Help with updating fireplace

veradezineApril 2, 2013
We just purchased this house and am looking for ideas of redoing this dated fireplace that won't cost too much. I was thinking of painting it. Do I paint it out completely or paint like a white wash? Then what to do with wood panelling?
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Riddle Construction and Design
First thing I would do is de-clutter the area. You can white wash the brick as opposed to painting it, but before I would do that I would play around with the wood paneling, either painting it out our removing it. Once you paint the brick it's a done deal. It would lighten the room though.
1 Like    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 8:24AM
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Interiors International, Inc.
I really don't see the brick is the issue dating the room. Change out the sconces, new painting that is a bit larger and has a better looking frame. Clean up the clutter of plants and unneeded stuff.The fire screen should be replaced. The last thing I would consider would be painting the brick.
11 Likes    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 8:32AM
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Linda Buster
I think it's beautiful the way it is!
2 Likes    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 8:43AM
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Jennie Wilson
I would NEVER, NEVER paint brick. That is a dynamite wall you have there. The chevron wall panels are whats dating this room. Paint or remove. Sconces can be updated.
4 Likes    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 8:44AM
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I agree with handling the paneling first. The brick color is not offensive. I bet placing the right paint color adjacent to it will help reveal its beauty.

I think something also could be done with the sconces once the decor and accessories have been cleared. Pick lighting fixtures that work with the look of the house and the style you prefer.
4 Likes    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 8:46AM
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Hmm... I think the fireplace and the wood are a beautiful architectural element in your home and I wouldn't do anything to that. But you could consider updating your decoration. Do not just put things on shelves because there are shelves to put things on.
Your sconces, painting and decor are really the things that aren't the most modern and up-to-date.
3 Likes    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 8:50AM
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Susan Gahagan
You could reface the brick with cut stone facade.
1 Like    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 8:51AM
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Barbara Winokur
First off remove everything from the area and off the mantle, giving you a clean slate to clearly see the possibilities. I would not paint the brick, but would paint the mantle and fire place trim black. I might also paint the upstairs railing black too. Update your sconces and fireplace screen and add a large heavy framed mirror over the fireplace. Then step back and give thought to what accent pieces you could see put back. Less is more, good luck!
3 Likes    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 8:56AM
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Remove all decor and start fresh...paint out with transparent white wash stain all wood...change sconces to wall lanterns to keep the rustic look but update style...keep plants but group them together more in 2 or three locations out towards the sides of fireplace to anchor room... and change painting to larger one with fresh vibrant color...pick up on the color in painting and use large colored glass lidded urns and vases to decorate mantles!! Please don't paint out brick!!
    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 8:58AM
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I'm guessing we are looking at the last owners mls pic guys. I agree with ii that the brick isn't the first thing. I would still paint it because of its scale and dark redness. Big issue is wood on angle giving it a church feel. If you can, take the angled wood down but if you love it / cant tackle rework, then use a taupe white / ecru to wash one coat on the wood so warmth of grain and texture beyond just the angle reads thru. I would paint the brick sw naturel, a soft camel and gel stain the mantel and trim caps and railing above dark walnut. That will lighten and brighten the whole room and let the modern lines of this gem read thru. Paneling will still read darker than the fireplace when finished but very subtly in tone. Washing better than painting because that emphasizes only the joints more where the wash makes the entire grain show off - could be beautiful. Wood wont need any prep, grain will bleed through. Stay with warm neutrals so you don't get a cold feeling and punch up the contrast with the dark stained trim.
    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 8:58AM
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Elle R.
I might put a row of decorative tiles on the landing riser/ Or tile the entire wall around the opening with an interesting craftsman varigated solid color. Change out the Wood to Stone or marble.
1 Like    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 8:59AM
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Denise Murtha
I agree...declutter, change out artwork, change sconces, remove plants and stage the mantle. There are so many ways to stage a mantle. You definitely want to have some unique pieces, things with height and a theme of some sorts. That theme could be anything from A Shelf of Fame (pictures in frames, but different sizes, different frames, etc), Color Scheme, and the list goes on. You definitely want to stay away from the small stuff. Especially with the mantle above. The length and the space require more large and bold items. You have to decide how you want to balance. An informal way is to use the 1 and 3 rule which is 1 large item and 3 smaller but somehow related items. A more formal way would be to have pairings such as two of the same vases on either side. There are so many options. Using Houzz...type in Mantle Decor and you will see so many examples. I have attached a picture to see my own design style. Hopefully these tips will inspire.
1 Like    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 9:00AM
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Kelly Leurck
I would follow the vertical lines down to the hearth. In this area, I would apply a stone facade. I like stacked, but you may prefer a river rock application. On the two areas to the left and right of this, I would cover the brick and build two built in book cases finished in a color to compliment the other painted surfaces int he home. Where the current mantel is, I would install a substantial recycled beam, but only on the stone facade. As the area shows currently, it is very cluttered. I think with those updates, the paneling is fine.
    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 9:01AM
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Annette Lovelace
Level off the brick wall,remove the narrow area of brick(or make darker),sconces, greenery & picture. Put long narrow mirror above mantel(maybe shorten some) with portraits below,put in spot lighting,a large metal sculpture where upper brick is now, & put pads on wood storage to sit & enjoy fire or read a book.It is too cluttered & dark now.
    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 9:05AM
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Keane Interiors, LLC
The chevron wall paneling must be removed. Paint the brick ...keep it neutral, not bright or deep. Add a stone ledge mantel....this should be a hefty piece and deeper than the current mantel piece for sure! You will need to do the stone slabs above the wood storage areas as well or consider changing that entire area to stone facing if budget allows. You might have more wood storage than needed? If so, removing those cubbies would open up the area and you can have a nice long hearth with just one large copper pot (or baskets etc) for holding firewood. As far as accessories, you are "over-greened" and you have a lot of too-small pieces. The artwork piece can stay, but I would remove all the rest and consider some chunky hurricanes or a grouping of chunky pottery. LESS iS MORE.
Good Luck, Anne Keane, ASID
2 Likes    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 9:05AM
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highlandlass42 Moretti
I think you need to embrace the design in this case and really go with it!!! Declutter (like others have said) and get some black going on in the fireplace with the screen and the sconces. Also, I would get a much larger painting, one that is in the "portrait" layout instead of "landscape" that will stand tall in that space. Try not to clutter the area - its beautiful and can certainly stand on its own to make a huge statement in the room. The mantles could also be darkened so they are not matchy-matchy with the other wood in the room. I can just barely see the paddles of a ceiling fan up there, which I would also have changed out to something dark and more up to date. :) Can you post more pictures as you work on it please.
    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 9:13AM
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Linda Manning
De-clutter! There are just too many plants and knick-knacks sitting out. I agree with Barbara... less is more. Then I would paint the trim around the fireplace cream or light beige; paint or stain the loft trim a dark walnut and the inner rails cream. Definitely change the sconces. NEVER paint the brick. Change the fireplace screen and painting above. The painting is too distracting from the beauty of the wall.
    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 9:14AM
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Cheryl Fadden
The brick work is awesome, I wouldn't change that at others have said, I think the wood paneling is what is dating this room, plus decluttering would also help! Good luck!
2 Likes    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 9:22AM
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Silver Run Architects
We would never recommend painting brick. There's no going back, and brick is such a robust material. We like robust materials. The visual problems are three-fold. With the exception of the base of the hearth, all the brick is in the same plane, making it appear flat, unarticulated, and uninteresting. Second, the wood paneling is dated, as so many here have already said. Third, the brick appears to be thin rather than the solid, massive material that it is. This is because the surface of the wood paneling is recessed hardly an inch from the brick surface. Rule #26: Dissimilar materials should NEVER appear to be in the same plane. What we would recommend is removing the wood paneling, recessing the surface and installing with a new less-busy surface, if possible, and installing at least one horizontal line, if not two or more, with a beefy mantle. Heavier timber than currently used, all the way across, and don't interrupt the new horizontal lines with all the hanging plants.
4 Likes    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 9:27AM
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Eleven Fifty Eight Design
    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 9:47AM
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    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 10:19AM
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Style Compass
I feel your dilemma! There is way too much brick for the size of this fireplace...If this were my houzz-and I had the moolah I would begin by nicely asking my hubby to remove the the brick at least from the top shelf up, and whilst he's up there, remove the chevron patterned wood too. Then I would resurface that brick with a lighter coloured, stone front - there are so many great ones out there now!. If I didn't have the moolah, I would have to paint the remaining brick a a lighter natural shade - I am not a fan or dark or red brick and I honestly couldn't live with it. Removing all of the dated greenery and tchotckes, updating wall sconces and a stunning piece of art should do the trick!
    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 10:31AM
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Stamps Design Services
You need to ask yourself what it is that you do not like; is it the size or the material that bothers you? You also need to decide how much of the work you can handle on your own.... I would suggest you remove the wood paneling as a first step. If the red brick is what you dislike, perhaps you could remove all the brick and do stone or tile with or without a wood surround. Here are some you may prefer...
1 Like    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 10:35AM
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The Victorian Fireplace
there's really FAR too much there to truly be able to advise until the greenhouse is gone. I can tell there's some great built in wood storage areas, but I can't see if they meet the wall or exactly how the full fireplace looks because of all the obstructions.
    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 10:42AM
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Stamps Design Services
Here is a fireplace we removed and rebuilt on our own...
    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 10:44AM
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Patricia Pelgrims
Oh. My. Word !!! The wood paneling would drive me insane. What a very odd angle it has been placed.
I am so distracte dby it, in fact, I cannot give you any other advice at this stage but get rid of it.
    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 10:51AM
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This is going to be like spoffy. We definitely are going to have some fans who will follow this until you are done, so please share back what you do with pictures. Names anyone? Chap for the chapel effect?
I think the architecture of the brick is stunning, and would never rework the whole thing - that is what makes the house personal and unique. Lots of people can have other kinds of fireplaces, but only you can have this one. That doesn't mean it has to be a shrine to a brick that I may not want to design my color scheme around, or that makes my room too dark, or too red, etc. etc. For me, I think the material is too dark and would overpower even a good sized room so I'd paint as noted above. For you, it might be a great complement to your living room color palette, and then you should keep the brick tone.

If not, here's the link to the color I suggested for all the brick, masonry paint in the highest gloss they have and if you need to keep the wood on a slant, the kind of ecru white that would make a good wash but use a deeper gray on rest of room walls. Dark gel stain on all the remaining wood. The budget for sconces should be an art budget for sconces that are like metal art. I'll be back with ideas.
    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 11:11AM
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Charlotte Puglisi
Change painting for flat screen television and add colorful up lighting on mantel for dramatic effect at night. Add a dark colored foot stool to relax and enjoy fireplace and television. Hide wires on mantel and cover with available plants.
    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 11:12AM
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Really no doubt about focal point in this room I believe it would be well worth your time and effort to remove everything you do not like.Scale it down then re- face with stone or wood mantel cover.Stamps Design Services showed you some Great suggestion
    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 11:20AM
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Did a bit of visual decluttering. No more paneling, plants and whatnot. Did nothing with the railing. Just some paint on the mantel's woodwork and fireplace.
5 Likes    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 11:29AM
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another thought: if i had to do something i'd wash the brick with a cream colored paint so that some of the brick color showed through. I would hang a really overly ornate rectangular mirror 5'x3' and hang it vertically. the paneling I would paint a lighter version of the cream used to white wash the brick. I would change the sconces to something contemporary. totally remove everything else.
    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 11:33AM
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Other option might be covering the top half of the chimney.
3 Likes    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 11:37AM
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Robin Smallen
There's an awful lot of stuff there...I'd lose some stuff. New sconces and placed differently. Different doors/screen. Something about the color of the wood mantel and top of the log box bothers me. I'd change that color...maybe black???....and the size/heft of the mantle. That painting doesn't seem to really belong there either...both in size, color and subject matter.
    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 11:39AM
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Here's some amazing sconces - lots of metal tone options. This fireplace is worthy of hubbardton forge - 1 - 6 options all beautiful and worthy of our Chap.

Clearance to the overhang on the left means you might want to consider a big enough back plate to actually shift the left sconce to the right 8" and mirror that on right. HF is famous for makiing both right and left of most of the sconces that are not symmetrical, so your fireplace can remain symmetrical. Or forego the traditional wall sconce, and do something modern in a craftsman line - to echo the fireplace's nod to the past.
    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 11:39AM
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Lynne Gerwing
Declutter for sure - I love painted brick (for an inexpensive fix) - I'd get rid of the top "chimney" brick and remove the wooden mantles (all of them) and introduce a larger heavier one in reclaimed wood (stained a darker colour - maybe walnut) then drywalling over the upper part and painting the wall a greyish brown (chosen from one of the bricks) then ONE awesome piece of art or large mirror (framed in the same colour as the mantle) - hard work ahead but well worth it and UBER cost efficient!
    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 11:53AM
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Dixie Henrie
As someone who has moved into complete gut jobs and remodeled and beautified America way more than my fair share, I have to admit . . . this looks like a gut job to me. Not to mention the fact that your old chimney may need a lot of work to bring it up to code and make it safe/usable and efficient.
    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 11:59AM
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Change sconces, keep plants, remove knick-knacks. This is an awesome space.
    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 12:43PM
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Veronica Willer
You seem to love plants, how about a living wall?
1 Like    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 12:59PM
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One would need to look at the whole room indeed the whole house in order to make a decision about removing the architectural elements such as the paneling. One photo is like blinkers on. For sure the wall light fittings have to go since they complement nothing. The pictures the ornaments and even the style of plants is wrong. The plants seem to be growing well there though so there must be good light even a skylight. A Navajo blanket hung over the mantle and an elegant tall lamp on one end of the mantle would look better. I would even consider planter boxes suspended from those landings with long hanging succulents. I mean the kind of grey blue succulent which hangs in dead straight long strands kind of like plaits. I would feel the need to do something with that wonderful soaring space. This is the plant
1 Like    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 4:10PM
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Cam Ville
De-clutter. You have an outdated painting and some other older looking objects. Don't you dare paint that brick!
1 Like    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 4:15PM
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Eldonna Ruddock
I would dry wall over all of it right down to the mantle shelf. I would put stone over the brick.
    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 4:23PM
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can not understand why people here all have the urge to destroy these magnificent fireplaces!! sacrilidge! paint the oanelling, and work with things that are easy to change-
    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 4:25PM
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Thank you for all your wonderful comments . Greatly appreciated A lot of good ideas.
    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 5:28PM
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Step back and take a picture of the whole space. Hard to tell you what to do without seeing the space and how it relates to the fireplace.
    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 5:34PM
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@rinqreation thanks for that picture! It gave me a very clear view of how wonderful it will look with just painting the walls!
My husband is happy for that cuz he's against painting the brick.
    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 5:38PM
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When I first saw the picture I immediately saw Frank Lloyd Wright influence in the lines of the fireplace. I would remove the paneling and paint the wall. If you really like the look of wood, change it out with wide horizontal planks...I would go a bit darker than what you currently have and stain the mantel and the wood around the wood boxes the same color. Not too dark or you won't see it against the brick. Replace the fireplace doors. Change out the sconces a couple of craftsman lanterns with stained glass inserts (geometric design that would complement the fireplace). Stain the handrail and the wood trim on the bottom of the landing/loft and switch out the balusters maybe to wrought iron.
    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 6:05PM
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I can't tell what was done but I would think painting the wood in a color complementary with the fp would give it a certain kind of feeling rather than ripping it out because then it is kinda boring.
    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 6:21PM
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I would be tempted to remove that turned pine balustrade completely and replace with something a lot simpler. In saying that one would have to see more of the rest of the house and know what style the owners really want to predominate. Do the owners want to go down the country cottage rustic path or modern or Santa Fe. Are there any photos of what if anything was there before the paneling and the turned pine balustrade? What is behind the paneling? A wall or a cavity? For me gathering all the information is the first step.
    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 6:40PM
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I finally got to take a look at this today and one thing keeps calling out to me before anything else.... the actual fireplace itself! To be totally honest, I absolutely love LOVE design, passion for it that gives me goose bumps, but I don't have enough experience to know what can and can't be done on your own with ease, if it be done w/ ease, or how much something might cost if you can't do it on your own etc. I did see all the things with the wood and chimney up the center that I agree needs changing, but when I saw it I immediately felt the scale was off. It's like the fireplace is too small for such a grand wall and I keep seeing opening up the brick itself (wish I was techie and could draw it on the computer somehow). You could take brick out so it expands the size of the fireplace hole to a larger rectangle altogether. Like you would picture if walking into a gorgeous home/lodge in European mountains, where the fire is a big and open as if you could sit in it (obviously over exaggerating) but that idea to fit your space. The fire itself sits back inside and you already have the brick that comes out in front before the living area. If you expand the top to about two lines of bricks below the wood mantel you currently have and take the sides out to the left and right, it would be a true eye catcher! You can decide how far to take it sideways and how rectangular to make it, depending on the entire shape and size of wall/room. (It's hard to tell from the picture) I'm leaning more rectangle from what I see, closer to the front brick walls that hold the wood. After that the ideas I have depend on how you would answer certain questions about your own style, just to see if you like the wood railings for instance or want to go more modern (like the pics from @rinqreation...simply painting them), but I definitely have fun pictures forming in my head! The main one I wanted to share was the fireplace being a "wow" factor though :)... As soon as I see that I start seeing the rest begin to take shape so I better stop myself! LOL Whatever you choose to do have fun!
1 Like    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 12:10PM
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