Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A simple fireplace remodel: all the way up

I worked on a smaller project for a new client. One item on the list was to update the fireplace and to keep it and the price simple. In most California homes, 9 out of 10 fireplaces could use an improvement. On the east coast and in many other places that is not the case. But pretty much all homes over here from the 80's on have a bare-bones, no detail fireplace. Here is a photo of the typical scenario. A "decorative" mantle and nada but drywall above it.

In my opinion, for most traditional fireplace units there should be some other material that extends from the mantle to the ceiling. It would typically be wood (painted or stained) but could also be stone, a wallcovering, tile etc.

Before: Not ugly, but not done right. The fireplace wall opening and the entertainment unit top are at the same level...a visual conflict. That also leaves that awkward strip of wall along the top.

After: My first instinct was to carry the white wood from the base, up the full wall, and tie it into the existing crown moulding. A simple recessed panel on top adds the needed detail and gives hanging space.

A very simple solution with a worth while payoff. The once freestanding looking unit now looks built in, and integrated into the wall. I also refaced the surround of the firebox with a broken travertine mosaic. The round mirror helps break up the monotony of all the rectangular shapes going on. Total cost for construction (patch over existing opening, add paneling, crown moulding bump out, painting, tile and installation, accessories) just under 2K.

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