BEFORE: This homeowner was not a fan of the stark slate paver stones that extended all the way up this two-story-high wall from the fireplace. “It might have been OK if it was just beneath the mantel, but no one really wants a vertical path on their wall,” says interior designer Tani Nielsen of Martha O’Hara Interiors. “It felt really heavy, it was too much of the same material and we weren’t really sure how it had been adhered to the wall — it felt like a piece could just fall off.”
She had the stones removed to reveal the drywall beneath. The walls were in decent shape and did not need to be removed.
The old fireplace felt very flat. On the new one, the lower portion of the surround projects about 6 inches from the wall, which gives the fireplace dimension and a stronger presence. The hearth is soapstone, and the stone surround is a ledgestone tile in a stacked layout.
Millwork paint: Simply White OC-117; wall paint: Classic Gray 1548, both Benjamin Moore; painting: Brent Foreman
BEFORE: For this whole-house makeover, the homeowners wanted interior designer Catlin Stothers to take their house from traditional to modern and white. “The interior of the house was really traditional, with heavy wood and stucco ceilings, and was not really reflecting the lifestyle or aesthetic of the young family,” she says. “The fireplace surround was very ordinary and not a feature worth salvaging.” The homeowners also wanted to convert the fireplace from wood burning to gas, for practical reasons and to keep the area sleek like the rest of the home.
“The more dominant proportions meant that it didn’t need any texture or new material — we simply painted it the same white as the walls,” she says. The minimalist architectural style integrates the mantel right into the rest of the surround for a seamless look. The surround protrudes 5 inches, which creates a mantel out of a drywall ledge. A bold piece of artwork emphasizes the fireplace as a focal point and adds color to the mostly white and gray room.
BEFORE: This fireplace is in the family room of an open-plan midcentury modern house in Dallas and can be viewed from the entry, dining room and kitchen. “This fireplace was one of those full walls of brick with a wonky wood mantel,” interior designer Kathy Adcock-Smith says.
And yes, all of this was her client’s stuff, which will be hard to believe once you see the “after” photos. “My client read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo and wanted to put it into play,” Adcock-Smith says. “Their four boys were out of the house, and it was time to pare down and get rid of things that were no longer useful. I was asked to help edit the flow and function of the home.” They wanted a cleaner and more functional space with more natural light.
Next, she designed a zinc surround that adds a cool metallic finish to the room. “I chose zinc because it looks refined yet has an industrial edge to it,” she says. Silver and gray hues on the furniture and accessories and a disco ball play off the metallic finish of the new surround.
And with regard to the great Houzz TV-Over-Fireplace-Yea-or-Nay debate: “I always call those TVs over fireplace ‘the Modern Family solution’ since Jay and Gloria are always craning their necks to see their TV on that show,” Adcock-Smith says. Instead, she placed the TV on the adjacent wall and suggested swivel chairs that can turn to face the fire or the screen. The AV equipment is tucked away in a hall closet on the other side of the wall.
Have you given your fireplace a makeover or are you thinking about it? Please share with us in the Comments section.