fireplace opinions needed

plumberryJanuary 15, 2010

Here's a photo of our current fireplace. We had a mid century modern home and we are updating the entire space. Does anyone have any ideas for how the fireplace can be updated? Our style is warm modern/contemporary. It has a nice stone slab so we are thinking of maybe refacing or keeping the white brick. To the right of the fireplace is a louvre window that will be replaced with a casement and a solid window next to it and ocean view to the right (it's kind of a strange layout due to mixed focal point -fireplace and view) During the day, your eye is drawn first to the view. At night, probably the fireplace, especially if it is lit. What would you do?

Here is a link that might be useful: fireplace living room photo

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I would not be concerned about a window next to the fireplace. In our living room, we have French doors leading to the rear deck on both sides of the fireplace, and it looks fine. Since your design is modern contemporary, it seems from the picture you posted, that the fireplace as is fits in nicely. If the brick wall surrounding the fireplace is already painted (I think, white), you could paint it another color, depending on your overall color scheme. (By the way, it might be a good idea to use paint that can withstand high temperatures.)

You could reface the whole brick wall with granite, marble, or slate. That would be costly, and I am not sure you would gain that much over what a nice paint job will achieve. I could not tell from the picture, but it seems that the stone slab you mentioned is sort of a ledge in front of the fireplace. That would be called a "raised hearth." Typically they are made of noncombustible material, to conform with fire safety guidelines. The "clearance," the space immediately around the firebox, needs to be composed of noncombustible material. If your hearth is stone and the material around the firebox is brick, you have an ideal arrangement from the safety standpoint.

You did not say anything about the technical aspects. Is the chimney okay? Has it been cleaned recently? If not, hire a chimney sweep with some kind of competency certification to clean it for you and, while he's cleaning it, ask a few questions about possible changes you're considering. But bare in mind that his "advice" might be just a sales pitch. You might also want to check with your local building codes to make sure whatever you do is not a violation.

Are you thinking about installing an energy efficient insert into your firebox? You can get a tax credit of up to $1500, which will go a long way toward paying the cost of such an upgrade. I think they are worth serious consideration. Fireplace retailers have been trying very hard to get the word out on these energy efficient upgrades.

If you have natural gas or can get LP gas, you might want to put in a direct vent gas logs unit. They throw off a lot of heat, and they look nice. But if you have your heart set a "genuine" old fashioned fire, some of the energy efficient upgrades that qualify for a tax credit would be the way to go.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 11:29PM
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Thank you, Haus proud. I really appreciate your feedback.
It means alot. The fireplace is gas. Thanks again!!!!!!!

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 10:42PM
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