Fireplace Update

Now that the weather is starting to get chilly, it’s time to think about your fireplace. Many people have fireplaces that simply do not reflect their style and surroundings in their home. The good thing is that you don’t have to live with the outdated fireplace that you currently have. Whether your fireplace is gas or wood burning, there are many options to give it a more updated look.

Before we continue, let’s take a quick look at the parts of a fireplace.

Sharp- Nicholson FIreplace Dining room Chaddsford-Layout3

We frequently get requests to change the look of existing fireplaces. We’d like to share one of these projects with you. This client lived in her home for a number of years and wanted a fireplace that reflected her more contemporary tastes. We had designed her living room several years back with a transitional style rug and furniture. The fireplace and living room are some of the first things you see when you enter the house. The original fireplace mantel was painted white and was a Federal style with an urn and acanthus leaf detail, fluted pilasters and traditional moulding. The surround and hearth were white marble with gray veining. Since fireplaces are often the focal point of a room, this formal and traditional focal point was not conveying what the rest of the room was. So she sought our help to change the look. This shows the existing fireplace…

traditional fireplace

The updated mantel couldn’t be more different in style and fits in so much better with the feel of the room. First we drew the mantel and had it custom built by Michael James Furniture out of cherry wood that was stained in a rich walnut finish. The look hints at modern design with its simple angled configuration and clean lines. The existing marble surround and was replaced with large scale light textural tone on tone porcelain tiles to further the updated look. The hearth is made from the same color tiles but without texture.

The first step was demolition of the existing fireplace surround…


These pictures show the new mantel being installed…

New Fireplace

New Fireplace

The simple and yet dramatic result gives the room a warmth even when the fireplace isn’t on. We completed the overall look with a custom metal fireplace screen in an Olympic Grey finish – also by Michael James Furniture. It’s diagonal lines play off the horizonal and vertical lines of the fireplace.

Fireplace Screen

And the final product…

transitional fireplace

What should you do if you are thinking of updating your fireplace?

  1. Look through magazines, internet sources, etc. to get an idea of what you like
  2. Hire professionals – this is not your typical do-it-yourself kind of project – an Interior Designer can assist with the final look, budget, purchase of materials, selection of vendors, management of the project, etc.
  3. Schedule the work to be done
  4. Sit back and enjoy your new surroundings!