I have a huge horrible fireplace
L D
July 11, 2013 in Design Dilemma
I have a fireplace that takes up a whole wall of my living room and I hate it. It is not a functioning fireplace because of a drafting issue so until I place a gas insert I can't even do anything with it. We have a casual ocean theme as we live about a mile from the beach in New England. Please help! I have considered painting it, tiling it, etc.
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Ben Q
Wow. At least tear down the left side and get some built in storage. But ideally tear down all the brick and fabricate a more sleek modern mantel to match the coastal theme. Hearth could be a clean dark marble or granite or tile.
1 Like   Thanked by L D    July 11, 2013 at 7:24AM
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felixgrantham
Consider your floor. Get some bids before your pull out your sledge hammer & crow bar. It's very weird how the brick hearth is not centered & steps down just one brick level. If you're on a budget, you could add a row of brick & paint the whole bench & right side of FP, then tear out left side bricks & have some nice built-ins installed. Funny little carriage light on the right isn't working for me, either.
   Thanked by L D    July 11, 2013 at 7:33AM
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felixgrantham
I meant add a row of brick to the left to even out height of the bench
1 Like   Thanked by L D    July 11, 2013 at 7:34AM
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Margo
Whitewash it, spray the metal pewter, add a driftwood mantel- could be beautiful :)


15 Likes   Thanked by L D    July 11, 2013 at 7:35AM
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PRO
Terracegallery
I like Margo's idea A LOT....then add some ocean themed art and knick knacks....can look stunning!
http://fineartamerica.com/featured/tropical-fish-sharon-cummings.html
4 Likes   Thanked by L D    July 11, 2013 at 7:39AM
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Ben Q
It depends on the purpose of the room and the budget. Instead of evening out the bricks, taking them away on the left leaves room for a wet or dry bar or wine cabinets if this is a social room. Eventually an upgraded fireplace would finish it off. Also if you don't use the fireplace then it may help to close the flu and just remove the old brass facing. Just place decorative logs painted white, repaint the log stand with high heat black paint, and it would make a nice contrast. But yes, measure to make sure builtins or cabinets will reach out over the empty flooring space youll have after the brick is gone.
   Thanked by L D    July 11, 2013 at 7:42AM
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2taniya
Personally I like painted brick. If budget is a consideration, I would go the cheap route first and paint the brick to coordinate with the room or the colors you plan to use in there. Not sure I would paint the mantel as it looks rough and probably has a stain and shine treatment on it so may not paint well. The coastal theme will be easy to pull off with nets and glass bouys arranged across the brick or other nautical items like oars, paddles, skim boards or surf boards, water skis, an old ship steering wheel, port hole mirror, etc. Thos things would be big enough to cover the brick after you paint it.

It's relation to the room is a bit of a challenge...I might put several chairs in front of it and concentrate the majority of furniture into the bay window area and arrange it to look outside.

The hole intended for wood storage could be filled with a big arrangement of cat tails in a vase or marsh grass or collected driftwood stood upright in a vase or basket...maybe even a lobster trap on it's side.
3 Likes   Thanked by L D    July 11, 2013 at 7:42AM
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Dar Eckert
I agree, the first thing I would try is painting it but not the mantle. I like the idea of driftwood stacked in the wood box and also in the fireplace. Do paint the doors as Margo suggested.
2 Likes   Thanked by L D    July 11, 2013 at 8:01AM
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kitkatlang
My girlfriend had a huge ugly wall of brick fireplace in her house and painted it a creamy white...went from vomit-inducing to gorgeous! The wood mantle would look better in a more natural finish; maybe strip the varnish off and sand it a bit? I like the idea of using the wood storage for something decorative and there are lots of cool nautical themed light fixtures to replace the ones in the corners. Spray painting the metal around firebox would be nice too if you don't care for the brassy look. Invest a little time and a couple hundred bucks and this room could end up being your favorite! I hope you'll repost and show us how it all turns out. Good luck from a fellow New Englander.
3 Likes   Thanked by L D    July 11, 2013 at 8:10AM
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mollyfrankie
Paint it for sure and driftwood the mantle in some fashion. You could work magic on the one you have if the budget is a concern or you could hit up some architectural salvage yards for a cool old piece. Margo is spot on with her comments.
2 Likes   Thanked by L D    July 11, 2013 at 8:19AM
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PRO
Everything Beautiful Home Designs LLC
There are other options to painting brick . If you want the beach feeling just sheet rock over the fire place . Faux finish with a sand dune color. Add real driftwood to the mantel decorate with light blues, yellows and some seashells at the base . take some thick rope used at piers and frame the fire place . Paint the remaining room with some of the colors off your new fire place pallet. Fire place gone with new fresh clean look.
   Thanked by L D    July 11, 2013 at 8:23AM
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mollyfrankie
Why go to the expense and time to sheet rock then faux paint when simply painting the brick will give you genuine (not faux) texturing and visual interest that is more realistic. In other words leaving the brick exposed is real, 3-D, and a genuine finish at a fraction of the cost. If it's whitewashed the brick will appear old -reminiscent of an old brick building or street.
1 Like   Thanked by L D    July 11, 2013 at 8:37AM
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Ben Q
Molly because painted brick has a certain old world look that doesnt solve all problems. If you are looking for a clean coastal cottage look then painted brick might not do the trick. Painted brick is fine, but not a fix-all. You can certainly paint first and wall over if it turns out bad.
1 Like   Thanked by L D    July 11, 2013 at 8:41AM
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Margo
More options- How about a compromise? recycled wood and whitewashed brick, spray the fireplace metal stainless, and add a blue glass mantel... I can see it now!


1 Like   Thanked by L D    July 11, 2013 at 8:51AM
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Everything Beautiful Home Designs LLC
Thank you Ben Q . I am not sure but there aren't many brick buildings on beaches .There is a place for this but not modern coastal. Besides the real drift wood will give it dimension, texture and you can bring the beach home .
   Thanked by L D    July 11, 2013 at 8:58AM
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mollyfrankie
True Ben. Really depends on if she wants a rustic cape cod sort of beach look or a more clean contemporary Malibu kind of beach look. Sheet-rocking and simple white or grey paint with a simple wood mantle would fit the contemporary look. Painted brick or maybe Margo's recycled wood option would work better on a more rustic, vintage beach look.
1 Like   Thanked by L D    July 11, 2013 at 9:00AM
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Margo
I think the photo I posted above looks rustic contemporary.
2 Likes   Thanked by L D    July 11, 2013 at 9:02AM
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mollyfrankie
The Faux Paint is why I responded as I did earlier. I wouldn't faux paint anything if a clean contemporary look is what you're going for. If you start talking faux paint, then personally, I think it's always better to go with a genuine texturing as opposed to a faux one. At the end of the day, doesn't matter what any of us think. Homeowner can choose what she wants. :)
1 Like   Thanked by L D    July 11, 2013 at 9:02AM
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mollyfrankie
and i just re-read original post. She says casual new england. Painted brick. Grew up in Wilmington NC - beautiful old coastal town. Tons of painted brick 100-200 years old right on the waterfront. (Think Savannah) - it's timeless, charming, inviting and classic.
4 Likes   Thanked by L D    July 11, 2013 at 9:05AM
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sunbev
I would take down the mantel, paint the brick white wash, and where the firebox is I would do a built-in right on top of the existing brick (lower level) right up to the ceiling which could hold all kinds of beach collections and a space for a TV. All painted white and distressed will give you a great back drop and think about putting some mirrors on the back side of some of the shelves. Then add the driftwood mantel and a great big sailboat on the mantel. Go for it! Good luck and please post pics of after done.
1 Like   Thanked by L D    July 11, 2013 at 9:20AM
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Everything Beautiful Home Designs LLC
Assuming she decided to sell in 5 years and the new owner wants the original brick because its a 200 year old town, who has to remove the paint from the brick? The home owner? or the new owner ? how cost effective is it then to remove paint from such a large brick fire place as opposed to taking down sheet rock. inexpensive to paint now but very expensive to restore .Yes its all up to the home owner .
   Thanked by L D    July 11, 2013 at 9:27AM
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mollyfrankie
Anyone who would want that original brick look should have to pay more :) Besides it's not expensive to sand blast a small area like that. more messy than costly. That house and that brick is not old enough that anyone would want to salvage that brick. It looks like your standard 1970's red brick.
1 Like   Thanked by L D    July 11, 2013 at 9:51AM
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mollyfrankie
nice call sunbev!
   July 11, 2013 at 9:53AM
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L D
I am loving these ideas! I told my husband that a driftwood mantle would be amazing so I am so glad that many have also liked this idea. I also think a nice white paint would be ideal. I also need to get rid of that brass fireplace door! It is all rusted out anyhow. We have already bought new sconces for the room so those eagle lantern sconces are on their way out and we got these glass jar lights that are found on many boathouses. The brick was definitely a 1970's afterthought and was done poorly. We already paid a ton just to get the thing up to code because it is too large for the home and wasn't built correctly. If I could put a wrecking ball to it on my budget I would! And I would replace with with a wall of windows! I will keep evryone updated as I change it! Pleaes continue to add ideas. I SOO appreciate them. And yes my theme is a casual vintage seaside new england look. The house is a 1920s dutch colonial with an interior four square feel. I already have white pottery barn style slipcover twill couches in there and navy drapes with sailboat printed sheers on the windows and a light blue leather easy chair. There is a thin white bookcase a wall mounted TV on the left side, and a vintage dresser topped with sansevaria plants in terracotta pots to divide the space from the dining area in which the couch presses up against.
1 Like   July 11, 2013 at 10:11AM
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L D
I also love the reclaimed walls that or the compromise option proposed by Margo!
1 Like   July 11, 2013 at 10:14AM
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sunbev
Until you get your insert why not put a candelabra in the fireplace and a folding fireplace screen in front of the opening, cheap fix and would look good for now...Sounds like you are on your way, post more pics for everyone to give you any other ideas you may need.
   Thanked by L D    July 11, 2013 at 10:16AM
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symon
With thoughts of budget and a quick makeover : Wash brick, paint mantel, spray paint the brass black and search fire place screens in products, funky driftwood in the wood storage. If you find just the right way to embrace the brick, it could be visually revived on a serious budget.

[houzz=Stamford Living]

[houzz=Hollywood Chic Living Room]
3 Likes   Thanked by L D    July 11, 2013 at 10:29AM
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motownmom
LIndsay, it sounds like you are already on your way with what you described. I agree with painting the fireplace in a white tone, but if you are nervous about going all the way, a whitewash would be a place to start.

How high is the opening on the side? If your ceilings are 10 feet, it's about 4 ft tall, if they are 8 feet it's about 3 feet tall. I kind of like the idea above by BenQ, of using the area for a bar, but if you don't want to take the brick out, you could easily build or modify something to use as a bar. I've seen small wine bottle holders on wheels, with a bar on top............you can probably find something similar, remove the wheels and either buy it to fit or make one to fit. I think you'd want the top 1/3 of the opening available for glasses or bottles, or things like that. It could be painted to match the distressing or paint on the bricks. Even if you don't paint the entirety of the bricks white, I'd paint the inside of that white on the sides and back so it's not so dark.

It sounds like you've been through the ringer cost-wise and trouble-wise because of the fireplace. Maybe do something now, and plan for more money & work later?

I also like the idea of removing the finish on the wood mantel and making it look like driftwood. That wouldn't be hard. You'd probably want to use some grey paint, distress it after painting. If it were me, I'd buy a piece of small driftwood to use for inspiration.

Your furnishings sound perfect. I also have a coastal cottage type of living room, with a white soft sofa.

Good luck. Yes, definitely keep us posted!
1 Like   Thanked by L D    July 11, 2013 at 2:59PM
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jagood
Love the idea of white washing the brick, but please don't paint it a glossy, shiny white like I have seen a few times posted on Houzz. Whitewash - yes - would look fantastic. You could store wood in the wood bin even if you don't burn it - like cut up driftwood (debugged, of course). It would add to the feel that you have a natural wood burning fire even if it is a gas log.
1 Like   Thanked by L D    July 11, 2013 at 3:22PM
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Everything Beautiful Home Designs LLC
I have provided three renderings, because I believe in visualizing the project before its built, or crated .A white washed wall, a white painted wall ,and the faux finished wall .drawing on the rt is faux finished wall. Drawing on the bottom left is painted brick. and the last drawing below this one is white washed wall.
2 Likes   Thanked by L D    July 13, 2013 at 4:11PM
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Everything Beautiful Home Designs LLC
White washed wall did not load, here it is.
1 Like   Thanked by L D    July 13, 2013 at 4:16PM
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luxilove
Actually I LOVE this room, the fireplace can end up being a beautiful focal point. I agree that a light whitewash and a new or painted firebox would be the way to go!
1 Like   Thanked by L D    July 13, 2013 at 5:20PM
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Timeless Appeal
In the meantime, in the space for the wood put a big green plant like Boston fern. Take off the brass doors and buy large candles and stack in tree. I would paint the mantle either darker or lighter. It just blends no the brick.
1 Like   Thanked by L D    July 13, 2013 at 5:44PM
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saya85
Here's a curveball.... You could try something that's temporary and cheap without doing anything structural or changing the brick ... Why not do a whole walled curtain?


You could have it sheer and add down lighters behind it to give you the perception of windows and natural light (as you mentioned you wanted windows there)
1 Like   Thanked by L D    July 14, 2013 at 12:14PM
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saya85
Could look really fab


or then put a screen and other accessories in front of it that would give you the New England look
1 Like   Thanked by L D    July 14, 2013 at 12:15PM
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saya85
Although correct me if I'm
Wrong ( I'm from 'old' England :)) but isn't New England also about that tongue and groove panelling? Wouldn't a false timber wall suit the look and cover up the fireplace? Again without painting the bricks or changing it at all

2 Likes   Thanked by L D    July 14, 2013 at 12:19PM
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PRO
Tom Strott
I agree with Saya85, consider a vertical paneling, leaving a portion of the brick around the openings exposed and paint the paneling. Something like this treatment.
2 Likes   Thanked by L D    July 14, 2013 at 12:24PM
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saya85
And expose the driftwood mantel too :) and brick hearth if need be
1 Like   Thanked by L D    July 14, 2013 at 12:37PM
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PRO
MS Colours Inc
Do a smooth stone like finish and leave the driftwood mantle intact. I would contact an interior designer to help with the color. An excellent designer will save you from making a costly mistake in this situation. they will not only help with the design but should have qualified craftsmen to see the job through.
1 Like   Thanked by L D    July 14, 2013 at 4:20PM
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L D
Wow there are so many amazing ideas. Thank you so so much! I have to show all of these to my husband so we can decide but I am loving the whitewash ideas and the driftwood ideas so much!
   July 17, 2013 at 7:29AM
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Everything Beautiful Home Designs LLC
Your very welcome Thought the drawings would put it in perspective. You can look at pictures all day long but until you see a likeness in your space the question mark remains, would this really look good in my home? I hope they helped some. Now, with all the pro advise you can make a more definite decision.
1 Like   Thanked by L D    July 17, 2013 at 8:44AM
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rinqreation
Do you want to use it or not?
As in, it could be a nice space for custom built storage too..

How is the mantle beam attached?
Is it possible to take it down without damaging the rest too much?
Make a nice square niche from the arched one, slightly larger, tv on the top left maybe.

I really like the Hollywood whitewashed stone too.
Take off the stone row in front of the fireplace, add a stone 'sill' instead.
1 Like   Thanked by L D    July 17, 2013 at 1:08PM
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kitkatlang
Hey, fellow New Englander! What did you decide to do with your fireplace wall?
1 Like   Thanked by L D    December 11, 2013 at 4:27AM
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Frances Corwin
We whitewashed our fireplace & it is lovely ! Try to whitewash it 1st before anything else. It's cheap & easy . We left it so you can see grayish undertones through the brick . Go with acrylic based , not oil based & thin it with water , or paint it on thin with a sponge or rag next to you to wipe off excess. You do not want to cover it with a heavy thick coat .Leaving it with a whitewashed feeling , you'll see lots of undertones coming through .
2 Likes   December 11, 2013 at 5:08AM
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Sandra Ruiz_Rivera
I would paint the bricks or change them. Also put a Hugh TV on top of the fireplace and rearrange the furniture to give it more of a gathering place. Put some shelves on the other side for pictures and family keep sakes.
1 Like   December 11, 2013 at 5:25AM
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L D
I have updated it! Take a look!
   December 11, 2013 at 7:11AM
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L D
Here is the family for Thanksgiving!
   December 11, 2013 at 7:13AM
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L D
We also bought a tile to surround the fireplace. It is a talavera handpainted tile from directfrommexico.com and we got a glossy glass tile for the back of the wood insert to put up too!
   December 11, 2013 at 7:14AM
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Frances Corwin
Gorgeous !
   Thanked by L D    December 11, 2013 at 8:32AM
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kitkatlang
Very pretty...I love the creamy white paint with the wood. Thanks so much for posting the update!
   Thanked by L D    December 11, 2013 at 9:18AM
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L D
Yea it isn't quite done but we used masonry/brick indoor outdoor primer and masonry/brick paint in plain old white. Nothing fancy. I first brushed the whole thing down with wire brushes. I manually did in the grout and used the end of a power tool with a wire brush attachment for the rest. Then sprayed vinegar water on to wash off loose pieces. This eliminated MOST of the loose pieces but not all. So don't think you wont see those again. Then painted one coat of primer (in a few spots i touched it up a bit). Then 2 coats of white paint. I think I could've gotten away with one coat of the white non-primer if we didn't have water staining that turned areas yellowish. It doesn't take long it is just a lot of arm work so beware of a weak upper body. My arms ached! It was sooo worth it though! I can't wait to finish it off now that the tiles have arrived.
1 Like   December 11, 2013 at 12:06PM
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