Do you know Danielle? She blogs over at Silver Pennies and she and her family live in a Dutch Colonial home (in Scituate, MA) that was built in 1927.
She sent me this photo of her fireplace, along with the following email recently:
I’d love your help with our fireplace! We’ve lived in our house now for almost 4 years and I fell head over heels for all the dark woodwork, the mantel included, but the fireplace has me stumped. I wondered if you could help me with a Pick My Presto?
Currently the fireplace doesn’t work. The hearth is cracked and I don’t like the brick or the floor tile. I did try washing a few bricks with chalk paint a few years back and then I thought, “Oh, I’ll just paint the inside black (oven paint) and paint the brick and tile white until I can figure out something else”, but then I thought, “Hmmm, that might look weird with the white walls”.
We would like to put a gas fireplace in, but that opening would be much smaller than we currently have. We thought about getting rid of the mantel and doing something different, but I like the weight of it and it seems to fit as it’s original to the home. I plan on re-staining it and adding some scrolls as the original is missing.
What do you think? We’ve thrown around ideas of doing period tiles in place of the brick, or maybe that German Schmear, or white paint, or tiling over with marble. In place of the floor tile, we’re thinking honed granite. I like the look of beach stone too but my husband does not.
Would love your design eye! Thanks in advance!
I love a fun design challenge, so here’s what I came up with keeping these two things in mind:
1- Danielle loves and wants to freshen the mantel up by sanding and re-staining the wood. (Not painting it!)
2- Danielle doesn’t love the brick or the tile on the hearth.
And instead of Photoshopping all the ideas Danielle mentioned at the end of her email, I thought I’d put together a few options that she didn’t mention, in hopes that’s fun for her to see a few other ideas.
First up, if it’s the tone of the brick she doesn’t like, I’m wondering if there’s a way to mix up a few different colors of mortar and then paint a thin-coat of it onto the surface of each brick? Since they plan on burning wood in the fireplace, I don’t know if faux finishing them (with paint) would be the best (safest) idea, but using mortar as paint might do the trick if she decided she just wants a different tone. I also showed what it would look like if she used some kind of concrete product on the heart and inside the firebox. First, light gray…
…and then, dark gray:
The darker gray definitely grounds the fireplace more than the lighter, but either color works in my book!
Next up, what about a more historic-inspired tile, like this:
It’s a mini subway tile, which feels both historic and current, and I tried it with both concrete colors again.
Or what about a cement tile? They originated waaay back in the day, but I think they look so fresh in homes today. It wouldn’t necessarily have to be the one in this particular photo, but hopefully it’ll give Danielle an idea of what that type of tile might look like:
Here it is with the lighter gray hearth:
Oh! I “painted” that little cabinet next to the fireplace to break up all the wood tones that touch each other over there too. (Just an idea, Dani! XO)
And last but not least, since Danielle mentioned marble, I thought I’d paste some solid pieces of it in there. It’s probably not feasible without removing the brick, but I love doing “construction” for free, just to see what it would look like:
I “painted” the inside of the firebox black (heat resistant paint) and suggested she use some kind of gray tile (which would speak to the gray veining in the marble) on the hearth. It wouldn’t necessarily have to be *that* tile, but if it’s original to the home (and maybe if it was just the *color* of the tile that wasn’t to Danielle’s liking), she’d like it if it was painted or re-installed in a different color?
Anywho- I hope that gets her gears turning, and I can hardly wait to see what she and her husband decide to do there!
PS- Dani, please come over for a guest post when y’all finish the makeover. 😀 I know there will be a lot of us who are excited to see your in-progress and after pictures!