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Strange 60's fireplace need advice

Posted by chaoscreature (My Page) on
Sat, Jul 12, 08 at 11:09

Can anyone give me some advice on how I could re-model this fireplace? It is a "real fireplace" according to a mason so not much can be done to it structurally.. I have a tiny living room and this fireplace sticks out at a angle/slant with one side of it sticking out about 24 inches and the other side only sticks out about 3 inches. everyone that sees it says "its interesting!" and the mason said it was a "work of art." it has a very jagged/sharp brick so plastering over it might not be an option. does anyone have any suggestions? I would REALLY appreciate your help!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Strange 60's fireplace need advice

You could do a stucco finish over the top of the brick... Or you could do cast stone... Just really depends on the architecture and design of the rest of the house... Stucco kind of holds dirty finger stains, etc... If you have little fingers around.

RE: Strange 60's fireplace need advice

I think if you painted the upper part above the mantle the same color as the wall, it would make a big difference in appearance. I would also get rid of that ugly screen and invest a few dollars to install something nicer. And you should definitely fix the damage on the right hand side.

Your strategy should be to distract the eye from the unsighly aspect of the thing. I think you can achieve that by putting some eye-catching things nearby -- maybe a pretty carpet in front of the hearth. Or a fender around the firebox -- if you don't know, they're pretty U-shaped brass things about 8-10 inches high that sit on the hearth and decorate it. They can be pricey. I would coordinate a new screen and fender for a unified look. And a coordinated set of fire irons would complete the picture. You'd be surprised to see that the whole appearance can be transformed.

RE: Strange 60's fireplace need advice

Haus Proud,
Thank you for the input. At first I thought you were calling my TV ugly :)
Yes, the screen definitely needs to be updated. I agree with going white to match the walls. Do you think it would be worth the time/effort to smooth out the whole fireplace as well? Is there another material option than stucco?
Thank you again,

RE: Strange 60's fireplace need advice

I would paint it first, and see it that produces the desired result. If not, you can probably put sheetrock over the existing masonry above the mantle. Below the mantle, you have to be careful not to put anything combustible too close to the firebox. What's too close? Depends on the firebox. Probably a chimney sweep can tell you if he's any good at what he does. You could, for instance, put black slate or black cast iron around the firebox opening, because they are not combustible and then beyond that you can put wood that you either paint or stain.

But I would move slowly because sometimes small, inexpensive changes are all that you need. You can always do more later if you feel you need to.

RE: Strange 60's fireplace need advice

Your stone mason must have been referring to the quality of brick work when he called it a work of art-- it is very nice brick work. Just, perhaps, not the right sort for your space.

I agree that the top could be covered to match the wall. But I would put the tv screen somewhere else-- it competes with the fireplace as a feature.

There are all kinds of ways to "face" the fireplace to make it attractive. The outside brick could even be replaced with something less, um, "interesting", or simply covered over with something like tile, which from the looks of your room, might work better aesthetically.

Why don't you talk to a tile setter (one with a sense of design)? Or look at various tiles and create your own design! I've seen some beautiful fireplace refacings where the facework was trash (or trashy) but the structural brick work was solid, and the tile ones really caught my eye. So much so that one of the things I want to do is design an entire wood stove surround using tile (some of which I make myself).

Dayle Ann

RE: Strange 60's fireplace need advice another suggestion

I thought you might want to look at this website:

It's a British company that offers a special coloring product that enables you to spruce up brick that has a tired appearance. I have no experience with the product and therefore do not endorse it. I pass this along for information only.

RE: Strange 60's fireplace need advice

Get the TV off there. It is totally out of place. That alone might fix your problem. It's really cool, something to build a room around. Fix the hole, take the crap off the mantle, and build the rest of the room around it. It will be cool, and one day you'll be really thankful you didn't screw it up permanently by painting/plastering over it.

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