kevlizvan
January 25, 2012 in Design Dilemma
We are looking for any ideas on how to resurface the brick fireplace, bring it up to date. We're going for a brighter contemporary look as well as hide all wires. We are thinking of putting a mantle around the off-center fireplace, then centering the TV over the mantle. Then wondering what to do with the right side so it doesn't look so unbalanced. Also, do we get rid of the bench? To the far right (past the brick) we are thinking of a cabinet of some sort to hide the electronics. Any thoughts or ideas would be greatly appreciated, thanks!
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Jamie Jay
you could take advantage of the asymmetry and build some cabinets on the right side and wrap it above the fireplace for the TV.


January 25, 2012 at 12:00PM   
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PRO
ToSa Design
When you refer to the "bench", do you mean the raised hearth? If so, I'd probably keep it as they are very functional and definitely nice to sit on whether setting up the wood for a fire or just sitting on to heat up your back. We had a fireplace similar once but with a flush hearth. I have attached a picture, not the best quality and dark. Basically we ended up painting the brick a dark charcoal grey. I took out the existing brick hearth and replaced with 2" thick slab of Tennessee Crab Orchard stone. Then got a piece for the mantel as well which we lagged bolts into one of the brick joints and made holes in the back of the mantel to act as concealed support. For the dead space to the right of the firebox you can find something to fill it i.e. wood log carrier, fireplace tools etc. Cabinet next to the fireplace sounds like a good idea. Anyway you could live with the TV off to the side in your cabinet area as opposed to on your fireplace? Would be nice just to have it clean above your mantel or a nice big piece of artwork. Forgot to mention that you could pretty easily pop off the top layer of brick on your raised hearth which then would allow you to put another kind of material there.
January 25, 2012 at 1:44PM   
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bepsf
This fireplace is perfectly suited to the style of your home - I would agree that cabinets built to the side that can accommodate your components would be a good idea as well as the TV itself...
...but leave the fireplace alone - Perhaps add a chunky wood mantel?
January 25, 2012 at 4:54PM   
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lefty47
First thing I would do is have your TV in a cabinet beside your fireplace. Have some nice marble or granite put on the bottom 3 rows of brick on the base of the Hearth and also on a mantel that is the width of the whole fireplace about 3 rows of brick above the fire box and that should be 3 rows of brick thick. Get a black fire screen and a log and tool holder for the right of the fire box. And that is all you should do to the fireplace . Add a big painting or round mirror almost resting on the mantel. The brick goes with the style of your home ( which looks like it's mid century ) and it's charming as is.
January 25, 2012 at 6:42PM   
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tropitango
We are also dealing with an asymmetrical fireplace, that had been previously painted white. Here is one that I like:

January 25, 2012 at 9:57PM   
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mmarder
Keep in mind that once you paint it, it's VERY DIFFICULT (if not impossible) to undo. We have a burnt adobe house in Tucson and when we bought the house the gorgeous wrap-around fireplace (three sides are exposed) had been painted white. We removed the paint with a needle scaler (hooked to a compressor) and an angle grinder, but it was the messiest project imaginable (i.e., you couldn't do it with furniture in the house, we had to wear respirators) and it took about 60 hours of labor. We are ecstatic with the results--and can't imagine why the former owners painted such a beautiful architectural feature of the house. So, although I can understand the desire to change things up, be warned: once you paint, it's extremely difficult to go back!
January 25, 2012 at 11:42PM     
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PRO
Marie Hebson's interiorsBYDESIGN Inc.
Hi kevlizvan, Marie here.
1.A more modern look is definitely to paint it out semi-gloss white, heat resistant paint (of course).
2. You could very easily install a cement board facade over the entire brick area, then tile/stone clad it. Easy to hide your TV wires in that. Definitely a lot more work, and more money. Easy to get back the brick though if you want.
3. Regarding your mantle, simply go with the flow, and create a mantle that starts in the middle of the firebox, and then wraps around the corner and into your built-in cabinetry. Have your millworker do up an elevation for you before proceeding. This will look stunning, and is very popular with modern spaces. You could add floating shelf underneath the mantle as well, play with the elevation, make sure it is exactly what you want, and it will have storage you need etc.
4. Best advice - don't rush - make sure you plan and lay everything out on paper, your design will succeed when your happy with the drawing!
January 26, 2012 at 12:02AM   
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PRO
ToSa Design
The brick left alone can never say contemporary. Plus it has uneven lime stains, maybe from being repointed at one point. Knowing what a pain it would be to remove paint once done, which was good to know how to, I'd still go the paint route as the least expensive and true to the house way to go. Everything will look clean and even. If you choose the wrong color you can always paint again.
January 26, 2012 at 3:51AM   
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lefty47
Sorry - bluewater7 Saying that the brick left alone can never say contemporary - is not so - the brick has been contemporary from day one . It's in a contemporay home. It has a beautiful character to it and gives the room texture. There are too many people painting everything these days and making every place look like the next. I would never paint this kind of fireplace - it was meant to look like that - it's not from pointing . I have been in lots of homes with this very same looking type of brick fireplace and they were all very contemporary homes . I would not call it an asymetrical fireplace it was made with the firebox on the one side on purpose - for the placement space of the wood and a toolset . I think it would be a big mistake to paint out the main character of the house. Enough with the cookie cutter designs ! Once painted - IT CAN NEVER GO BACK !
January 26, 2012 at 6:47AM   
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tammypoole
I agree that once painted, you pretty much have to stick with painted brick. Your brick could be cleaned, and with contemporary cabinetry, it would look nice. There are many stone/rock veneer options...visit your tile flooring store, mine has samples. Here is a fireplace that has a porcelain tile on it...

January 26, 2012 at 6:59AM     
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tammypoole
I'll post a few more pictures I found, then sign off! Good luck to you!

Penthouse Condo

my favorite is still this one, and could be your brick, as-is (keeps cost down) or could be veneered with a stone or tile or sheet rocked and textured...then have cabinetry built to accomodate the electronics.
Rocky River Living

This is similar, but a different fireplace:
Living Room
January 26, 2012 at 7:11AM   
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amaninsf
I actually like your fireplace a lot, but I can understand if you would like to change it to better suite what you are going for. I absolutely agree with the other posts - please don't paint! I have a thing for respecting the classic, original style. However, if you must change it, I would consider covering it with something else or replacing the brick all together. Question... does this brick match any brick on the exterior of the house? If so, I would definitely say leave it as is.
January 26, 2012 at 7:12AM   
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jpiven
I would simply get the brick steam washed to remove the staining and make it look uniform. Painted brick? Meh, no. Get rid of the TV or mount a nice wood panel on the brick, which you can then use to hold the TV and also hide the cord.

Shelves around a fireplace can be iffy, they can end up with soot stains. but I would frame the opening.
January 26, 2012 at 7:28AM   
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PRO
ToSa Design
Good point lefty47. My bad. Never say never. Maybe if the brick was washed to get some of the unevenness (white) out it would look, to me, less rustic which I thought that was the intention of OP. I am all for respecting the character of the house.
January 26, 2012 at 7:30AM   
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lefty47
OK - I'm sorry if I am going to sound like a broken record BUT - it does not need to be steam washed to get the uneveness out - It is not stained and the so called uneveness is the way it was intended to be . Why take the texture off and make it flat and lifeless . The only reason it looks "rustic "now is because it needs to be complimented with a modern mantel etc. I wish I had a way to show how I would add to it - then I think everyone would see what I mean. I would love to see more photos of the interior and even the exterior to get a better view of the architecture !
January 26, 2012 at 11:14AM   
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cungaro
If it were me, I'd resurface the whole thing in a ledgestone thin stone veneer (it is real stone, but sliced thin for applications like this). Put a nice piece of slate or limestone across the hearth. I'd put a wood mantel across the whole thing, center the tv above that. Stack logs in a contemporary looking wood holder on the bottom right part of the hearth to cover up the assymetrical part. I, too, had an old brick fireplace that I covered up with thin stone (not ledgestone, which I think looks more contemporary, but a standard irregular Bedford stone), and the whole thing cost about $3k for a professional, reputable mason to come do it. It was worth every penny, since we were staring at everyday for as long as we lived in the house. Picture below. Please ignore the child-proofing around the hearth!
January 26, 2012 at 11:23AM   
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jpiven
lefty47, my point was that the whiteness of the brick is mineralization, which is what happens to non-sealed brick over time (at least that's what it looks like in the photo, it could be white paint in spots). Steam cleaning would remove it; it will not change the contours of the wall, Obviously if the OP LIKES the various shadings, then let it be. Personally, I would not cover the brick with stone veneer unless the house has other stone or the stone fits with the house's surroundings (rustic).

Just my opinion, of course. The wood panel will modernize the wall and provide a nice backdrop for the TV.
January 26, 2012 at 11:48AM   
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billmajure
Televisions over fireplaces are a terrible idea. Neck cramps and the visual distortion are the reason I eliminated the builder's recessed tv space over the mantle and replaced it with an appropriately designed traditional over-mantel.

Build the cabinets next to the fireplace with a television space incorporated in their design, at a level where you can view the screen at a truly comfortable level.

Soot on cabinets built next to the fireplace??? No way. Soot rises and coats what's over the fireplace - not what's off to the side. And controlling soot is easy, if you have good fireplace ventilation.

You want contemporary. You've been given some great suggestions. I also have brick that I will be eliminating around my fireplace. I expect to recover it with ceramic tile. There are an enormous number of tile options. Paint over brick seems to me to be a "cheap looking" way to go.

Good Luck!
January 26, 2012 at 12:58PM   
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PRO
ToSa Design
Painted brick is the least expensive way to go, by far. And the least permanent also. Of course everything is personal taste but I have seen a lot of painted brick and never have considered it "cheap looking" In fact it's the most true to existing architecture solution outside of leaving it alone.
January 26, 2012 at 1:14PM   
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purditty
If you plan on going with the cabinet idea make sure you check with building codes you will need at least one foot perhaps more of non combustible material on either side of fireplace. Might make your cabinets very narrow. If your looking to make it more contemporary and you have gas i would add a gas insert, codes are slightly different so it might be possible to add your cabinets if you like that idea. You could also tile the fireplace and pick glass accent. I think this gives you the most options. My last suggestion will cost the most, it looks like the fireplace splits two rooms, you could blow out the back so you can see the fireplace from both sides.
January 26, 2012 at 7:05PM   
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PRO
K.O.H. Construction Corporation
Take a good look at the design tropitango sent, draw your design on paper and put a template on the fireplace to get a good visual.To hide the wires, you need to fur out the walls then apply a cement backer board for the tile. For the hearth, lay tile directly on the top course then fill in the fire box with a mortar mix. Paint the firebox black. you cannot blow ot the ack of the fire box. The throat of the fireplace had to be built in a certain way and you also need a special damper. good luck, it;s a lot of work
January 27, 2012 at 5:10AM   
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PRO
Jones Design Build
The fireplace in this photo was brick when we started the remodeling. We installed slabs of travertine on the walls. The shelves and hearth are made of limestone. A niche was created for the TV and speakers to be flush with the finished face. It transformed the space! Good luck with yours.
January 27, 2012 at 7:25AM   
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Pete Poulin
Love your fire place. I wouldn’t do anything to the brick other than maybe have it professionally cleaned. A cleaning will take away the black soot (inside and out) and clean up the mortar that seems to be all over the brick. This will make it much brighter and cleaner. A white Victorian style hearth straight across the top with a decorative “carving” in the center of the wood work would be a good fit. As for the space on the right of the fire place, a very decorative black iron “wood basket” filled with clean white birch as close as possible to the same size as the opening of the fire place would be nice and would center everything.

You could also frame your t.v. and run all the cables behind the hearth.

After everything is done, see what it would look like if nothing was put close to the fire place such as the pot on the right.
January 27, 2012 at 8:12AM   
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Pete Poulin
Actually, an old beam would make a great hearth. The kind that would have been chopped with an axe. This would go well with the brick. No paint or stain. Just an old chunky 10” square beam with lots of nicks and groves in it.
January 27, 2012 at 7:17PM   
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PRO
COASTROAD Hearth & Patio
@kevlizvan, I agree with your original instinct. The photo below is missing the wall hanging that balances it out (where the downlight washes the wall), but I think you get the idea:
.
February 14, 2012 at 7:26AM   
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bettyblackleonardo
Whenever I see a TV mounted above a fireplace, it makes my neck hurt :- / I like the idea of a big ole rough beam across the span of the fireplace. The area on the right is the perfect place for a nice metal piece of interest. The bench is terrific. What a great place to sit when you want to be near the fire, but not directly in front of it.
February 14, 2012 at 7:43AM   
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PRO
Coronado Stone Products
Hello kevlizvan,

You can view a variety of Stone Fireplace Desings here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.178731202138423.45181.142182699126607&type=3

I would recommend doing a beautiful ledgestone similar to this attached image.
April 26, 2012 at 5:26PM   
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PRO
North Star Stone
Hi Kevlizvan- Not sure if you've made a decision by now or not, but we saw your post and thought you might benefit from a stone veneer covering over your existing brick. It's a quick and easy way to update your fireplace. With a fireplace that is off-center, you can do a variety of things to update and incorporate a mantel. We have done several like this. If you'd like to take a look and see some ideas, here's a link to our fireplace gallery. There are several that are off-center that you might find some inspiration with. http://www.northstarstone.biz/fireplace-pictures.htm

We also offer a free computerized design where you can see what your fireplace would look like with the updated stone. Please let us know if we can help in any way!

North Star Stone
May 29, 2012 at 10:17AM   
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PRO
Hayes Construction, Inc.
The Bench is actually a code requirment. You can remove it but the floor pattern has to change in front of a fireplace to assure nothing flamable is placed in front. A cheap option would be to laminate drywall on the face of the brick, stucco the brick in a smooth steel trowel texture, or like others have said paint it. I like the idea of a tile vaneer on the front. It would be a much cleaner look then the brick and would probable achieve the goal you have for your living room. Please, feel free to contact us when you have found some ideas that you like. We can meet with you and discuss the positives and negatives of each idea. Our contact info is on our website at http://hayesconstructiontucson.com/contact/
August 23, 2012 at 8:51AM   
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psuep
I love the texture and warmth brick provides, but I had the same brick and didn't like the color. I used a light wash: latex paint mixed with water; brushed on and blotted off, then sealed with a matte masonry sealer. Here are pics, in process and finished. I like that the texture and variation of the brick remains but the dated red is toned down.
August 23, 2012 at 9:15AM     
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PRO
European Flooring Installers llc
White paint will make it look very fashionable.
I think I have some photos on my website with that
August 24, 2012 at 7:53AM   
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