Fireplace Redesign Ideas & Makeovers
There are many reasons why homeowners consider altering their existing fireplace designs. Whether it’s only the fireplace mantels that are in view or a whole fireplace remodel that is under consideration, many of the same factors come into play.
Over the years, we have met many homeowners in the St. Louis area who share their fireplace makeover ideas with us. If you are looking to remodel your existing fireplace, but are unsure about how to go about it, consider the following practical guide.
Basic objections to one or more elements prompt people to seek fireplace redesign ideas. These factors are:
- Contrast (a wrong element is prominent)
- Ornamentation (Too much or not enough)
We’ll go through these factors, one by one to discuss prospects for fireplace redesign ideas.
Let’s say that someone reading this article wants a brick fireplace makeover. While a product made by Bella Vernici is applied like paint, it has a very high content of lime. After this product is applied to (raw or painted) brick, it can be treated with chemicals that will alter the color in ways that look very natural. This is one of the very same ways that Mother Nature colors materials so it’s no wonder that the look would be excellent.
This same process could be used on existing stone. Bella Vernici offers coloration chemicals that would allow the creation of lots of different organic looks for a new-looking natural stone fireplace. Even apart from using the Bella Vernici products, skilled use of paint washes and dry-brush techniques would facilitate a great looking fireplace remodel.
Not only can painted surfaces be readily changed but stained surfaces can be altered as well. General Finishes company makes a gel stain that can be applied in thin coats to adjust the color of an existing stained surface. Many different colors are available. However, if the surface is currently dark, gel stain can’t be used to lighten the color.
Any wooden surface, whether stained or painted, can be painted to look like wood in any shade. Even if the painter does not have the skill necessary to render a specific species of woodgrain, anyone handy with a paint brush can create a finish that bears a generic wood look. Old Masters Company offers base coat paint as well as stains that can be applied on top of them to create the look of wood. They even produce a brochure that outlines the whole process.
Occasionally a customer will complain that their fireplace mantel is the wrong size for the room. If it’s too large, the solution is easy enough – remove it and replace it with something else. If it’s too small, it could be added to, or again remove it and replace it with something else. For whatever reason, we tend to think of fireplaces as being permanent. But if the fireplace is not pleasing in its existing state, better to make changes than to keep it permanently unappealing.
In this era, we have lots of materials at our disposal that allow us to alter the appearance of building materials. These products spawn many fireplace makeover design ideas. Someone wants ideas for fireplace marble that’s the wrong color. A skilled decorative painter can paint over existing fireplace marble to make it look like marble of a different color. Less skill is needed to apply Venetian plaster to the same surface. It will produce a finish that has the look of a simple marble (without veins or breches). To produce a more rustic stone, Kirtbag is a product that will allow you to create stone where none exists. It is a cement that is meant to be carved while wet.
Here’s where taste makes all the difference in fireplace designs. Perhaps the architect and the original owners of a home preferred modern fireplace design while a current owner prefers traditional fireplaces (or vice-versa). The first question to answer is this: Can any element of the original be changed so that it can be kept? Your fireplace contractor may be able to help answer this question if you can show a picture of the look you prefer. Second, where can new elements be found? Again, your contractor may be able to point you in a good direction. Or, Google for answers.
Some of the methods outlined above could be used if various elements of the fireplace are damaged. Ababtron is a company that makes an excellent product for filling voids. It can be readily sanded and accepts paint or stain well. If a repair needs to be made in an area that receives a lot of heat, perhaps one of the engineered cements manufactured by Rapid Set could be used.
If some element of the fireplace is not prominent enough (or is too prominent), options include removal, change of size or change of color. Sometimes (but not always!) merely changing the color is enough to make an element less noticeable.
Fireplace remodeling – Before & After
Earlier the Rapid Set company was mentioned for its engineered cements. Their product “One Pass” could be used to infill texture that is too strong. It could be used in tandem with another of their products “Cement All”, to create texture. Golden Artist Colors has a division called Proceed that manufactures a wide variety of products that could be used to create texture.
Here we can repeat what was said above in the style section: The first question to answer is this: Can any element of the original be changed so that it can be kept? Your contractor may be able to help answer this question if you can show a picture of the look you prefer. Second, where can new elements be found? Again, your contractor may be able to point you in a good direction. Or, Google for answers.
If your fireplace design lacks sufficient ornamentation, more can certainly be added. You’ll need a photo or drawing of your desired look to help you with direction. (Check Houzz.com or Pinterest.com if you want a source of ideas.) If you have too much ornamentation, and removal is not an option, you may be able to cover it. A customer once asked us to change a fluted wooden fireplace into the look of stone. We covered the vertical fluted panels with thin plywood, similarly covered routed wood on the fireplace mantel and then covered it all with a product called Rough Irregular (manufactured by Proceed) to give it the look and texture of stone.
So, whether you have a stone fireplace or are looking to do a brick fireplace makeover; whether you want to change the look of your wood fireplace or you want to address fireplace tile, know that materials and techniques are available that will allow you to do a fireplace remodel to your liking.