Asked on Feb 18, 2017

Need ideas for limestone brick wall, PLEASE!

Sue Ri
by Sue Ri
I would love for any ideas anyone has about doing something with whole wall of limestone brick! The builder must'very got a really good deal on this stuff because this isn't the only wall like this inside the house that I have and since my house is a tri-level, it covers most of the house on the outside! It's very uneven and a real ugly gray. I would love to have a nice wood mantel but all the brick shelves are in the way. We don't use the fireplace at all. Thank you in advance!
q need ideas for limestone brick wall please, concrete masonry
q need ideas for limestone brick wall please, concrete masonry
  23 answers
  • Johnchip Johnchip on Feb 18, 2017
    Atually it is kind of awesome. But it is a bit Flintsone-like to have to live with. I would suggest thinking of drywalling off parts of it or at least top half. Otherwise embrace it and decorate it with all primitive, natural, and stone / clay/wood style items.

    • See 3 previous
    • Johnchip Johnchip on Feb 20, 2017
      Oh, yes. I would have a carpenter lay out the framing. They would plumb out the horizontal plane by drilling or nailing into the grout line then attaching the vertical boards to attach the drywall. Your new wall would be a couple inches out from the stone.

  • Sam Sam on Feb 18, 2017
    first, I think i'd chip off the shelves. (I did this in a friends home. it takes time but can be done w patience.) then maybe paint the fireplace w cream color paint.
    remove the front panel of stone from below the lip of the 'seat' in front of the fireplace and replace it with wood. maybe shiplap boarding. painting that as well to match.
    I think i'd eve remove the stone from the side wall as well.
    it was designed to make the fire place look bigger, but has a dated look. i'd do the same kind of wood treatment on the wall.
    hang some wonderful rustic looking window (or something with wood that would compliment the other wood treatment) w something on it on the wall above the fire place. to tie the wood and stone together.
    also find a few gems to place on either side of the opening (wood in a basket, dried arrangement etc) two items on one side, dif heights and one on the other, a rather bold item.
    and I see a corner of the usual fat furniture in the picture. get new furniture. something with style that will tie the room tog.

    • Sue Ri Sue Ri on Feb 18, 2017
      I have been trying to figure out how much work it would be to remove the shelves then cover the holes up with what? I figure I will probably paint but hubby isn't real thrilled with the idea.

  • Sue Sue on Feb 18, 2017
    I had the same type of brick on my fireplace and hated it. My junior high age grandson and I removed all of the brick ourselves with hammers and wrecking bars. What a change. I had to rent a small jackhammer to get some of the cement at the base of the seat but that took less then an hour. I now have a tiled area around my fireplace to the ceiling and on the floor where the seat was.

  • Lindcurt Lindcurt on Feb 18, 2017
    Those little shelves were very popular in mid century décor. Not so much now. I would definitely get the opinion of a stone mason before attempting to remove them. My childhood home had a "heat-a-lator" feature in it that had the vents at the floor and up high also. It draws cool air into the bottom vents and expels it through the top vents as heated air. That would affect the placement of a new mantle.
    It may not be the mantle color that you dislike so much, as how it looks next to a pure white wall. Trying some color on the walls may change your whole outlook on the color of the limestone.

  • Sam Sam on Feb 18, 2017
    you don't have to take the shelves completely out. you chip away at them until they are level with the other stones. when almost there, try to chip as close to what the other stones look like... I have done this to at least three fireplaces that had that dated style to them. it worked out well. but it does take time. it is worth it in the end. really... it is!
    note: while chipping wear eye protection and chip from one side to the other not straight down or into the rock. you will have to purchase a tool to do this, but my first one I did using a very hefty screw driver. though that fireplace only had two small shelves on it. :)
    good luck!
    oh and I know husbands don't like the idea of painted anything but I've gone ahead and painted letting hubby know, he'll really like it when it is done and he always has! :)

    • Sue Ri Sue Ri on Feb 19, 2017
      I will have to check that out, thanks! I would hire you to do that if you lived nearby!

  • Sam Sam on Feb 19, 2017
    yes, I love doing projects like this. if I lived closer, i'd sure help.
    after looking at the pic again. i'd for sure take down the corner shelves, and the brick on the one wall. then i'd paint the walls w a soft sage color (if you like greens that is... I do) then see if you like the color of the stone before you'd paint the actual fire place. and if you added the wood down below, make sure you leave the vents in. they are important. didn't mention those before.
    but wood on the bottom would give it a more "gentle" look. not so severe.
    most people don't like that type of stone because it is not that interesting to look at and is kind of linier. but it can be warmed up and made nice. hang in there!

    • Sue Ri Sue Ri on Feb 21, 2017
      Thanks! Never thought about using wood on just the bottom.....

  • Mak Meyers Mak Meyers on Feb 19, 2017
    It is so beautiful, sad that it isn't your taste. :(

  • Kristi H. Kristi H. on Feb 20, 2017
    If you can manage to chip-off triangle shelves and front shelves, I would cover left side and below hearth with wood, maybe shiplap (as was suggested) and add a chunky mantle (nothing traditional or ornate). I think this might help to break it up a little. I would think twice before painting it, limestone is porous and could be troublesome. At least it is neutral and not obnoxious color. ;)

  • Lee Lee on Feb 20, 2017
    How about covering the shelfs with wood (painted or stained) design to fit and cover the shelf. These could be in a depth of your choosing and color and would sit on top the original shelf. constration adhesive would ahear wood to stone. Buying the limestone today would almost be cost prohibitive for many people today. The wood shelf would be similar to how faux beams are constructed and a fixed. Hope you will follow up on your finished project

    • See 1 previous
    • Lee Lee on Feb 21, 2017
      Maybe you know someone that can "photo shop" and they can show you an idea of how it would look.

    I kinda like the idea of chipping away the shelves and then using a liquid shoe polish with the foam tip to add some colour to the individual bricks.

  • Pamela Koleas Pamela Koleas on Feb 21, 2017
    Paint can do wonders. Even if you paint it and don't like it, you can always then demolish it. Honestly, the brick has the general appearance of stack stone which is so much in demand these days. You could also try "dry painting" random bricks. I'd work with what you've got. It's pretty awesome

  • Sam Sam on Feb 21, 2017
    I have a friend who had a fire place like this too and they did not like the vertical pieces where the vent was, so they (we, she and I ) took the vertical pieces out (yes, by chipping away and no it does not cause structural damage)
    and you can replace w another decorative venting pc. wood or metal. or you can line the inside w faux brick and leave them open. any of those options are nice.
    we happened to find some brushed brass floor vents that fit perfectly for hers.
    good luck!

    • See 2 previous
    • Sam Sam on Mar 01, 2017
      I suppose he would know best. we did it with masonry chisels... that is all we used. took us a bit to do it.. but we did. the first one we took off all we had was a hammer and a very large screw driver that i'd found at a garage sale. but then we got the chisels for the rest.
      I suppose a grinder would go a great deal faster... then chisel in as close as possible a stone look to make them look good.
      good luck! hope to see a picture!

  • Clay B Clay B on Feb 21, 2017
    I would chip away the triangle corners. Paint the brick. build floating box shelves to place over the stone shelves. I nice stained wood would look nice. Maybe also look at pre-made mantle kits. Try to make the mantle the focal point; and this would look better than an open hole. Also get a screen for the fireplace; even if you don't use it.

  • Lee Lee on Feb 21, 2017
    make a shelf out of cardboard similar to making a cornice for windows

  • Sue Ri Sue Ri on Feb 22, 2017
    Thanks to all for the awesome ideas! I will try my best to post the end results!

  • Jcraw Jcraw on Feb 22, 2017
    The limestone is gorgeous, although a bit overwheming. I agree with chipping away the silly corner shelves.
    Hang (with brick hangars from HD) a very large picture or beautiful rug to flatter your furnishings on that flat wall. Eliminate the small tchakes from all the shelves. Scale is totally wrong.
    Stack some birch logs in fireplace or 7 or so assorted height candles (real or fake) candles in firebox.
    Ignore the shelves above firebox completely and get a pair of tall interesting jardinieres to complement the picture/rug you've hung. Milk cans? There are lots of reasonably priced wooden and "iron" umbrella holders available on line and in stores. You want a pair, something a bit shiny or interesting in your style to offer a different texture than the limestone. I'd fill with real or faux tall grasses,
    Easier than painting, staining, or figuring how to hang a full mantle.
    Thats my lazy two cents opinion.

  • Sam Sam on Feb 22, 2017
    we started out using a heavy duty very large screw driver, but the handle kind of got banged apart, but it did work well for smaller tight areas. we then bought a chisel made for concrete. you can get one at menards or any place like that. tell them you want to chip away stone. they will point you to the right thing.
    I can't remember exactly what it is called. I think they are just called: Masonry Chisels. get a good set. they cost a bit, but are well worth it and we always tend to find a use for ours for other projects as well.

    • Sue Ri Sue Ri on Feb 22, 2017
      Thank you! Have some Menard rewards sitting here just for those!

  • Sue Ri Sue Ri on Feb 22, 2017
    Thank you!

  • Sam Sam on Feb 22, 2017
    great! hope you can post a pic when its all done! it will look wonderful!
    you may even not end up painting it w the addition of the wood, minus the one wall of stone and the new vents! who knows!

  • Sam Sam on Feb 23, 2017
    there are no holes to cover up if you chip only to the depth of the rest of the stone.

  • Lee Lee on Feb 23, 2017
    Have someone with Photoshop to design shelves to your photo or take cardboard and make foux shelves. Paint or color you are thinking. Home Depot oops paint is an affordable paint The shelf would be made similar to building a cornice for drapery top

  • Carly Smith Carly Smith on Mar 09, 2017
    Paint it all a flat white! Build a wide wood mantle in front of the limestone (the base would be the step part) from the wall to the right all the way to the beginning of the bend there. Keep the shelves and use them to hold plants... The limestone is nice if done in the right way..... good luck!

  • Sue Ri Sue Ri on Mar 10, 2017
    Thank you!