This morning I turned off the air conditioning that has been running 24/7 for the past few months and opened up the windows. The crisp morning air chilled our toes as the kiddos curled up with their morning bowls of cereal and I had my coffee. I will say I am a sucker for Summer, but there is something so refreshing about the change of seasons, especially fall.
The days to come are only going to get cooler and cooler, and with so much change around us more families are spending time indoors and at home. While the kitchen is considered the “Heart of the Home” I have always been drawn to fireplaces as the gathering space for families and friends alike. It has become increasingly popular for homeowners to want to update their current fireplaces for this very reason.
In quick build homes the fireplace is often just another looked over feature that is put together without any real thought or creativity. I am here to help you change that so you can have the fireplace of your dreams without having to really invest too much into a renovation process.
Here are some ways to update your fireplaces without a hefty price tag or a labour intensive project.
The Prefab of Fireplaces
DreamCast, a Canadian company that was recently featured on Studio McGee’s very own Netflix hit series “Dream Home Makeover” offers some incredible handcrafted fireplace surrounds. Featured in the first episode of Dream Home Makeover one of their artisan pieces makes an appearance during the renovation. The DreamCast concrete surround can be customized, or you can select from their standard two sizes available. Coming in a variety of materials such as limestone and various colours allows for a seamless transition into any home. They make the installation hassle free by including all the necessary materials properly install your one of a kind surround.
To create a similar look like this (McGee and Co Image) try the DreamCast French Country surround (below) this particular surround is in colour “haze”.
The White Out
While I do like the appeal of a natural brick fireplace, sometimes it makes a space feel dark and congested. By painting the brick it gives it a fresh look with very little effort. A fresh coat of paint can actually be used on a lot of dated fireplace mantels and surrounds as a quick update without too much commitment. Simply White by Benjamin Moore is a nice warm white to use in a traditional style home for this project. Paint your brick and add a DreamCast surround to create this McGee and Co look.
When in Doubt, Bump it Out
It is common in new builder grade homes to see the fireplace with the insert mounted directly on the wall with no dimension, mantle or surround at all. Creating a “bump out” around the existing fireplace opens up a world of opportunity for your fireplace feature. You can create a floor to ceiling design, or mantel only. Either option can be finished in the tile of your choosing, paint, brick, the options are limitless. A contractor or someone handy might be required for this one but still a very affordable option to update the centre of your living room.
Tile Me Pretty
This one is a great affordable way to create a new focal point without the labour that some of the other options may require. By selecting a unique tile and mantle this can be done in a day’s work as long as there is no dismantlement of a pre-existing fireplace. It creates visual interest and doesn’t need to be a long-term commitment. The tile can be replaced with some drywall repairs and can be updated as your personal style changes.
The Shiplap Hasn’t Sailed
Shiplap, despite my initial thought, is here to stay. It continues to be a style we commonly see again and again in home redesigns. It adds a subtle visual interest to an otherwise bare or unused wall space. For an affordable fireplace update, creating a floor to ceiling shiplap elongates the room while remaining focused on the centre of the home and fireplace. Adding in a wood mantle gives the space an added touch of warmth with plenty of decor options to showcase your favourite pieces. Shiplap is commonly seen in white or a neutral shade, but try being a little bold with black, or an earthy tone for an added bonus of awesomeness.