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Photo by Patrick Brickman

  

The stockings are down and the decorations are put away in the Lowcountry. Now, look at your fireplace. What does it look like? Inviting and cozy? Elegant and impressive? Or bare and boring? Before you grab 14 framed family photos and those oversized candles you NEVER light, call us! You need a fireplace makeover!

 

 


(Even the hope of a few extra gifts to open does not help this very boring before. Don’t worry, we helped this client get a great after, and now they love their space!)

A fireplace redo is a relatively quick way to update your room without compromising the rest of the room. What that means is you won’t have to design an entire room at once. You can update the rest of the room later, and it will work with the new fireplace. It’s a great way to start the new year one interior design project at a time.

  

  

Photo by Chris Smith

 

 

Sometimes we find crazy stuff under mantels. Here, the builder used liquid nails to attach the granite surround, so we had a lot of work to make it happen. This becomes the beautiful leathered granite and mesquite fireplace.

 

 

 

 

There are three basic elements to consider when I design a fireplace: the mantel, the wall, and the actual fireplace surround. I usually start with the mantel because clients often want TVs over the fireplace, and that really affects mantel options. I look at the specifications from the tv manufacturer, as well as the fireplace insert specifications. Both often have minimum clearance requirements. I also consider how the clients use the room, and how often they light a fire in the fireplace.

One of our Mt. Pleasant clients is a native of Texas, and she wanted to incorporate a piece of mesquite from her family ranch. We had it cleaned and planed, while keeping the rough hewn front and natural side. We used walnut oil to protect the wood.

 

 

Photo by Patrick Brickman

 

 

We combined the mesquite mantel with Thibaut Tuscan Leather in Metallic Pewter wallpaper, which adds a masculine sheen. We used a mitered corner on a leathered granite for a simple fireplace surround.

Unlike mantel options, wall options are limitless. I use a lot of metallic finishes on fireplace walls because I like the contrast with rough brick or stone. I sometimes use grasscloth or other textured finishes when I need to add natural elements to the room.

 

 

 

 

Adding blue chameleon-textured wallpaper to this traditional fireplace made our Duke basketball fan client SOOOO happy.

When bookcases flank the fireplace, I coordinate those into the fireplace design. Sometimes a room needs architectural details, so I panel the fireplace wall.

 

 

Photo by Chris Smith

 

 

Here I added paneling and doored units to a builder grade fireplace mantel.

Sometimes we don’t have a fireplace wall! Here, the fireplace is just plopped off-center onto a large expanse of drywall. We created a fireplace wall using English walnut and shimmering white ledger stone. The combination creates the Hawaii Five-O vibe this client wanted.

 

 

 

 

 

We enlarged the entry to the hall and relocated the air returns to help the new fireplace proportions work.

The surround choice depends on the space between the fireplace opening and the mantel leg (if there is one). This tiny space can have a huge impact on the room. Put your money here. The fireplace surround should be as sophisticated as your budget allows. It’s what people notice most about the fireplace. Sounds crazy, but it’s true. And it’s usually where custom home builders just fill with leftover material or trendy materials.

 

 

 

 

Beveled marble tile adds an elegant touch to a bright orange mantel. Clemson fan, you think?

Details are kept simple and personal. We add client treasures to a few well-chosen pieces to finish the space. Most people have way too many knick knacks. Culling your collection will actually make your mementos stand out. Don’t display dozens of family photos. Use 3 or 4 that are INTERESTING, and you’ll be amazed how friends will notice.

 

 

Photo by Chris Smith

 

 

A favorite client travels and reads voraciously. We wrapped the offset TV in a collage of travel treasures. The TV “disappears” when properly staged. I loved solving this potential problem.

This client collects Colonial American antiques. We kept her collection on the shelves and added a cozy seat to the hearth instead. A bold monogram is a personal touch. The deep cushion is now a favorite spot for guests.

 

 

Photo by Chris Smith

 

 

We made sure to use every available inch of seat space, so this rarely lit fireplace in Mt. Pleasant could be used as seating all year.

Below, original antique tile in a historic Charleston home is unmistakable. We added Thibaut Metallic Linen to the wall. Original artwork by Jennifer Flannigan keeps it fresh. Photo is by Chris Smith.

 

 

 

 

Feel inspired, but overwhelmed? Check out this month’s special:

FIREPLACE REDESIGN PACKAGE
$399

We take your photo and create a DesignAFI Fireplace Story Board just for you. Includes
selections, a 30 minute online consultation with Alex, and free shipping and local delivery on
all story board products. Great deal!

 

And check back each week to see if you are the winner of our FLIKR Fire Pit!

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