Updating Fireplaces

Most of us residents of Northern Virginia have either an old outdated 60’s style brick fireplace or an inexpensive builder grade gas insert and surround.  I rarely see fireplaces that have been updated because most people are unaware that this small remodeling project can transform the look of your home.  Since we spend most of our time in our family rooms and kitchens, this project could change the way you feel about your home.  Like any remodeling project, there are simple, inexpensive solutions, or cover-ups, and more expensive solutions.  Of course, by changing the materials of the mantle and firebox facing, there are ways to spend a lot of money.  Mostly, I will show you ways so you can be somewhere in the middle.

For those who may think that tearing down the brick wall is a crime, painting the brick can modernize the room at minimal cost.  Painting the dark brick a light color can make a room feel bigger and brighten the space.


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If your brick façade goes wall to wall and you like the brick but feel that it is overwhelming, you can put a few feet of cabinetry on each side.  Not only will you get more storage space, you will visually change the look of the room with a new texture on the wall.  Accessories on shelves will give even more texture, and glass items will reflect light.  Taking this one step further, you can add tile to the face around the fire box.  If your brick goes to the ceiling, you can drywall right over it as long as you leave a fireproof surface 12” around the firebox.  Drywall from the mantle up will be a dramatic change as well.


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If you are looking for a completely updated look, consider taking the brick down and replacing it with stone.  There are many great textures and shapes in cultured stone.  Cultured stone is a man -made product that looks exactly like stone.  Installing this type of material looks great when it goes all the way to the ceiling, and will make the room feel bigger.  This look can be rustic, traditional or modern, depending on the product.  Cement panels can be used as well, and it can be mixed with glass or stones for a unique look.


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Remodeling a fireplace is a common request at Foster Remodeling Solutions.  Our designers can come to your home and help you work out a design that will work with your décor and style, within your budget.

If you would like to talk about ideas for remodeling or renovating your home in Fairfax, Mclean, Springfield, Woodbridge, Alexandria, Arlington, and Falls Church VA, reach out to us at Foster Remodeling. Call now for a free consultation!

written by: Suzanne Glatz – Design Consultant