Jan 26, 2013

Fix My Fireplace

I think my wood burner is ready for a refresh.




There are five components that can be tweaked:

    - Brass fireplace surround
    - White wood mantel
    - Brick
    - Bookcases and lower cabinets
    - Ceiling can spotlights




I'm willing to change some or all of these, but not really sure where to start.  Prefer keeping the mods cosmetic and not wanting to, for example, rip brick or cover with stone.

There are two ugly flesh colored vents above the mantel (behind the photos of Pigtails), I'd like to find a way to make them less hideous.

I understand four readers infiltrated B&P through Young House Love, so hoping you have ideas on what we can do here.






-Beard

71 comments:

  1. Thats looks great the way it is! Maybe its cause we.are just envious of a real brick fireplace instead of a metal gas stove...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gas is convenient, flip a switch and no mess. But I do like the smokey crackle of glowing oak on cold nights.

      Delete
  2. I love the bookshelves and cabinets! I would keep them, and just rearrange some of the items on them- an even number of books and decorative items on each side. Would you consider whitewashing the brick? I think that would help tie in the cabinets and the white mantle nicely. Could you use a large square or rectangular mirror leaning against the brick on the mantle to cover the vents? Then put a few decorative items on either side of the mirror and move the pictures of pigtails to the bookshelves? I would change the brass fireplace surrounding to the same color as the frame of the mirror (maybe silver?). I would also consider changing the can spotlights to recessed lights. Just my two cents!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The bookcases are a royal mess, junk all over the place and everything disheveled. A quick tidy and symmetrical organization with even books on the L/R would help.

      Painted brick sometimes looks good, but am hesitant since you can't undo a whitewashing if ever I wanted to revert to original. I normally prefer leaving natural materials natural color, and not spoiling with paint. But I'm also not all that fond of the brown colored brick.

      There is a large square mirror above the mantel, I removed it for the photos since it was distracting.

      Delete
  3. I'd paint the bricks white, keep the mantel, and replace the brass surround. I think it would be transformed!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. (I'd replace the brass with something simple and black.)

      Delete
    2. Matte black might look good.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous1/27/2013

      Dont replace it, just paint it black...much cheaper and looks the same!

      Delete
    4. YES! Paint the brick white & change the brass.
      Game changer.

      Delete
    5. I agree with the painting of the brass surround. We did that to our fireplace surround and it made a world of difference. Just don't forget to pick a "heat-resistant" spray paint:)

      Delete
  4. #1 I would work on the two bookcases / drawers. The bottom looks more like kitchen cabinets. Two long bookcases would be good.
    #2 Change out the brass.

    From the pictures, I dont mind the muted colour of the bricks, but weird about the vents.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Two long bookcases divided side-to-side or up-and-down?

      Delete
    2. One bookcase on each side, either from floor to ceiling or mantel height. If you go to mantel height, you can put art on each side (in my area, these old houses usually have bookcase lower half and small window above.) Glass doors on the bookcase may be nice, or leave them open.

      Delete
  5. I'll pretend it's my living room. Here's what I don't like: the built-ins next to the brick look funny with the bit of red wall cutting them in half in the middle. I don't like the brass on the fireplace surround. Lastly, I don't like the dinky size of the picture frames that are sort of hiding the weirdly placed vents.
    I think the red bits of wall and the brass make the room (or at least, what I see in the picture) a bit dark and depressing. If I couldn't actually change the built-ins (or if they fit my needs, functionally) I would paint the little bit of red wall white to match the rest of the white bits.
    A new fire surround is big bucks. My first thought it to paint it, possibly an oil rubbed bronze color? Of course you can use regular spray paint but there is paint meant specifically for wood stoves (i.e. it's ok for high heat). I'm guessing it would work for your surround? It's worth investigating.
    I think those two things would make me happy with leaving the brick as is. Though I don't mind painted brick, it's kind of hard to turn back once it's started. Also, I hear it takes foreeeevveeeer to paint.
    The vents: I've been loving this idea for a huge piece of art for minimal bucks. Here's the link for a tutorial: http://www.sugarbeecrafts.com/2012/01/giant-picture-tutorial.html
    The idea is to have an office store print an Engineer's print and then you mount it (since it's flimsy) on something stiff like poster board or plywood using spray adhesive. I think the engineer's prints only come in B&W, which I love but I know it's not everyone's thing. It IS a super cheap way to provide camouflage and add in a favorite photo.
    I bet you could do all that in $40 or less, easy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Painting the section between the top and bottom shelves white would help tie those, and something I haven't considered. I'll Photoshop it in (don't even own Photoshop, maybe MS Paint?) to see how she looks.

      I normally have a large handwoven mirror on the brick above the mantel, removed it for the photos for a plainer shoot.

      Agree on the changing the bronze FP surround, since nothing else in the house is that color.

      Jumping over to that link to check the billboard sized photos, would look nice as long as my mug's not on it. Wondering how well it would do over the vents when the fire's on burn, since a lot of heat trickles from them.

      Thanks for the help!

      Delete
    2. I agree, paint the red section white.

      Delete
  6. Meant to say you CAN'T use regular spray paint on a fire surround. I'm sure you already knew that but didn't want people thinking I'm an idiot...

    ReplyDelete
  7. Btw, looks like you have more than 4 readers from YHL...lots of great tips here!

    Here's my humble opinion:
    #1: paint brick white
    #2: get rid of red wall paint (I know, it's not in your plan but the color really bothers me)
    #3: paint back of built ins red or other bright color
    #4: get rid of the brass, use black or oil rubbed bronze
    #5: add a giant print (like an engineers print = less expensive) above the mantel
    #6: leave the lights, they'll look nice once the fireplace area is done

    My disclaimer:
    I know nothing about home decor or remodels. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. #1 - Hesitant, since I can't undo paint and everyone else seems to paint brick.
      #2 - I kinda like the red, it is warm in person. Although willing to repaint room, due for a fresh coat soon.
      #3 - Others are saying paint the red separation between top and bottom shelves white, you are saying go big on color there. I'll find some software to see what different color combos look like.
      #4 - Agree, if price is right. Unsure if I can paint over exising easily, and don't want to spend big bucks on new surround.
      #5 - Agree.
      #6 - Yes, they shine a beam on the fireplace brick, which helps draw the eye if we do #5 above.
      #7 - Thanks for your input!

      Delete
  8. Is that how we found you? YHL? Gosh, who knows, but I didn't keep you on my google reader list because of decorating. I did it because of your writing.

    witty
    quick
    necessary

    You've got some good starter comments. I can add nothing. I just like to watch before + afters. I'm not very good at them myself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, four people found us through YHL.

      Thanks for the encouragement, and nice job with the photos on your blog.

      Delete
  9. Definitely paint the red area between the cabinet bottoms and shelf tops white, so they look like one cohesive unit. I would also add an extra shelf on the top of each side of the bookcase- all that space should be put to use! John and Sherry would definitely tell you to paint that brick. ;) Brown isn't a great brick color on its own and if the whole thing is in a nice glossy white, the vents won't stick out so much. Personally, I think brass can look okay and the color is starting to become more popular again... However, you can't go wrong with darkening the metal to an oil rubbed bronze or even a black.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now that you and others are saying to paint that red blip white, I have to agree.

      Pigtails and I mostly do electro' books now, I don't tend to re-read hardbacks. So we may end up cleaning out most of the books and junk currently crammed in the bookcases. If we don't end up having a bunch of books to store, wondering if I should remove the upper shelves, paint that a different color and hang large square paintings to fill the space?

      Painting the brick is a hard sell for me. I have trouble coating a natural material with latex, although the tan brick isn't all that easy on the eyes.

      Delete
  10. I agree about painting the red in between the shelves and the cupboards white. Would keep the eye moving better. The other thing I noticed that hasn't been mentioned - is there any way to adjust the level of the shelves in the upper sections? There is just a lot of room above the top shelves and I wonder if they would look better if they split the area in half rather than in a sort of third. Does that make sense?

    If you find that you suddenly begin to lean towards painting the fireplace, I might suggest trying a light(ish) gray tone. Would be different than the classic white, but still giving a bit more of an updated/modern edge.

    And yes, I found you through YHL, but I'm glad to read about so much more than decorating! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, the shelves are adjustable. Most likely I'll be donating most of the books and junk currently jammed on the shelves. Wondering if better to remove the dividers altogether and paint wall color or put up large framed prints flanking the fire?

      Delete
  11. Yes as any good YHL reader knows, John & Sherry are all for painting that brick. Go check out their posts where they discuss this, they've done it more than once & most recently just painted a full brick wall. I like what they've done and I would definitely attempt the paint, especially since you don't really like the brick. Keep the built ins, I think painting out that red section to match the white would definitely make them more pleasing to you. Clear them out & have fun restyling them. I'm not sure about what paints you can and cant use on fireplaces but look into it. Another YHL favourite (& now mine also) is the 'ORB' Oil Rubbbed Bronze paint. It really can make things pop.I like the wood mantel. Maybe you could paint that too in a contrasting colour to better tie it all in. Or build over it in just chunky clean lines to make it more modern and more of a statement. I think start with paint, it would be your cheapest option and I think you might be pleasantly surprised. If you get it a little wrong, it's only paint you have to repaint. Or if you really think you made a big mistake, then you can go down a more intensive route like cladding the bricks & pulling out the cabinets = more time, more $ & more mess! Whatever you decide, I can't wait to see the results.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Everyone seems to paint brick these days, which is partly why I don't really want to. Plus I normally prefer natural > coating with latex. The tan-brown color of the bricks are not all that pleasant though, just wish paint wasn't a permanent thing.

      Painting the cases, walls or mantel is pretty simple and can change how it all looks. Need to find some software to simulate options or look for examples. Reader Alison pointed me to Houzz.com, many good ideas on that site.

      Delete
  12. Another reader from YLH here too...
    I'm with the people who suggested painting the brick. I'd go with that. I also like the idea of black surround, and mantel...
    Not ever having had a fireplace of any sort, I've never thought about this before... Maybe a colour in the backs of the shelves? Though, you'd have to be careful to not clash with the red walls. Have you considered painting them instead of painting the brick.. Perhaps the reason you think it needs a change is because the red walls draw out a lot of red in the brick. A grey or a grey blue would look fantastic with the brick as is, and also with the white mantel and book shelves. You could just change the fireplace surround...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hadn't really considered painting the walls until these comments. I slapped up the red seven or eight years ago, so probably due for a fresh color soon. Or colour, are ya'll from across the pond?

      Delete
  13. I agree with painting the bit of red in the bookshelves white. Instead of painting the brick, you might be able to cover it with reclaimed wood. It would completely change the look, and you'd be able to keep the brick in case you ever wanted to go back to that. It might be a bit labor intensive, but I think it'd be worth it...would tie in your kitchen table as well. Ikea has a great living room on their main page with exactly what I'm talking about for the fire place and bookshelves. http://info.ikea-usa.com/recharge#/nesting/Itallstartswithyou/Liveinharmony

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The above link cuts off the fireplace a bit. Maybe this one? http://www.ikea.com/us/en/

      Delete
    2. Good eye, reclaimed barn boards to match the kitchen. I saw a photo of a fireplace with the brass surround removed and part of the brick exposed/covered in old timbers as you suggest. It looked nice. I'd want to secure the planks in a way that I wouldn't have to drill holes in the brick or adhesive that would damage on removal. Will give your idea some thought, thank you.

      Checked out the IKEA link, really like the stone hearth, rugged reclaimed mantel and walls of books!

      Delete
  14. I think changing/painting the brass surround would make a big difference. Also painting the back of the upper cabinets could give it some more interest. You could even do a light/neutral graphic pattern wallpaper that would look nice without clashing or taking away from the red walls. I totally understand your hesitation to paint the brick. I like the red walls but if you want to leave the brick as-is you could look into paint colors that might complement the natural color better. Blues like these would look nice with it: http://pinterest.com/pin/24558760440063817/. Can't wait to see how this turns out!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I would love to see a picture of the whole room. How do you feel about painting the room? Research hybrid fireplaces....combination of gas and wood.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, it would be helpful for suggestions to see the entire room.

      Delete
  16. I, too, found you through YHL. I agree with a lot of the suggestions above. If you don't feel like farting around with Photoshop, check out Houzz.com and Pinterest for fireplaces with built-ins for some ideas, if you haven't already.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Houzz is looking good, spent 20 minutes on there just now looking at reclaimed wood fireplaces and painted brick.

      Delete
  17. The first thing I noticed was the red above the cupboards, as I see others have as well. I would definitely paint that the same as the shelves to make it all look built in.
    I was going to suggest the whitewash, but see you'd rather not. The black high-heat paint over the brass would make a huge difference.
    Something large scale on the mantel. You've had several suggestions of possibilities for that already.
    I'd also change the red. I'm more of a green, grey, brown, blue girl. Earth colors. But color is personal, so it's hard to tell someone what their wall color should be.
    If the shelves are adjustable, I'd put them in the same place on each side. The top right side looks lower.
    I'm a girl, so I'd fluff the shelf stuff and make it "pretty". Add some baskets to hide non-pretty things.
    And then if you paint the surround black, I'd find some new handles for the cupboards to match.
    I think just those basic things would be a darned good start. And cheap, cheap, my kinda project. :o)

    ReplyDelete
  18. I personally really like the colour of your brick. I would leave it (and normally I would say PAINT IT!!) I also love the rounded ceilings. I think a super thick barnwood mantel would be gorgeous. You could decorate it really cool. Then I would suggest either getting rid of the uppers and put two really cool pieces of art on either side of the fireplace or make the base cabinet shallower and add doors all the way up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Keen eye to notice the curved ceilings, a subtle 1950s touch there.

      Looked at some barn board mantels on Houzz.com just now, excellent idea. If I tear out the upper shelves and plant two paintings either side, assuming a bit of wall still shows, shall I colour the wall red there?

      Delete
    2. I would buy the artwork first and then pick a colour after. Keeping it white would be a good contrast to whatever you choose to put on it but if you go red (which would look great too) then I would make sure the frames of the art are white.

      Delete
  19. I didn't read through all the comments because I am SO sure I know exactly what to do. :) Kidding. I'm just lazy. But #1, I would connect the shelving to the cabinets below them so they look like full built-ins. Basically box that open space in by putting a piece of plywood wood on either side and painting it all white to match. And while you're at it, add another shelf up top. #2, I would replace the brass doors with other, darker, more simple doors. Depending on the quality of the brick I may remove them entirely and just put in a free standing screen. If you were up for a bigger project, boxing in the whole fireplace below the mantel would look great. Especially with those built-ins flanking it. You could definitely do that without damaging the brink underneath. #3, I'd just figure out the styling of your mantel. This could mean investing in a piece of artwork or simply working with what's there (mounting big artwork or mirror to brick). I did notice a comment above (by you I think) saying you weren't sure about the big commitment of painting brick. I tend to agree, but your brick is rather drab. Maybe check out stains. I don't have a link handy, but I know I've seen some great refreshes on apartment therapy where people stained brick to a richer - but still traditional - color. Good luck!!! Please share what you decide and the results!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll sum the comments for you:

      1) People not fond of the red walls.
      2) Shelves are full of unsightly clutter and need to be "prettied up."
      3) Perhaps remove shelves, replace with art either side of fireplace
      4) Do something with the kitchen-looking lower cabinets.

      With you on removing the FP surround and replacing with a black iron screen. Curious how the brass is attached, hoping I can pop or unscrew it off to see how it looks without.

      I'm hesitant to paint brick, not because it's a tedious job, but because paint is permanent on brick. Usually prefer keeping natural material natural. The tan color brick is not the best though.

      You mention boxing the fireplace below the mantel, what sort of ideas do you have here, any links to examples?

      Delete
    2. I just did a quick search on apartmenttherapy.com for "before and after, fireplace" and this was right at the top:

      http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/fireplace-facelift-before-afte-138348

      These people did something much more extreme in terms of permanently changing the fireplace, but I'm sure you could accomplish something very similar by building the boxed structure and covering the brick with it. Like, picture it as a free standing structure that you push into place under the mantel but also secure it somehow to the mantel/wall/floor and seal up with the appropriate caulk. It would 'semi-permanent' and you wouldn't need to do any damage to the brick.

      And I really don't think you should get rid of the cabinets or shelves. By finishing them so they look more like built-ins, you'd be keeping/adding such wonderful character in there. Here is a link to some fake built-ins I made with cheap upper kitchen cabinets from home depot and a bunch of plywood:

      http://pinterest.com/pin/133700682658511541/

      Really, if you just connect them to the shelves above, no one will think they look like kitchen cabinets anymore.

      Oh, and I'm not a huge fan of the red walls, but I feel like that's a matter of personal taste (whereas everything else I've talked about is Fact! Lol) But I mean, really, if you love the red, keep it and work with it. :)

      Delete
    3. Oh, and I'm picturing the "box" on top of the brick ledge you have along the floor. And letting the brick show around the fireplace opening. I think that would look very nice and tie in the brick above well. :)

      ps- I tried to post this comment once and it failed, so if two come through, that's why. :)

      Delete
  20. Looking at the additional pictures you posted, l must say you have a lot of great things in this room..The hardwood floors are beautiful. I also like the red wall color. The seating looks like it works well in the space..I would go along with the other suggestions to get rid of the red between the shelves or connect to the cabinets below. You have made a very cozy home for you and Pigtails.
    I also came over from Young House Love..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think these mid-century homes are so warm and cozy.

      The red oak floors, for example, are cut from century-old timbers and are different than the young-growth oak installed today in new construction. The grain varies in color from pale to charcoal. When I bought the house in '99, every room was coated in cheap carpet. My heart skipped a beat when I peeled back a corner after living there 5 years to see the treasure waiting underneath.

      It's sort of a hobby and challenge to remix a tired, dated old girl into something that sings again.

      Delete
  21. Sorry if these suggestions are redundant but I don't have time to read all the comments. My ideas:
    1. Paint brick white or cover with drywall.
    2. Spray paint fireplace surround black (you can buy heat resistant paint for that).
    3. Add sides to the mantel all the way down to the hearth to create a full mantel (keeping it simple).
    4. Beef up the top of the bookcases so they read as one complete built in unit on each side rather than lower cabinets with floating shelves above.
    This link shows a living room with what I mean as the top photo although the style is totally different (http://reddoorhome.blogspot.com/2011/06/dreaming-of-built-in-bookcases.html).
    If the vents above the mantel can't be moved than I suggest you just continue to hide them with strategic artwork/photos in front.
    That is my two bobs anyway!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, after a quick read of this comment to catch up on what people are saying, I thought you added "two BOOBS". I nearly spat out my water!

      Delete
  22. OK - guilty - I'm one of the four - although it seems (through the comments and design suggestions) that you have more than 4 that came from YHL...

    ANYWAY....
    I agree with the painting of the red portions between the shelves...painting it white would make that whole area look like a huge built in (which I love).

    If you're hesistant to paint the brick (which I think I would be too, although I love the white idea)...Bower Power just built right over it...here's a link to her post about her fireplace: http://www.bowerpowerblog.com/2009/09/you-light-my-fire/

    Also - the vents MIGHT be able to be removed (or relocated) depending on how much $$ you're willing to spend...see if you have a friend that works in HVAC...they might be able to help...

    I think I read on one of the other comments that the red walls were a little too harsh...I disagree - I think it appears overwhelming because of all the red brick....if you went over the brick with drywall and/or stone, I think it would transform the space in a huge way...

    Good luck, Beard!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. Anonymous1/28/2013

    Don't paint your brick; it is a nice color compared to many ugly red/blackish fireplaces I have seen, which are worth painting. Maybe a more neutral wall color would make it look better. In the future, people are going to regret painting nice brick and nice wood furniture (my opinion). (PS I also love YHL.)
    Shari

    ReplyDelete
  24. Tara May1/28/2013

    Don't paint the brick! It's not a bad color. It's not peach or green.
    If your house was my house. I would paint the walls a warm light brown to compliment the brick and then either paint the red portion between the shelves and the base cabinet white or do like YHL did here... with a fantastic accent color. but would need to do it behind the shelves too so that it is cohesive. http://www.younghouselove.com/2011/01/tall-dark-and-handsome/
    I came from YHL and I've loved your blog ever since. I'm a loyal reader.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Ugh, you are such a man! Paint that brick! After all, googling for painted brick is what led me to Young House Love and that in turn led me to you, so it is fate. I am so grateful that my fireplace was already painted when we bought our house, because my husband is also a man-who-shudders-at-the-thought-of-painted-brick. As for reclaimed wood - how about using that to change up the mantel? Also, painting the back of the bookcases another color can look great. Lastly, I see a lot of calls to do something about the cabinet portion on the bottom.....I am a fan of closed storage, so aside from changing the door style and/or hardware, I'd keep them.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I'm on #teamdon'tpaintthebrick -- it really is a nice color that seems like it could work with a lot of colors if you decide to paint the room down the line! Make the cabinets/bookshelves floor to ceiling -- even if you don't worry about the tops and just "finish" those bottom rectangles, that would be an improvement. I feel like if you just painted the red spaces white it would still look a bit awkward. I would definitely change the fireplace surround -- either with paint or by replacing it altogether. Finally, I think the current mantle looks dinky. My answer would be to remove it altogether and put a large and in charge rectangular mirror, wider than it is tall, above the fireplace (larger than the one you currently have there). The only thing I'm unsure of is the function of those vents (ours doesn't have vents there). Without a mantle, I think a floor to ceiling fireplace looks cleaner, and, in my opinion, fits in better with the other parts of your house we've seen.

    Yes, I found you through YHL, but I stayed because I enjoy your writing!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Another one here who found you through YHL...... So happy to have found you. Lots of advise here. My own 2 cents. I like the brick and would not paint it. I skim read the comments so far, so if this has been suggested I concur... what about taking the doors off and using baskets or similar in the lower portions of the shelves? that would eliminate the whiteness - you could add a contrasting color with your containers, and see how you liked it. Also, consider painting out the white shelves entirely with your room color of choice so they blend right into the wall color. I also agree re painting the brass surround, and maybe considering a heavier mantel (railroad tie maybe?) Good luck with your decorating adventures.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Anonymous1/28/2013

    I too, came over from YHL-- and only read the two blogs. Always interested to know what's happening in your lives! You have a lovely room, beautiful floors, nice proportions. Consider, especially if you don't want to paint the fireplace, getting some help with colors from someone who knows (an artist maybe, or a decorator that would consult for an hour)--I did that ten years ago and it opened my eyes to the power of the right colors. I think that red can be a terrific wall color (love it in my daughter's dining room), but the fireplace brick and the floor work against red in that room. Why not write John & Sherry and ask their advice?
    The ceiling is georgeous, but would it fit in better if not so contrasty (entirely up to your taste, and I can't tell from photos, but it might harmonize better if it were more muted). I'm thinking that if you paint the walls a lighter color, you could paint the ceiling with the same paint with 50 per cent white stirred in--or something like that to soften the contrast--decorators do it all the time.
    Another thing to consider: a fireplace usually is the focal point of a room whether we like it to be or not. But your chairs face away from it. Consider a different furniture arrangement, either now or later. After you "clean up" the fireplace wall and get it looking the way you want it (if it ends up as clean and functional as your kitchen, it will be fabulous), create a conversation area that faces the fireplace. Swivel chairs, later on, after the budget for this project recovers?
    Another thing to keep in mind--the opening to room means that it can be seen from at least one other room (and maybe the entry way?), so whatever you do in the room will affect colors, etc. in the rooms adjacent. (This is why decorating is so hard for us amateurs. . .)
    Sorry, I got a bit carried away--you are doing a terrific job with your house and daughter. These are just thoughts I'd give you if you were my son, and you asked!!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Time to check out Pinterest if you haven't already! I love the idea of a faux reclaimed wood mantle with painted brick and re-doing the brass in a rubbed bronze. Check out my favorite fireplace makeover that I'm currently saving for my own house!

    http://theletteredcottage.net/my-82-fireplace-makeover/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That Pinterest thingy is for girls.

      Delete
  30. Anonymous1/28/2013

    Here's my opinion - from a guy’s perspective

    You have a great room that I think lends itself to a craftsmen feel. I know your hesitant to paint the brick so I would leave that alone.

    Paint the fireplace surround and the vents Matt black, or even textured black.

    Change the Mantel- I think it’s where the main change needs to be. I love the idea of a barn wood mantel or even adding the something vertically to change how it looks.

    The upper book cases I would leave alone apart from evening up the shelves. It sounds like you’re not going to use them for books so I would just add some pictures etc.

    Lower cabinets are where I think you should consider a change. You obviously have the one on the right set up for a computer and if you’re going to keep that then maybe change the cabinets out to just a simple shelf/counter across. That way you could tuck a stool or the chair underneath. You could also continue the barn wood theme and use that to build them. I can see something similar wood wise to your very cool kitchen table. Alternatively I would move the computer area to another spot and change the cabinet hardware to black to match the new surround/vents.

    Pot light is a problem as you only have the one it looks like? I would either remove it or maybe have an electrician come in and add more? At a minimum I would update it as it definitely looks dated.

    Won’t comment on the paint because you just can’t tell the true color from seeing a picture on the internet. If you keep the cabinets I would paint the gap between them and the bookcases. If you remove them I would keep the red.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That iMac computer is going away, hard drive's full and it boots at grandma speed. There are two pot lights up top, left and right. Might be best to keep the spotlights if I end up placing a large piece on the mantel, so light beams down.

      I'll talk to West End Architecture this weekend, same company that built my table. He'll have some ideas on a custom reclaimed barn-board for either the cases/shelves or a mantel.

      Delete
  31. I think a statement piece of art on top would be the place to start. Then get the surround to match your accessories. Can't tell if they are black or ORB (I came over from YHL, can you tell). Evening out the built-ins is the next thing and maybe put some lighting in them (up top where its hidden or a little lamp). You may not have much to change after that.

    Man, I wish we had a fireplace like that in our house!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Your fireplace seems more modern than the 'before' in this photo, but you might be able to apply some of their ideas in updating yours.

    http://www.eastcoastcreativeblog.com/2012/11/brass-fireplace-update.html

    ReplyDelete
  33. Anonymous1/29/2013

    I like the color of your brick...please don't paint it. I also like the brass surround and existing mantel. To me the only thing not working is the red walls. If you customized the white shelves to be really nice built-ins (all white) and painted the room a beige shade, it would look great and be a very easy remodel! Maybe move the picture frames over to the shelves and put a mantel clock between the vents:)

    ReplyDelete
  34. Well, oh boy, you asked and you got some answers! I'll just be the little voice in your head and say "Don't paint the brick - you can't go back once it's done."

    ReplyDelete
  35. I am a brass lover. And a brick lover. What I don't love is the red. It just feels like the most off tone. I read on one of the FB posts that you really liked it but I think a softer blue (blue green, more ocean-y) would go with the brick and white built ins. The built ins look very coastal and more classic than some of your other spaces. However, going through the rest of the room, I'm running into trouble with what color would work with the other pieces. We used a soft grey in our living room (color matched from BM Siberian Husky) but I find it doesn't go completely with our wood pieces (similar shade to your tv stand). I am thinking in our next space to go with a creamy color to tie in both the white trim and deeper wood.

    I love ORB (haha hi from a YHL fan) but it's not the be-all end-all. We've painted fire-y things with fire proof paint (ORB'd a firepit) but it tends to flake off. And this was industrial off-gassing super paint. I'd take brass over flakey ORB/brass.

    Now, for the junk, grab some baskets at your favorite large chain retailer (or local design-y store, not sure what the Midwest options are but we have Christmas Tree Shops, Target, and Homegoods on the East Coast) and they will hide most of the sins. Larger frames would cover the fleshy grates (Christmas Tree or Michael's has some nice solutions). One large piece of art across the whole things could be cool too.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Don't paint the brick. Spray paint the surround with a high temp stove paint in matte black (my preference). Replace the mantel with something more rustic. Keep the red paint and the bookshelves. Done!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, meant to include this link for stove paint - http://www.stovepaint.com/Content.asp?id=33

      Delete
  37. Hi- yup I'm coming over from YHL and staying for the writing!
    #1 paint the backs one cohesive color, whether it be red or white or something unique, like stripes
    #2 - oil rubbed bronze that brass. It's classic and has way more appeal that a solid tone

    #3 -rustic touch with the mantel - a nice piece of wood like your kitchen table would be sweet
    #4 -voting for doing away with the existing shelving for picture/painting sized space is an easy sell for me if you aren't into keeping the books.
    #5 concrete stain the brick to a color you like better. http://askannamoseley.com/2011/10/how-to-stain-brick/ talks about it a bit, although I'm not a fan of the color they used (too dark for my taste I would have gone a little lighter) it's a great alternative to painting but still being able to perk up the brick.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Check this out.. http://www.tealandlime.com/2012/05/styling-the-family-room-built-ins-mantel/

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for the note, check back for my response!