the bookshelf on the other side wich the shelves should also be white
1 Like    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 3:27PM
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I would white wash the wood and possibly the fireplace I'd try the wood first and see how the brick looks up against it. Maybe paint the mantle a darker colour if its too much white. I would put more substantial shelving flanking it though the shelving now seems too thin. If you dont want to replace the shelves you could always put a thick trim across the fronts to make them look thicker.
    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 3:36PM
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Dottie Sellick
here are some ideas
    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 3:43PM
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Dottie Sellick
try this- cheap
    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 3:45PM
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I would paint everything or white wash as suggested and I would remove the glass doors...it is such a nice big opening. Matching shelving on both sides and you could leave a cubby on the right side bottom for stacked fire logs. It is a great fireplace and hearth.
    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 3:48PM
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I would wire brush the bricks to clean it up, and change out the fireplace screen. I would build shelves into the cubby on the right side of the fireplace as well and then maybe enclose both sides with doors so that they're cabinets. I would paint the wood a creamy white and hang the tv on the wall, I would also get rid of the lamp and the vase and put something else up there on each side to balance it.
    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 3:51PM
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Take the glass off the front of the fireplace, repair shelves, take the TV off the mantle and move it to another wall and paint everything white.
    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 3:52PM
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Julie Kyriakaki
Different styles
1 Like    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 3:55PM
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Lori Barber
I have to admit I like the pic that Dottie Sellick just posted (the lower one with the detailed wood work and tile).

I think that the brickwork takes up a lot of your usable space in the room - if it was mine I'd want to take out the huge hearth area that runs from wall to wall and just have an area right in front to protect from sparks. This would open up your space and provide more room as well as remove that awkward brick staircase dilema.

I'd love to see that paneling come down from above the mantle and on the wall next to the staircase. I'd install cream colored shelving with cabinets at the bottom to both sides of the fireplace complete with built in lighting tucked into the shelves and perhaps some canister lights up near the ceiling in front of the shelves.

I'd relocate the television to another area where it is closer to eye level - no more neck strain and you'd get to use the mantle for some cool decorative pieces and have a place to hang a painting.

To bring it all together I'd add crown molding and tall baseboards in cream to match the shelves and cabinets.

I think your room has lots of potential.
    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 4:01PM
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Thomas Wakeman
Can you remove the brick plinth along the bottom? If not, maybe face the top of it with a dark wood or stone, with a white upstand, introduce a white painted surround up to the mantel, and a cupboard/drawers to the bottom of the shelves either side, and paint all the woodwork white. The TV would look 100% better if it was actually mounted to the wall, centred between the ceiling and the mantle.
    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 4:03PM
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Coates Design Architects Seattle
all the right elements are there..the bones are good but the materials are dated. I would recommend resurfacing all of the materials: honed tile or GFRC over the brick and 1/2" clear plywood over the paneling. better lighting would be a plus - replace the TV with a nice piece of art! =)
    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 4:08PM
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Paint the woodwork white. Keep the brick as is or paint cream. Stain the mantel dark brown, or keep as is if you paint the brick.
    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 4:09PM
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Our fireplace was very similar to this one. We covered the old bricks in travertine as well as the inside of the fireplace. We then stuccoed the top of the fireplace bricks and painted it black. We also painted the inside walls of the fireplace black. We added gas logs to complete the look. My husband built the mantle and we added a black marble top to complete the look. It is the centerpiece of the room. I would paint the wood to brighten the corner and perhaps find another place for the TV.
    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 4:10PM
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Do a grey wash brushed texture finish on your wood and white wash the brick..so some of the character remains in tack.
4 Likes    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 4:13PM
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Kristina DeLeo
i think it depends on budget & taste - neutral colors can be adapted to many different design genres. that said, here are my recs at 2 different budget points:

Sand & Paint all wood, then symmetrify (my own made-up word, but you get the idea) the shelving flanking the fireplace & add two sets of cabinet doors on either side to provide hidden storage.

If you have more modern leanings, I would paint the brick & wood in a dark slate gray - the back panels of the shelves could be lined with a vibrant wallpaper or painted a delicious light spa blue or spring green.

If you have more traditional tastes, scrub/wirebrush the brick then paint all the wood shelving a soft white.

The TV can be mounted above the fireplace & accompanying equipment can be stored on the shelving, or - better yet- store in one of the cabinets below (which can be set up with frames & speaker fabric instead of a center panel, so the components can "breathe").

There's an odd little gap between the adjacent staircase & the fireplace hearth, so given an option, I would tear out the ENTIRE brick facade and wood shelving/paneling.

Then I'd pick a beautiful tile or faux stone (I like Eldorado stone) & lay it floor to ceiling without a mantle shelf, mount the TV & build out simple shelves on either side of the fireplace, flush with the tile/stone treatment.

The base of the fireplace can be treated with tile or stone.

If there is spare wood floor planks, then those can be used to fill in the gaps to the right & left of the fireplace. If not, you can carry the tile/stone to either side for a cohesive treatment.

Good luck!!
    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 4:33PM
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Love some of the tiles above! It just depends on your budget. You can paint, here is an idea with only paint. Keep in mind this is just a sample idea, but hope it does help!
    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 5:12PM
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John Field
Here is my idea... wallpaper in the sides and paint white the panelling in the middle.

hope you like it as much as I did doing it.
    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 5:44PM
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Interiors International, Inc.
I had those same awful brick I hate them. There are a bunch of great ideas above. pick one you like that covers that brick. I tried there isn't anything that makes them look good.
    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 5:53PM
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Dave Albertson
Here is how we dealt with a similar space in our showroom:
4 Likes    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 6:53PM
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I would first remove the wall between fireplace and stairway to open it up.Then remove the bookshelves from the left side of the fireplace. Remove the paneling from the whole area...sheetrock. Then, paint the bricks, mantel and wall in the same light color. Build the large crown molding along the ceiling. Remove the tv and replace with artwork, perhaps a few bright accents of color.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 8:44PM
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There are lots of potential here. Depending on budget and taste, if funds/time are an issue, I would paint the wood panels and bricks all bright white and the mantle dark brown. I would also add 2 cabinets/bookshelves on each side of the fireplace to give more storage. this could be done in a weekend.
    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 8:45PM
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Hi. Whitewash fireplace with a wood colour complimentary to you existing decor.
See pics from a similar fireplace of before and after. The blog has a "how to". It's great! (I'm not in any way affiliated - I'm in Sydney!) Good Luck!!
3 Likes    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 9:46PM
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Oops! Here's the link.
    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 9:50PM
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A big thank you to everyone who has taken so much time to give their advice on my fireplace.

There were shelves on each side of this and doors on the bottom. My husband said I should have sent a picture of it before I took things apart. The bricks were wire brushed when it was built 34 years ago. We can't remove the glass doors because it would create a lot of heat loss living here in Wisconsin. We also can't add another top on the hearth because it would cover the vents under the glass doors.

Some of you made the suggestion that I would like and that is to remove the large wings of the hearth and resurface with a nice stone going to the ceiling but my husband is not agreeable to that option at this point.

A couple of questions:
Coates Design - what is GFRC?
Does anyone know of a good way to effectively stain/whitewash wood? We took a wood sample to Sherwin-Williams and the whitewash made the wood turn a pink color. Would I dilute a paint color?
Should the wood match my walls? I am considering using a soft yellow beige, Sherwin-Willilams Softer Tan SW 6141.

Thank you Mandy for the link to the white-washing brick. What color would I dilute to paint my brick though? Would I use my wall color on the wood and brick?

Re shelving: What thickness of shelving would look best?
Should they be recessed as in the past or the full depth so they are level with the brick and if they are that deep how do I address the items on such a deep shelving?

Thanks for all your help!
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 6:17AM
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From the tech side: mount the TV behind a vanishing TV mirror with a decorative frame and place the equipment in the lower space of the left cabinet hidden behind doors. Definitely add accent lighting!
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 10:59AM
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I do agree this space has a lot of potential and I agree with placing art above the fireplace. I think if you try a solution like TVCoverUps, you will get the best of both worlds. The room will have a new whole new feel to it-art will add to the decor in the room while the TV is off and then it will swing upward to reveal the TV hidden beneath. It comes in automatic and manual lifts and also allows for TV tilting hardware. It is always best to give us a call as each unit is custom to the viewer and room.
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 11:19AM
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Sounds like you are well on your way to getting a beautiful room!
Re the white wash colour... there are hundreds of whites, all with different base tints (pink, green, yellow, blue...). Go to the hardware store and get lots of white sample cards. Then compare against at your soft sage walls. It will become very clear what compliments and what clashes. Do it during the day, and at night. Once you've narrowed down to a couple. Purchase sample pots and test in a couple of spots. Test in a light area, and a shaded area. The mix will also make a difference (lighter 3:1 parts, medium 2:1). Test that too. Good Luck - can't wait to see the finished room.
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 12:42PM
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White washing is usually equal parts paint to water(depends on how much brick you still want showing) I found a blog here that might be helpful http://www.theyellowcapecod.com/2012/03/white-washed-brick-fireplacetutorial.html
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 5:50PM
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