Hideous fireplace
Helen Pengelly
November 26, 2013 in Design Dilemma
Any ideas for this monstrosity that I would like to turn into a built in entertainment unit instead. (We have another fireplace downstairs so we don't need it. And the other one is much better looking.)
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PRO
HERE Design and Architecture
Close the damper and have a piece of cabinetry built for in front of it.
November 26, 2013 at 7:30pm   
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sstarr
Looks like stone veneer or brickface (judging from the thin pieces on the sides), which has been painted over. The hearth appears to be perhaps plywood with stone tile, poorly applied. I would demolish the exterior and replace it with more attractive material (smooth stucco or metal face). Redo the hearth to be straight, square angles. Use a new insert for the fireplace.
November 26, 2013 at 7:43pm   
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sstarr
Here's a view of the removed stone and insert. Not that you have to do it this way, but to give you the idea of how you could simplify the appearance of the room.
November 26, 2013 at 8:12pm   
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Lizabeth
Since you want a built in entertainment you may just want to demo first. Does this unit share a chimney with the one in the basement? If you don't have to keep the chimney I would take it all out and start from scratch. It is really taking up a lot of space now.
November 26, 2013 at 8:19pm     
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carollynn56
Have you thought or need to think about this area as a heat souce to heat your home? My son put a lovely woodburning stove in his living room. His home is in Pennsylvania and he has oil heat. He used the stove all winter and used less than 1 tank of oil. His flat screen is above the mantle. Can't tell from the pictures but does this space open on each side? If so there are great double open gas fireplaces with one fixture and beautiful glass fronts for both sides. Why do you need an entertainment center with all of the technology?
November 26, 2013 at 8:49pm   
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Helen Pengelly
The fireplace does not open n both sides ie in living room & dining room. The rock is what they call cultured stone. It has never been painted. The hearth is solid cantilevered cement & full of rebar. The chimney is shared with the basement fireplace. We want to cover it over because demo would be very costly. And why do I want an entertainment unit. For the tv, Xbox, iMac, stereo, dvr, etc etc.
November 28, 2013 at 9:58pm   
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Helen Pengelly
Oh and I missed no we don't edit as a heat source. When we first moved in we used it that winter. Until we realized that all the heat it produced went upthechimney, not into the room.
November 28, 2013 at 10:00pm   
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Helen Pengelly
I've had several people suggest that painting it might help. Has anyone seen this sort ofthingdone? Worth the effort?
November 28, 2013 at 10:02pm   
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PRO
HERE Design and Architecture
I have seen rock walls painted and would personally never do it. It just emphasizes the texture.
November 28, 2013 at 11:18pm     
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Darzy
How about taking the hearth out and sheetrock over the rock and just making it a wall? More space for furniture too. Or, cover the wall in 3d panels.

November 28, 2013 at 11:41pm     
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jessegee
If you want a smooth surface for big wall art or mirror etc , then I'd skim it with plaster/board etc. Or if you like rustic, just lighten it up with lime mortar and paint wash to achieve a devon farmhouse look! I'd leave the vents and put something nice infront of it!
November 28, 2013 at 11:49pm   
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jessegee
Photos
November 29, 2013 at 12:19am   
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jessegee
or have some fun with plaster and cobbling
( I just lost the remainder of my street cred )
November 29, 2013 at 12:21am     
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PRO
Design Connection, Inc
I have tiled over more than on fireplace like the one you have you. It was worked out well. If your idea is an entertainment center than you can gut it and start all over. It is best to talk to a professional about the heat situation. Good luck.
November 29, 2013 at 12:28am   
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Lizabeth
Helen how high was the demo bid? Just curious because even though demo may be pricey I imagine buying or building the new entertainment center will be cost less if one does not have to do a work around the stone and hearth. There are several expansion mortars that can be used so that one does not need a jackhammer to break the concrete. I imagine the hauling and carting of the material dump fees could be spendy.
November 29, 2013 at 3:31pm   
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saratogaswizzlestick
If at all possible I would rip it out. It is huge and it is eating up valuable living space.
November 29, 2013 at 3:37pm     
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PRO
Sustainable Dwellings
I really don't think it is a monstrosity. Take the silly knick-knacks off the wall and mantle and put up some serious art. And, what on earth is that tile box in one of the pics???
November 29, 2013 at 3:42pm   
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Helen Pengelly
Really Sustainable Dwellings does insulting your clients personal possessions generally get you work?
December 1, 2013 at 8:51pm     
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Bonny Crawford
Would you consider using glass shelves, attached to the fireplace, at different levels to place your entertainment items on. and add books , plant etc for interest, this would be very functional while not adding as much bulk to the area. and continue to use your tapestry above it, or large candle holding sconces with mirrors or art. bkcrawford39@gmail.com
December 1, 2013 at 9:37pm   
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smartin1
I'm like you. I had brick on the fireplace that I hated and no money in the budget to tear it out and rebuild it. Here's the thing...paint is cheap. Much cheaper than demolition. And if it buys you a couple more years living with a "monstrosity", go for it!
I painted my brick and love it. Would it be what I would have done if I'd had another several thousand dollars lying around? Well, no, but it looks good enough to give me another couple of years with it and I can focus on putting my money in buying new windows.
December 1, 2013 at 9:43pm   
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Helen Pengelly
The stone in dining room and kitchen make no sense to me so I really want that gone. The fireplace facing the living room doesn't meet code and we don't need it to actually heat the room. In the 70’s when this house was built sunken living rooms and showy fireplaces were all the rage. I'm trying to imagine what glass shelves would look like and how they would attach.
December 1, 2013 at 9:48pm   
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smartin1



Painting the rock can actually help it look more like a design element and less like a "monstrosity". At very least, it might help it recede a little and not pull all the focus in both rooms.
December 1, 2013 at 9:49pm   
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Helen Pengelly
I should mention the quote to cover up the stone with fresh drywall in the dining room and kitchen was less than 1/3 of demo.
December 1, 2013 at 9:50pm     
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Helen Pengelly
So many people have mentioned painting that I am considering trying it on one side as an experiment.
December 1, 2013 at 9:51pm   
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smartin1



Another example. I wish I knew how to attach more than one picture at a time.
December 1, 2013 at 9:53pm   
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nwduck
Helen: There are always economical remedies to decorating dilemmas, I think. It seems to me Jessegee is on the right track with an economical kind of facelift. The furniture one can see in your photos is simple, rather casual country house. A whitewash treatment like she posted in the photos would certainly lighten up the stone. Since the mantel is relatively deep, would it be possible to put two shelving units on the the right hand side...one on the hearth right up to mantel height, and a second matching one sitting on the mantel up to the ceiling? If you painted the mantel and two shelving units it might help them blend together...like a soft white/gray/brown/driftwood. Two units seem like it would be enough to stash things, with the TV on the mantel above the fireplace. A friend of mine added an angled piece of molding along the mantel top, painted to match, and that's where they ran cords over to a similar shelving unit. You could take the existing doors off the fireplace, do an artful arrangement of white birch logs inside with a simple fireplace screen. The end piece between rooms could be left undecorated...just the stone as a texture in the room. On the dining room side, you could hang your tree picture on the now lightened stone, with the green oval platter on your shelving unit centered above it. You could beef up the heft of the shelves on the left hand side where your plates are displayed. You could add a shelf the length of the fireplace on that side (similar to running a mantel), but at the same height as the serving area under the display shelves. On that you could put the collection of stoneware pieces on the shelving unit now at the fireplace end.
December 1, 2013 at 10:00pm   
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Helen Pengelly
Nw duck & jessegee your suggestions are beginning to make some sense to me. Can mortar (lime) be skimmed over the stone to give n adobe texture? Would it stick to the cultured rock?
December 1, 2013 at 10:35pm   
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nwduck
Helen: We're all kind of guessing as to the style you like. Are you suggesting an adobe look because you are in the southwest? (Pardon my geographic assumptions!) Or are you thinking of trying to smooth out the stone texture in some way?
December 1, 2013 at 10:40pm   
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Helen Pengelly
I'm in British Columbia, Canada. And yes I was just trying to think of a smoother texture. Well if I had my druthers just smooth.
December 1, 2013 at 10:53pm   
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nwduck
If you want smooth, and in reading back, the sheetrock over stone was your least expensive option. If you really hate it, it might really be worth the cost. Doing an overcoat that looks professionally done will, I feel, cost much more than a sheetrock overlay. Before you take on doing a stone painting project yourself, perhaps you could seek a decorative painter's price and advice for the stone. We always tend to think these kinds of "artistic" services are more expensive than they may be...and the outcome is better than we might achieve. In truth, I was thinking this texture in both rooms could be a special feature....even if you did something like just a single open back shelf snug under the mantel on the right, the stone could be an interesting back texture to the black tech units you want to house.
December 1, 2013 at 11:18pm   
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smartin1
On the brick, it looks more gray. On the wall, more tan. Is it the reflection of the brown around it?
December 2, 2013 at 6:47am   
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smartin1
Well, that wasn't supposed to land in this conversation. That's what happens when I try to walk and post at the same time.
December 2, 2013 at 6:49am     
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PRO
360 Design
Helen we are your Orlando Source for 3D walls, please review our page.
December 2, 2013 at 6:52am   
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PRO
Franks Home Maintenance
Two questions, one, are the upstairs and downstairs fireplace connected on the same chimney, second, what is your budget.
December 2, 2013 at 6:56am   
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PRO
ErthCOVERINGS
ErthCOVERINGS Stone Veneers would be perfect for you. The veneers can go right over your existing unit, without eating up to much space since this looks to be a big part of the room. www.erthcoverings.com
December 2, 2013 at 7:32am   
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Helen Pengelly
Yes the two fireplaces share the chimney. 3k is all I really want to put into this at the most. I still have flooring in both living rooms and a deck to resurface.
December 2, 2013 at 8:11am   
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Helen Pengelly
Turns out they don't share a chimney. The mason who came today says they are offset from each other. The pipe for the basement fireplace runs between the upstairs fireplace and it's wood box. He estimated 16 - 24 man hours at $40/ hour just to remove the hearth
December 2, 2013 at 12:24pm   
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Helen Pengelly
But if I remove the hearth and then frame & drywall I lose the least amount of space and have the most versatility.
December 2, 2013 at 12:26pm   
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Helen Pengelly
He had 2 ideas. Remove the hearth and then frame over the rock and drywall which will give us fresh smooth walls. Or frame over the hearth and then step back to the rock with the framing. Saves removing the hearth but gives a large hearth like presence at the foot of the wall.
December 2, 2013 at 12:55pm   
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PRO
Franks Home Maintenance
If you want to turn it into an entertainment center, use the hearth as the foot print for the new shelving, etc. We did one similar, but with no hearth. Is this kind of what you want?
December 2, 2013 at 1:57pm   
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PRO
Franks Home Maintenance
or do you want a flat wall with tv like this?
December 2, 2013 at 1:59pm     
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Helen Pengelly
I'm leaning more and more towards plain wall
December 2, 2013 at 8:43pm   
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Greg
Changing the stone veneer along with the mantel could make a huge difference. #jmkarchitects.com
December 3, 2013 at 9:46am   
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Helen Pengelly
Ok time for the reveal...
All the photos were taken at a similar time of day, evening with the house lights on. The darkness of the wall apparently sucked all the light out of the rooms as well!
April 12, 2014 at 11:51am   
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Helen Pengelly
I went with the guy who suggested just drywalling over it obviously. Remember the guy who estimated 16-24 man hours just to remove the hearth? My contractor got it ouT with 2 jackhammers in just under 4 hours the first day.. Total 8 man hours. The strapping over the rock was 1x2 shimmed as needed. Hearth out to drywall painted was about 6 working days. I added having the kitchen and the rest of the dining room repainted since they were there. $3,500 all in including tax. We also removed the old wall to wall carpet and put laminate in the living room ourselves.
April 12, 2014 at 12:00pm   
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Helen Pengelly
Oh and last comment. A crack in the chimney was discovered in the process making both fireplaces obsolete. So I had an electric point added to the fireplace cavity in the basement and put a new electric insert one in.
April 12, 2014 at 12:15pm     
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Katie Gooding
That stinks. I'm curious though, could they not have put a liner in the chimney to correct the crack? I've had that done before when there are broken tiles in a chimney, but maybe that's a different situation,
April 12, 2014 at 7:50pm   
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Helen Pengelly
We just didn't want the upstairs fireplace at all and the crack in the basement was in the firebox itself.
April 14, 2014 at 8:33am   
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