For 30 to 40 years, home fireplaces were typically built with simple brick facings and there may not have been a mantel installed, or, there might be a simple or outdated mantel or shelf that needs a makeover. Soon enough you will find yourself with a fireplace that sticks out from the rest of your home. While the changes that we made to the rest of this great room went beyond a weekend project, the fireplace was installed in a snap. The stone removal and the addition of the concrete overlay posed the biggest challenge during this mantel makeover.
Clearance information is sometimes detailed on a tag or sticker attached to the fireplace itself. Kristina Striukova used acrylic paint to transform the interior of the formerly all-white fireplace into an engaging scene – with decorative mural work above. In this focal fireplace by architect Jim Rill, Pennsylvania flagstone distinguishes the fireplace surround and floor, and the mantel and trim are made of clear fir to complement the mission-style furniture and exposed beam ceiling beautifully.
Before making cuts, I laid out the tiles around the fireplace to get the configuration right (although it appears an extra corner piece snuck into the photo…hmmm). When we had our house built (almost 10 years ago) I was never a big fan of our plain, builder’s grade fireplace.
Sealing off the room, prep work or demolition, and clean up can all effect the cost of a project. If the mass of the fireplace is too much for the room, you can reduce it by adding sheetrock or paneling to the exterior. Some fireplaces can be resurfaced with manufactured stone or tile, or otherwise creatively updated.
Below we’ll explore these options to help you decide how to make your fireplace the most commanding feature in the room. To do this, put down another layer of your Thinset using a notched trowel and set your tiles into it. Keep in mind that the most important area to be aware of when tiling around a fireplace is the tiles directly above the firebox.