Asked on Mar 08, 2015

Hideous fireplace

Adam Stephens
by Adam Stephens
I love my old house but this fireplace is a nightmare. Its even bigger in person and dominates the room. Its an eyesore but its so big I don't know what (if anything) I can do. Any ideas for how I can fix this giant eyesore?
q hideous fireplace, fireplaces mantels, home improvement, how to
  36 answers
  • Bette Miller Wolfert Bette Miller Wolfert on Mar 08, 2015
    What a shame. I think it is beautiful. I have friends who have built similar fireplaces in their homes. I would love to see you make peace with this beauty. Add some old pots filled with bright colorful flowers, and search the antique stores for some old cooking utensils [ like graters, sieves, and such, not too big], and hang them on or around the fireplace. One big jug or urn [maybe an old milk jug] on the floor in the corner filled with some tall reeds or seasonal things [corn husks, pussy willows, dried grasses, etc]. You can change them out depending on the season. Please don't destroy the character of this lovely fireplace.

  • CK CK on Mar 08, 2015
    Well, it is big ;-) I have some suggestions. However without seeing the rest of the room, they may not make sense. What is the style of the rest of your room? That would be very helpful in giving suggestions/comments.

    • Adam Stephens Adam Stephens on Mar 08, 2015
      @CK room is 11x16. I haven't even tried doing anything yet because I'm at a loss. We like the rustic style of the house but this fireplace is a little overbearing...

  • Lee Cunningham Green Lee Cunningham Green on Mar 08, 2015
    That is one of the oddest fireplaces I have ever seen and I have seen some very big fireplaces. Perhaps you could cover the non functioning parts of the fireplace with drywall and visually shrink it. I would do that with the bit on the left of the picture, that extra bit really distorts the shape. Then I would Break up the color of the stone by adding a mantle Something to seperate the fireplace from the chimney a bit, even consider boxing the chimney in completely and adding shelving on either side where the natrual recess occours. Good luck.

  • Christine Christine on Mar 08, 2015
    I feel your pain! First I would remove all the stone cladding on the wall and floor! And create a more modern and serene look for the fireplace to balance it out with your outdoor space (Swimming pool). And all that cladding just makes your home look heavy and it doesn't really go with everything else. Remove the cladding, fix the walls and paint it. I am thinking a minimal fireplace area would go really well in your home: And i would install the existing flooring where the stone tile are now. Good Luck with renovating the fireplace! If you need more help or guidance please feel free to reach out to me at for a free 30 min. design consultation.

  • 9530106 9530106 on Mar 08, 2015
    Funny, but I think, though massive, the fireplace could really be awesome. What my eye was more drawn to was the brick on the wall, the built ins, and all the wood. I myself, would eliminate the brick on the wall if I could, and try to someway give all the different wood (beams, floor, bookcases, etc.) a more cohesive look. I guess what I mean is that I notice too much going on in the room so to speak. I can see sitting by that massive fireplace in a big overstuffed chair, with a beverage and a good magazine! :)

    • See 1 previous
    • Lisa Kaplan Gordon Lisa Kaplan Gordon on Mar 09, 2015
      @Amy Ogden-Paparone I'd leave it alone, too, and design the room around it. You don't see such impressive fireplaces these days. I might lay a different hearth with a contrasting color, which will make the stone seem less massive.

  • Lee Cunningham Green Lee Cunningham Green on Mar 08, 2015
    @C_ann_g I have to agree with you there the bricks certainly do add to the off balance feeling of the room.

  • CK CK on Mar 08, 2015
    Yes, the fireplace is quite 'unique' but if you like the rustic look it imparts, then go for it big time :-) It reminds me of fireplace one might see in old houses built in the late 1600-1700's in the area that would become the early United States. Fireplaces then were a lot about function: heating the room as well as cooking. This one looks like it could be used for cooking because it's so big. ;-) My suggestion would be to incorporate that early Americana look into the room. Now....the other side of the room is 'the issue'. That sliding door/window is out of sync with the rest of the room. It looks very modern. I think it would be easier to bring that into the rustic look rather than take the look away from the end of the room with the fireplace. It might be done with the type of window treatments you use (eg. checks in black/tan or red/white) in an appropriate style to the period. The unique thing about your fireplace is that it appears to have been a 'room' unto itself....and that the other side of the room was the 'add on'. Hope this helps give you some direction :-) If you'd like more help you can contact me through my website. I do e-design too :-)

  • Katrina Warren Katrina Warren on Mar 09, 2015
    I love the fireplace, I agree with c_ann_g the wood of the built ins, the ceiling beams, & the flooring need more of a cohesive look, & I'd also get rid of the stone floor in front of the fireplace (or at the very least get rid of that jagged piece at the door) & match the flooring to the rest of the room.

  • Corinne Thomas Corinne Thomas on Mar 09, 2015
    Remove stones and replace with slates and a pretty mantel.

  • Renee Confere Renee Confere on Mar 09, 2015
    I would try PAINTING the WALL behind and around the sides in a slate gray the white wall makes it POP out and looks out of place, . Paint is cheap and if you don't like it your not out much money and can change it again

  • Peg Mitchell Peg Mitchell on Mar 09, 2015
    I think it could be amazing if only the dark of the floor in front of the fireplace was changed and the mantle stained maybe a reddish stain. Could really be a wow factor after the mantle is stained and decorated! At the very least, it can burn real wood!

  • Lois Martin Lois Martin on Mar 09, 2015
    I agree with Peg. The fireplace is awesome, but the flooring in front is overkill with the gray.

  • PainterNoni PainterNoni on Mar 09, 2015
    I love this fireplace! I would build on its unique character. Clump lots of plants (real or very good fakes).......mirrors & light to brighten. Or brightly covered cushions to use as extra seating. tone down everything else in the room. since this fireplace cannot be ignored........celebrate it......make your indoors into an outdoor looking area. Some kind of lighted indoor fountain that looks like water is coming out of a rocky hillside..... The possibilities are endless.

  • Xie Xie on Mar 09, 2015
    Wow. Very commanding. I think I would be a little scared to tackle this as a whole. I think I would work in steps and see where it led me. First I would take the stone off the corner wall on the left side. Then I would change the floor in front to match the rest of the room. I think that alone will reduce the impact. From there you might be able to find vision for the final look. Good luck!

  • I say you should sheetrock most of it and leave only the open area. .ours was an ugly yellow brick.. my husband screwed 1x1 wood trips on the brick then put 1/4 inch sheetrock up taped and floated and I used a plaster paint to give texture then you have a smooth wall to work with to finish however you like. Then we found this great mantel on Craigslist.

  • Me Me on Mar 09, 2015
    Modern tile and sleek fireplaces are all the rage but will soon pass by as another trend. The natural stone is really earthy and "green". I think that if you paint all the dark wood a soft white, the whole room will open up and the fireplace won't be quite so oppresive.

  • Jea1141438 Jea1141438 on Mar 09, 2015
    There's aways paint and being creative. The least expensive.

  • Carol Carol on Mar 09, 2015
    Don't touch that fireplace. it goes with the house. Look at your exposed ceiling joists. Get rid of the white. Doll it up with primitives. Put an old pic above the opening...some old iron tools. Go get old issues of country magazines. It's "pure" to the house.

  • 153091 153091 on Mar 09, 2015
    Take a real good photo of this, get it enlarged 8x10 or larger. Then cut out different colors that are same size as your walls...then the floor and so on. Place the cutout color samples on the photo, see how it would look. This way you have a color vision before you paint and change it. I would get rid of the white brick, the color of door to right, the white panels on each side. Just cut shapes the same size, different colors and see what you like.

  • Trudy Trudy on Mar 09, 2015
    LOVE the fireplace! yes, it is massive but it is also historical. I agree with @krginorio that the sleek fireplace trend will pass. I like Jan's idea to help you play round with colors to make less of a stark contrast between the stone and white wall. The white painted brick is hideous. Could you strip that and use the exposed earthy red tones as your accent color? The built ins need to be darkened so they feel less modern.

  • Dianne Dianne on Mar 09, 2015
    It's really quite nice. I love it, it has a place for wood storage and everything.. I think I'd find someone who could weld a swing arm, find an old cast iron kettle and make it look moe homey and inviting. And yes, the flooring right in front would make a huge difference if it were several shades lighter. Please don't tear it out or sheet rock over it....(;

  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Mar 10, 2015
    Certainly is a focal point! Can't really tell what is going on with the wall on the left. If this wall (s) are cladded then I agree with getting rid of it - overkill. Looks like there is also an irregular pattern on the stone in front? I'd even it out. Think you need something large - huge jug and some wrought iron. I'd also put a medium colour on the walls so there isn't so much contrast.

  • Val Maine Val Maine on Mar 10, 2015
    Stone fireplaces are really back in fashion here in Australia. I would paint wall behind and then decorate with pewter plates with maybe a green cascading plant as well. celebrate the whole thing!

  • Teresa Parsons Teresa Parsons on Mar 10, 2015
    Remove the outer stone and sheetrock the sides. You can even distress some of the stones to lighten the area. A silver mirror would help lighten the area and reflect light.

  • Country Design Home Country Design Home on Mar 10, 2015
    Hey Adam! A lot of folks have weighed in here, I think because of the uniqueness of this room! So here's my two cents worth without doing major construction/destruction. Without touching the actual fireplace, the other most distracting thing to me is the white brick wall next to the bookcases. In this room, you have very rustic cream stucco walls and heavy wooded beams with the massive stone fireplace. But then you have the shiny white brick wall and the light oak, more modern bookcases. In my opinion, those are the two elements that don't work here. If the brick is staying, then I would stucco and paint it to match the remaining walls, then paint out those bookcases as well. If you cannot remove the large stone floor area, then I would add a rug (braided would work well in this style room, or bearskin if you want to go really funky) and add some seating for you to enjoy the fireplace. Perhaps a couple of tall wingbacks and a round game table. Refinish the wood part of the floor in a slightly darker brown to complement the beams, then add slipcovered sofa, overstuffed chairs, rustic tables and perhaps an antique sideboard or hutch. Good luck! Please show your after pics!

  • Stacy | BlakeHillHouse Stacy | BlakeHillHouse on Mar 10, 2015
    I am wondering if the unusual shape is because it is hiding some duct work or something necessary that needed to be covered up. If so, a demo may reveal a separate issue, so remember to build in a cushion for your costs.

  • Chris Mullican Chris Mullican on Mar 10, 2015
    Lighten some ofthe stones to ligher shade. Maybe a hint ofcolor to stones , really pale colors.

  • Amy Bennett Amy Bennett on Mar 10, 2015
    PAINT IT! 😃😃 I love that look but not everyone does! So I would follow Jan B 's advice and use a model till you find the color that's right for you. You can also paint it to look like marble! Those are beautiful! My dad has a big one like this and used 3 different browns (light to dark) and his came out great!

  • Amy Bennett Amy Bennett on Mar 10, 2015
    You can also paint the sides the color of your wall and accent the grout lines to make it look smaller 😃

  • Cheri' Harris Cheri' Harris on Mar 11, 2015
    Add windows over the areas that are walls that is the only difference I'd make it is beautiful

  • CanadianGardenJoy CanadianGardenJoy on Mar 11, 2015
    natural stone is beautiful .. maybe remove the outcrop area on the left side to make the fireplace become more "flush" with the wall and then a soft white wash so it all blends into the wall instead of looking so intimidating ?

  • Deirdre Sullivan Deirdre Sullivan on Mar 12, 2015
    Here are some great fireplace makeovers you should check out: There are lots of different materials you can use to reface it.

  • Kay Kay on Mar 17, 2015
    Believe it or not, I had a neighbor who took a hammer and chisel to the grout and removed the stones. He then used them in his yard as edging! He then designed a new fireplace wall more to his liking.

  • Kayo Frazier Kayo Frazier on Mar 18, 2015
    Here's my 2 cents...I would streamline, keep the middle part of the fireplace as it is, it's beautiful. I would demo the 2 stone sides. Plus the weird short white wall coming from the ceiling w/ the sconce sticking out of it. Then sheet rock & paint the new walls white. You can add a mix of artwork & floating shelves for books & knickknacks on both sides of the fireplace. I would replace the mantel w/ a chunky, thick one w/ corbels & paint it black maybe even distress it as well.. You can also, sheet rock in between the wooden beams on the ceiling & paint them white. The short wall w/ the bricks...If it's not structural or has duct work behind it, you might want to remove it & push it back so that it is flush w/ the door. This will open up the room even more. Last thing, the floors I would get a medium shade of cherry/mahogany stain wood floors. For any furnishings I would keep them on the light side w/ pops of color in jewel tones. This will help lighten the heavier wood beams above & the floor. Hope this helps.

  • 75591 75591 on Mar 19, 2015
    I love the fireplace.

  • PainterNoni PainterNoni on Mar 20, 2015
    I still think that this could be the jewel of your entire house.......again...bring mirrors, lighting, geenery....perhaps a quiet water could be like an indoor "garden folly". Why try to turn it into some cookie cutter type wall?