Fireplace Redo

by William
When we moved into our house, it had a great fireplace. I mean a floor to ceiling, 8' high, 7' wide, and 2' deep fireplace. That was the first thing that you'd see when you walk into the house. A BIG BLACK HOLE ON THE WALL. Of course we wanted a fireplace, but not a monster that like that. We lived with it, for a few years, wondering what to do with it. My son suggested we tear it down for a media center. No way. My ex (wife at the time) suggested I paint it a light neutral color. But if we were to change the room color in the future, I probably would have to repaint the fireplace again. I wanted something I could do once and not worry about later.
So I poked around and found out it was Z Brick. What?! Anybody remember Z Brick? Fake slices if a lightweight cement made to look like brick. The adhesive actually became the mortar joints.
This is a view on how monstrous it looks.
Next to the fireplace was a small "cubby" area.
So I took a week off from work and started to demo. Took down the Z Brick and drywall down to the studs. UUGGHH!
There was writing on the 2 x 4's from the people who constructed the fireplace. Construction wasn't bad, but wasn't good either.
Family members wrote their names and date on the 2 x 4's. Built in 1968. I had to add extra 2 x 4's for extra bracing and where a mantle could be mounted.
Covered everything with drywall and added a border of ceramic tiles around the doors. Nice start!
Lots of drywall compound. Looking pretty good!
Above the doors are the 2 x 4's for a mantle. Perfect.
Shopped around for fireplace mantle parts. Price was too prohibitive. WHAT?! So, I bought my own oak boards and started making my own mantle from pictures online from scratch. Perfect fit.
Finished fireplace. No longer a big black monster. Painted it one shade darker than the room. The "cubby" has some handmade shelves and a bunch of collectibles and family photos.
I think it came out alright.
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  2 questions
  • Sandie Sandie on Apr 21, 2016
    Wonderful transformation!!! I really like how you added the shelves as well. Been wanting to do that myself. Are they floating?

  • Jewellmartin Jewellmartin on Apr 23, 2016
    I had no idea how a modern fireplace is constructed. We were talking to a contractor today about possibly tearing down our fireplace, and our den wall is 18' tall. We had thought about a neutral paint, or tearing away just the half circle hearth that is 10" tall and sticks out almost two feet, or whatever we could do to open up the wall between the den and the kitchen. If your fireplace were not against an outside wall (ours is not, and is not load-bearing), would you have considered tearing it down? We never burn it, using an electric fireplace insert these days to take the chill out of the room. Thank you SO much for this informative post.

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  • Audrey Kuether Audrey Kuether on Jul 08, 2021

    Wow it looks great! Good job!

  • Donna Donna on Nov 21, 2022

    I’m leaning toward drywall(ing) the whole fireplace. Hubby knows how~ I like the smooth line look. Thank you! Your redesign looks really nice🇺🇸

    • William William on Nov 21, 2022

      Your welcome and thank you! It looked like a big black hole in the wall. I thought of painting it but it was way to big and still wouldn't look right. So I opted to tear it all out, drywall it, and build a mantle. I also like the smooth look. 👍️