Home Renovation

More Fireplace Demo and Plans

I mentioned this on Friday, but we had to do a little more demo on the fireplace surround in the living room than we had originally planned to do.

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And by a little more, I mean the whole thing came down. Literally every brick and piece of faux stone:

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You might remember that I was hoping to have the firebox in here replaced with something a little bigger and that would reach all the way to the ground. I got a couple of bids for a new firebox and ultimately it just felt like a waste of money. So my new plan is to repurpose the existing box with a little paint and find some pretty, dark stone to surround it on all sides. In order to do that, we had to demo just a small row of stone to the right and the left of the firebox (only about six inches on either side). It was clear as soon as we took the jackhammer to the stone that the whole thing was not structurally sound enough to take the strategic demoing, so the whole facade had to come down. It was a big (heavy) mess.

Luckily my family came over and I bribed them with ice cream to help clean up the bricks. They’re like me and will do just about anything for a little bit of Blue Bell (have you tried their Peaches and Cream?!).  A few short hours later, we had a clean living room again, less one fire place facade.

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Saturday morning, Jason came over to start framing out the new surround.

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He used 2×6’s to build up the general frame and tomorrow we’re going to work on the details – the trim, the paneling, the mantel, the electrical work.

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Last night I woke up in the middle of the night, thinking about the fireplace and couldn’t go back to sleep (happens more than I’d like to admit, but I don’t mind – I’m so glad I still get a kick out of home design after all these years of day in and day out). So I plopped down in front of the fireplace in my pajamas, graph paper pad in hand and drew up some new sketches. The old glass doors were giving me the stink eye the whole time, so I pulled out my mini drill and took them both off.

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Ah!!! So much better!! Why had I waited so long?

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I was even happier with my middle-of-the-night-handiwork the next morning. Getting rid of those dated doors made a huge difference in the look of the old firebox. I’m planning for the whole fireplace area to be different shades of black and charcoal, so I think I’ll paint the brick black and that will help clean up the look even further.

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Also, I know some of you were really against the idea of hanging the TV above the fireplace, but we’re going for it. It’s what works for the room and for us, and I’m actually in a good place with the idea. I think my plan of making the whole fireplace surround shades of black will help to hide the presence of the TV when it’s not on.

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We’re going to have paneling above and to the sides of the TV box, so there will be a lot of dimensional depth to the surround. The firebox will have the stone surround like I mentioned before (basically all that space around the firebox inside that first square of wood). And then we’re going to do a chunky cast stone looking mantel which will take up most of the rest of the width of the surround.

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I’ve had this style of mantel in my brain when I imagined the room. Something very simple and modern.

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(Both of these images are from Veronica Swanson’s home feature in Harper’s Bazaar)

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But then I stumbled on this photo of a magazine in one of my many google searches and I forgot to save the source info. But I’m really loving the lines here and it might be better to do something a little more on the trad side of modern.

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Update: Thank you Jenn for the link to the original source (Canadian House and Home Princess Margaret Showhome). Check out those floors! That’s almost exactly what our library floors will look like – it’s a sign! :)

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Busy weekend! How was yours?

Join the Conversation

36 thoughts on “More Fireplace Demo and Plans

  1. Esther – thanks for the heads up! The fireplace guy we talked to said we would be fine with just a screen up, but I kept the doors just in case. It was really easy to get them out (sort of like putting in or taking out closet bifold doors), so if it proves to actually be an issue for us, I can just pop them back in before we use the fireplace. We likely won't use it more than a handful of times each year since it doesn't ever get crazy cold in the winters here.

    Thanks again for the input though! I'm so glad I didn't donate them on Saturday when the ReStore people came by!

  2. It is nice to get so caught up in design that you lose sleep over it. I've done that a lot, too.

    I really like the modern with the traditional spin mantel.

  3. I love the second fireplace surround option. It's still modern but references traditional design. I think it will blend nicely with the house and your style. Can't wait to see it done! What a big project!

  4. Jenny– I hope you didn't toss those fireplace doors just yet. I have the exact same fireplace set up, ugly doors and everything. I thought it was super romantic to have a fire burning during the winter… until smoke started filling my living room. Apparently those glass doors help the smoke draw up the chimney, and if you leave it open, the fire won't burn properly and smoke will fill the room. Maybe yours works differently, but you should check with a professional before getting rid of them (if you plan on actually using the fireplace). On the design aspect, you could always just spray paint the metal parts.

  5. Yes, to the combo fireplace surround–much more interesting, yet still clean-lined. I can't wait to see your finished product!

  6. Can't wait to see the after! What are you using in place of the glass fire screen? I have similar glass doors on mine, and I know I'll never be able to talk my husband out of not having the glass doors, as he says it helps with drafts, etc. Are there any stylish glass doors out there?

  7. Esther – thanks for the heads up! The fireplace guy we talked to said we would be fine with just a screen up, but I kept the doors just in case. It was really easy to get them out (sort of like putting in or taking out closet bifold doors), so if it proves to actually be an issue for us, I can just pop them back in before we use the fireplace. We likely won't use it more than a handful of times each year since it doesn't ever get crazy cold in the winters here.

    Thanks again for the input though! I'm so glad I didn't donate them on Saturday when the ReStore people came by!

  8. So much more fun to start with a blank slate! I'm sure what you end up doing will be amazing!

    I do like the second because it seems like it will be more versitile in the long run if tastes change or you want different looks.

    I'm thinking about hanging my TV over my fireplace too. It isn't my favorite design idea but it is just practical. The TV needs to be in there and having it be a part of the focal point of the room makes a lot more sense than having a big TV off to the side.

  9. I would have never thought to do this… however I will check back to see how it looks! Also, I like the idea of putting the TV on top of the fireplace because I do think it seems a lot more functional.


  10. I'm looking forward to seeing what you do here. We built a new home a few years ago, and when we chose a floor plan many of them had this floor to ceiling stone work and it intimidated me a bit. Would love to see your take on such a space!

  11. I'm so happy to see a professional interior designer who's willing to roll with putting a TV above the fireplace. That's by far the most practical spot for us too, as documented on my blog, but I've seen so many snarky posts deriding this practice. :) Sometimes practicality wins!

    I'm pinning your post to my TV Disguises board even though it's still in progress, because I want to come back and see what you do with it. We may copy you someday, haha.

  12. i love the look of that last fireplace surrounded with molding from Canadian house and home. i wasn't sure about the TV on top of the mantle, but it looks great in that photo and definitely sells the idea. Yours will look great too! I'm so excited to see how all of your projects around the house turn out. I'm absolutely hooked on your renovation updates! You've inspired me to do a small DIY update in my kitchen which will hopefully happen in November =)

  13. Are you going to paint the fireplace bricks within the opening of the fireplace? We wanted to do that with our gas fireplace and were told by the salesmen at the fireplace store not to do it. They said it shouldn't be done. Is it okay and what product do you use? Have you done it before?

  14. I admire your determination to just get up and do work! I don't usually have trouble sleeping, but I am someone who requires a lot of it to function. :)

    I REALLY love the last mantle option you showed. Pinned it immediately. It's classic in it's lines, but the size is fresh and clean.

    I am so excited for you to get to the more fun and decorative parts of these renos. I'm sure you are too. :) Have a great week, Jenny!

  15. Jenny – I'm SO glad you decided to hang the TV above the fireplace. I just don't get this hate for the TV – let's be real I'm one of those people who cannot live without my TV. That's what a living/family room is for – LIVING. I love watching my trash reality shows and watching movies on the weekend….what's so wrong with that?! =)

    We mounted our TV above our fireplace as well and painted the fireplace an extremely dark gray/black so that when the TV was on it would make the picture stand out. (And it does help to conceal it when it's off) Glad you decided to stay true to how you'll use the room!

  16. Long time reader, first time commenter… Just wanted to chime in that we hung our TV over our fireplace too! Splurged on a slim one, painted the walls black and it's hardly noticeable.

    It's wasn't my first choice, but our house is over 100 yrs old and TV placement just wasn't taken into consideration when they built. Before the TV was at a terrible angle where only 3 people could view, and the stand took up a nice size wall next to a built in book shelf. Now everyone can view it and we have a settee on that wall. The room looks so much better and is much more functional.

    I guess all my rambling is just to say I hate this idea the TV over the fireplace is a decorating faux pas. There are definite circumstances where it's simply the best option.

  17. Whoa, um yes, a little extra demo on that fireplace worked wonders! I think the non-stacked-stone will look so much more you. Can't wait to see it! I love hiding a TV myself (in our 1200 sq ft house it has its own room along with my husband's music equipment) so our living room doesn't center on it, but I totally get the necessity.

  18. Love the Princess Margaret show home's fireplace!! It suits the style of your home beautifully!! Thanks for sharing the latest – it's fun following your progress. We renovated last year and it's so nice to be done!!

  19. Redoing our fireplace is tops on my list for this year. Although we'll have to see if we're actually able to do it as I'm still recovering from sticker shock over the quote our mason gave us. We'll probably tackle a lot of the demo ourselves. Did you use anything in particular to take down your stone? We're thinking we'll need a small jackhammer for ours.

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