Fireplace update

Our fireplace is in a corner surrounded by built-ins. The tiles on the floor are in great shape and are a brighter red than the bricks which have a flat surface and also look like they were sanded and/or painted at one time, although no paint is peeling and I can't tell for sure. It just looks unfinished. The built-ins are a light green as is the mantle and I don't want to repaint the bookcases and cabinets.
q fireplace update, fireplaces mantels
  19 answers
  • So Sharon, what exactly are you looking to do with this? This fireplace appears to be on the older side. In order for some great ideas, can you post another photo or two with more of the walls and bookcases showing. Its difficult to provide ideas without knowing what the rest of the surrounding area looks like. Also what is your décor preference?
  • Sharon Sharon on Sep 15, 2014
    here are a few more photos, I showed the dining room as it is an L shaped room with the living room and more built-ins, it is original to the house 1830's and we've never used it although we've had it cleaned, the damper is inside the fireplace so you have to stick your hand up in to open/close it; we want to sell so I'm looking for an easy update fix.
  • Do nothing to it. If your selling, it looks great as it is. Putting any money in it will only be a waste of time and money that you will not get back. Perhaps a nice fireplace set and or a free standing screen so it shows that it works, but that is it.
    • Sharon Sharon on Sep 15, 2014
      @Woodbridge Environmental thanks, I was wondering about that, I'll pick up a screen for sure.
  • I do a lot of home prep for my other business which is this page shown and the biggest mistake people make is they fix things that not only do not need fixing but they tend to personalize them to their own taste so its better to leave it alone and do things that will make the house sell faster.
  • Yes we do not do to bad, A lot of my business is real estate work prepping homes. Slowly getting out of it and moving into more of a consultant business. Getting older.
  • Nancy Williams Nancy Williams on Sep 16, 2014
    I agree. Do nothing except clean off built ins and mantle and let the buyer imagine the possibilities.
  • Liz Liz on Sep 16, 2014
    I recently happened on a product called Goo Gone Oven Cleaner. I used it on the brick on the inside of a 60 year old fireplace, and it came out looking almost new. Cleaned beautifully.
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    • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Sep 16, 2014
      @Sharon Scrubbing Bubbles and a stiff brush works too...and it is less caustic than oven cleaner. Be sure and put down a drop cloth. However, you suspect the brick may have been painted and/or sanded? Be careful in cleaning that you do not damage the brick because if the finish has been compromised, it will sluff off! Be careful! As for the inside, leave it be!
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Sep 16, 2014
    I nothing to this. It is very much in keeping with an old house and anyone that buys an older house wants it authentic. I would remove the bucket of pine cones in the fireplace (set it to the left side) and perhaps put up an old fashioned free standing screen (not a brass and glass one). You can find them on line at different prices or you might want to check with a local dealer. Clear off the mantel and add a vase of cut flowers for showing. I am not one for a lot of professional staging and I think the bookcases are not over cluttered. Good luck!
    • Sharon Sharon on Sep 16, 2014
      @Jeanette S Thanks Jeanette - going to look for a screen today and I will move the bucket of pine cones, it's nice to hear other views.
  • Doris Doris on Sep 16, 2014
    Plank wall above fireplace
  • Jen Jen on Sep 16, 2014
    Designed to sell is what I would do! Had the same issue in our old craftsman. Someone had painted it flat white and it was ugly! Mixed up two colors of the Ralph Lauren sand paint and went to town. If its NOT the main source of heat (you are in Maine, and Im from Winthrop originally) Go for it!
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    • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Sep 19, 2014
      If this is a working fireplace, it is a gem. Make it look like it's used with a screen and tools, and grate with logs on it ready to light.
  • Susan Matchett Susan Matchett on Sep 16, 2014
    Love this! Are there vents on the front? Mine has one behind the top bricks but we don't use the fireplace so I love the idea of covering it up with something.
    • Sharon Sharon on Sep 16, 2014
      @Susan Matchett There are no vents to this fireplace and we don't use ours either.
  • Carol Carol on Sep 16, 2014
    I once had an old farmhouse with a fireplace and oven in the kitchen. Someone painted it white. I would have loved the old brick. The latest owner covered it ib breadboard and faux brick. I still would prefer it left alone. I would probably sandblast it or hire someone to redo it with old bricks. My rule of thumb is "first do no harm". I love your built ins and would leave them alone as they are not cluttered. They would look strange empty. I would add a fire screen and a fire grate.
    • Sharon Sharon on Sep 16, 2014
      @Carol Thanks Carol - I did a lot of checking blogs about arranging bookcases and thought I did a fairly decent job. Checking out screens and a grate today. Then will check & see if I can find some white birch to lay on the grate.
  • Patti Paints Patti Paints on Sep 16, 2014
    I freshened up my old fireplace by spray painting the inside a flat black with heat resistant spray paint for BBQ’s. It looks awesome now. You can clean the bricks with a equal parts muriatic acid (find it at pool supply stores) and water. It’ll clean the brick like new. Take necessary precautions to protect your skin.
  • Gwen Gwen on Sep 17, 2014
    Sharon, I've kept the inside of my fireplace the color of when I moved in. Wouldn't black make it seem like a dark pit? What would your candles dance light off of? You won't have a real fire which produces greater light. Just a thought. Another thing I've done because I do not use my fireplace ( illegal due to bad air) is to use logs and toss randomly--white lights inside. My friend uses the LED battery timer ones which seem expensive at first but the bulbs are bright now and last forever!! And use little power. Just another lighting idea
  • I agree. Do not spray inside, or do anything other then perhaps the screen and some bright white birch logs to create a focal point. Let the new owners decide what it is that they like. Its not going to increase any value by spending money on it. It fits the room nicely and if its properly staged it will help sell the room.
  • Jen Jen on Sep 17, 2014
    I took 3 birch logs that fit the exact length of the grate...on one..drilled 3 holes wide enough for the candles...Wrapped the 3 birch logs together with twine...Only used the candles! Ambiance..and helped sell our house!
  • Jen Jen on Sep 17, 2014
    and trust me! As someone who practices and preaches Historic Preservation...the LAST thing Id EVER want to do is paint brick! Ours was already painted and had tried everything except sandblasting. I inlaid the tiles above the fireplace and gave it some pop!
  • Ozzys Girl Ozzys Girl on Sep 17, 2014
    If you want to change the brick, like we did . Check out Air Stone from Lowes. We now have a rock fireplace all you do is glue it to the brick. And you can cut it with it a hack saw. Email me and I can send you some pics of what we have done.
  • Jill McLaughlin Jill McLaughlin on Sep 17, 2014
    Thank you for the response on the candles and birch wood. Love it!