What to do with off-center rustic fireplace?
Julie M
October 26, 2013 in Design Dilemma
Hi!
We just moved into a new house and are trying to figure out how to update the fireplace. The current style of the house is a bit too rustic for our tastes - our style is more transitional. This is a picture of the fireplace. We are planning on painting the walls a light taupe/greige and probably repainting all the wood trim white. The fireplace is off center, which makes it somewhat difficult to redesign. We cannot remove the stone around and on top of it. We're thinking of maybe covering the top part - above the mantle - with drywall and painting it a grayish-sage color to match the stone part on the bottom. Although I'm not sure how it will look with everything still being so off-center. We'd like to hang a large family photo over it, but then are not sure if we should center to the fireplace or to the mantle.
Any ideas for anything (from color to design) would be greatly appreciated!
~Julie
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PRO
A Kitchen That Works LLC
Cladding with a more contemporary tile over the whole hearth is an option, depending on budget. Whether you clad with tile or a combination of tile and sheet rock, you can alter the shape to your liking.
October 26, 2013 at 12:37pm      Thanked by Julie M
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libradesigneye
Julie, the wall tones and wood are perfectly keyed to the blue-green stones now - if you can't take them down / redo them (and I for one think they make the room interesting and personal) then reconsider the rest until you can. You are going to create more trouble by starting right in. The colors in this room are very transitional rather than rustic - almost craftsman. Craftsman is the epitome of transitional - then the fireplace becomes the object of interest - don't dumb this down, you have actually been handed an architectural gem - you don't want your house to look like everything else. You can do a really cool very modern house with this fireplace and trim and blue-green walls - really! Look at this fabric and see what I mean - http://208.17.83.65/product/designer+fabrics+for+the+home/shop+fabrics+by+color/orange/panama+wave+adobe.do
This fabric was meant for pillows in a room like this.
Or this rug - works in gray http://www.overstock.com/Home-Garden/Abstract-Grey-Multi-Area-Rug-710-x-1010/8075999/product.html?refccid=YXVNMWP6Q6DILZCPWVXDODVJ74&searchidx=234

If you are going to work with the stone, and obviously I think you ought to consider it because this is REAL stone - not the fake plant on stuff so many homes have now, and the floor and trim is perfectly keyed to it. The wall color on the back wall is really great - side wall accent not so much. Just think about it - you can do modern transitional style with a unique fireplace and get a much stronger result - playing against type - look at the catalogs of interesting rooms, they are really interesting because of the unique architectural features - you can change light fixtures and furnishings and get something great.
October 26, 2013 at 12:58pm        Thanked by Julie M
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R H Kitchen and Bath Ltd
Keep the fireplace as is. Center the family portrait with the mantel. The area to the right of the fireplace opening is meant to be for a rustic looking log rack.
October 26, 2013 at 1:07pm        Thanked by Julie M
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dclostboy
I like the fireplace stone...so much soothing, natural color to work with. One option would be to clad the bottom of the hearth in wood and have a chunkier shelf made out of the same wood for fitting over current mantel / shelf.
October 26, 2013 at 1:11pm     
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sstarr
The fireplace is by far the best feature of this room.
October 26, 2013 at 1:20pm        Thanked by Julie M
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HERE Design and Architecture
Personally, I would remove the fireplace surround entirely and start over if you can. It is a perfectly nice room that you can do anything you want with otherwise.
October 26, 2013 at 1:31pm     
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Julie M
Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. Do you think we could hang a family portrait over the fireplace if we leave it as is? Or would that not look right?
October 26, 2013 at 2:14pm   
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dclostboy
Portrait would look fine
October 26, 2013 at 2:21pm      Thanked by Julie M
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carolins
I wouldn't hang anything on that fireplace. If you can't redo the whole thing entirely, I would just leave it as it is. The stone is a feature in itself. Wouldn't cover it up.
Maybe you can hang your family portrait on another wall.
October 26, 2013 at 2:22pm        Thanked by Julie M
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HERE Design and Architecture
I would be sure that the portrait was not so large as to get close to the edges of the surround.
October 26, 2013 at 2:23pm      Thanked by Julie M
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Fred S
It's all about balancing out the space visually.
October 26, 2013 at 2:49pm        Thanked by Julie M
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regina5697
I agree with Fred. I nice stack of wood to the right... Not feeling such a big moosehead though. It competes with the fireplace for the focal point. I understand the point Fred is trying to make.
October 26, 2013 at 4:24pm        Thanked by Julie M
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dclostboy
Be kind to Bullwinkle
October 26, 2013 at 4:44pm     
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Fred S
Ha-ha. Just the first thing I put my hands on to visually balance it. Besides, moose heads are kind of an inside joke around here ;).
October 26, 2013 at 4:50pm     
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Fred S
I think I'll start putting pinball machines everywhere next ;).
October 26, 2013 at 4:53pm     
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HERE Design and Architecture
I feel like the moosehead is in keeping with the style of the fireplace, personally. ;)
October 26, 2013 at 4:53pm     
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dclostboy
@Fred. There's a time and place for everything ;)
October 26, 2013 at 4:55pm   
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Fred S
At least we're having fun :D
October 26, 2013 at 4:59pm     
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donaditore
Love Fred's vision! I love the large scale something (the moose is perfect!). I have a giraffe head similar to this moose, and it makes this rustic fireplace seem way more modern. I also happen to love that the fireplace is off center. Quirky.
October 26, 2013 at 5:00pm     
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Margo
Well, I for one am pro moose, perhaps one with just a bit more panache LOL Fred is a true visionary!! Testify!!

October 26, 2013 at 6:25pm     
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donaditore
You could even put the moose (or giraffe, or whatever, they sell these at Zgallerie) on the stone above the mantle. It would need to be a little smaller, but not much. Large scale would look great there. Fun project!
October 26, 2013 at 6:32pm     
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Nancy Travisinteriors
Like the ceramic animal heads. In white. Get a good size one.
October 26, 2013 at 6:59pm     
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HERE Design and Architecture
Hey, Fred S. - was at an art opening last night, saw this, and thought of you :)
October 27, 2013 at 11:03am     
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Fred S
LOL. Margo actually started the moose thing. She is always the instigator :D
October 27, 2013 at 11:11am     
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JudyG Designs



Drywall and paint it the same color as the abutting walls.
October 27, 2013 at 11:15am      Thanked by Julie M
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groveraxle
Sorry, but the moose head is just wrong. It's funny, but it's wrong. Nothing goes on the wall there. It stays empty. And no family portrait over the mantel, either. There are better ways to balance the wall.
October 27, 2013 at 11:22am        Thanked by Julie M
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Fred S
With nothing? Did your football team loose? Didn't have a dog to kick? :D
October 27, 2013 at 11:26am     
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Stephanie Freeman
i love that the fireplace is off center and the look of the stone. For me, the angled section of stone above the mantel, and the green walls, are making it feel dated. I would drywall over the top part and pick up a cream or gray paint color from the stone. A mixed array of big leaning frames/black & white family photos on the mantel would look great with the asymmetry. You could have your largest frame offset to the right to balance the firebox opening. Another consideration could be replacing the rough mantel stone with a wood in the same tone as the trim and doors. Very cool feature though - don't get rid of it altogether!
October 27, 2013 at 11:38am      Thanked by Julie M
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Fred S
The problem with drywall over the top of the stone is that it will stick out farther than the stone. While it may look good when you photo shop it, it will (in real life) be more bulky than the stone and make the whole thing look top heavy. It will never look like the inspiration photo posted. It will only look like someone drywalled over the stone. It is entirely backwards of what everyone is used to seeing and will always look odd.
October 27, 2013 at 11:49am        Thanked by Julie M
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APM architecture
Why can't you remove stone? I definitely would remove stone above mantle, I don't like the triangular shape. You could drywall and paint the same as the rest of the walls, and hang whatever you want above it. Leave below mantle as is. Good luck!
October 27, 2013 at 12:11pm      Thanked by Julie M
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Kenyon McIntyre Inc.
why not just plaster over the stone. and then you have a blank canvas.
October 27, 2013 at 12:26pm   
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Julie M
It's actually part of the fireplace - it goes out to the chimney. It's not just stone decoration on top of the wall. Removing it would be a huge project, which is why we're thinking of just covering it up.
October 27, 2013 at 12:27pm   
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groveraxle
A single tall sculpture on the mantel, a bucket of wood on the hearth, a fabulous chandelier, light neutral furniture.
October 27, 2013 at 12:43pm        Thanked by Julie M
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Kenyon McIntyre Inc.
yeah just plaster directly to the stone add in some foam mantels that can be plastered in as weel and then adhere wood to that. and use a color coat. done it before a couple of times.
October 27, 2013 at 12:43pm   
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groveraxle
Leave the stone. It's beautiful. But clean the sooty part right above the firebox.
October 27, 2013 at 12:45pm     
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Amy Cali
Any chance of enlarging the firebox? That and paint make quiet a difference. Your mantel decoration and personal taste in furnishings and accessories will bring this room into transitional style no problem.
October 27, 2013 at 12:51pm   
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Sustainable Dwellings
OMG! Margo is still trying to pawn off that crazy thing!
October 27, 2013 at 12:52pm     
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Amy Cali
A vertically orientated large rectangular mirror leaning on the mantel could lighting the heaviness of the stone a bit too.
October 27, 2013 at 1:08pm        Thanked by Julie M
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Margo
What is wrong with you people lol The moose is all the trending;)
October 27, 2013 at 1:17pm     
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Margo
I heard from a very reliable source that the latest trend will be subway tile( ceramic of course with white grout) moosehead backsplash motif for over the stove. You won't see a home without it.
October 27, 2013 at 1:21pm     
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HERE Design and Architecture
Julie - it would be pretty unusual to find a stone fireplace constructed in the last 50 years where the stone was structural. It may be real stone but is likely to be a veneer over framing or possibly over concrete masonry. The stone at the exterior would also be a veneer.
October 27, 2013 at 1:41pm     
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APM architecture
Ok, so not removing it then. I like the photo Iamjudy showed. I would furrout the stone above mantle, but make it square. Like I said, keep the stone below, it is nice and without the top part, would look modern. The color is up to you, I would go with a lighter color either warm or cool.
October 27, 2013 at 1:54pm     
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Fred S
The problem is that furring it out won't look anything like iamjudy's photo OR your photo shopped picture. Those have the top part IN-set from the stone. Furring it OUT would be the exact opposite.
October 27, 2013 at 2:04pm     
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groveraxle
If it were up to Margo, you'd have a moose head AND a leg lamp. Don't ask.
October 27, 2013 at 2:05pm     
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Margo
This will be trending this coming season;)

October 27, 2013 at 2:08pm     
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LB Interiors
I would leave it as is, It's a beautiful architectural feature and the focal point of the room. I would add a beefier mantle. Rustic (casual) or wood PAINTED (transitional) . I would add a light natural' large 'driftwood sculpture' (casual) on the stone above the mantle or 'painted driftwood sculpture' (transitional) for more of a focal. Nothing else on the walls around.

Something like this, but maybe not so tree-like

October 27, 2013 at 2:15pm     
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LB Interiors
Margo, here you go again, LOL
October 27, 2013 at 2:17pm     
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LB Interiors
Margo, this one's for you to add to your collection

October 27, 2013 at 2:21pm     
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Fred S
The leg almost matches the slant on the stone. If you put it on the mantle, everyone would walk around with their heads tilted slightly to the left :o
October 27, 2013 at 2:21pm     
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LB Interiors
Anymore suggestions for Julie M?
October 27, 2013 at 2:23pm   
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LB Interiors
I corrected above, the (transitional) meant PAINTED mantle and driftwood. OOOPS This decorating gets confusing. Vision and fingers get mixed up : )
October 27, 2013 at 2:27pm     
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Fred S
Somehow, that tree looks almost like a pair of antlers to me :) must be hunting season.
October 27, 2013 at 2:34pm     
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rosecottagehome
I hope you keep the stone as is, like the idea of a beefed up mantle, some wood logs beside and the driftwood thingy on the side of the mantle. Maybe the leg lamp on an end table : )
October 27, 2013 at 2:37pm     
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LB Interiors
@ Fred S, funny how our first perceptions can be so different : )
October 27, 2013 at 2:42pm     
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APM architecture
Fred, my image is showing the top drywalled piece OUT (see the shadow?) I think it could work fine. If you use 3/4" hat channels and 1/5" drywall, the top will only be 1.25" further out than the stone below, which I think is fine if the mantle is deep enough. maybe also replace mantle with a thick piece of wood that creates a bigger separation between top and bottom. If you really HATE the stone you have, you could drywall all of it, and just add a stone surround OR if your budget is larger, you can cover the whole thing with a stone of your liking.
October 27, 2013 at 2:46pm        Thanked by Julie M
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Sustainable Dwellings
LOL! I have a real steer head on the porch of my guest apartment in the horsebarn.. Now, if I had only saved a leg off a corpse for that lamp !!!
October 27, 2013 at 2:46pm     
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regina5697
Thank you, groveraxle! You hit what I envisioned in the head! NOT moosehead. Lol. I just want to go on record and say I love the white ceramic "taxidermy". I wish a had a place for one in my home. I might be able to clear some room for Margo's. ;-)
October 27, 2013 at 10:08pm     
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regina5697
...lol. Hit ON the head...
October 27, 2013 at 10:09pm     
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kathleen MK
I am living with an off center fireplace too. We center a painting over the fireplace and TRY to ignore that the fireplace is off center of the room. Good luck find a solution that doesn't add more problems.
Keeping the wall matching the major color in the stone will help camouflage it.
October 27, 2013 at 10:33pm   
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damjo
Get rid of the top part including the mantel. Put new 12x24 light colored tiles on the face and a solid grey quartz and it will look like it's meant to be of centered.
October 27, 2013 at 11:00pm   
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carolins
I think it was meant to be off centered anyway. Otherwise they wouldn't have built it like that ;-)

If it were up to Margo, people would have fun decorating and they would end up with a wonderful home. With or without moose head and/or leg lamp :-)
October 28, 2013 at 2:37am     
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Margo
I agree with Carolins;))))))))
October 28, 2013 at 5:48am     
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libradesigneye
julie bless you for letting us houzzers "moose" your room (regulars - henceforth this will be the new decorator slang for goose)! Groveraxle has illustrated what my words attempted - and hey, as dclb pointed out, there are so many gorgeous colors in that stone - Select a quiet neutral one that looks good with your upholstery tones, paint the room, invest your first $ in a fabulous modern light fixture and put your own stuff in it . . just add one (modern print with your colors and some blue green) pillow for now to repeat the tone . . . live with it a little while and then you will know what you want to do. . .
October 28, 2013 at 7:21am     
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