Visualizing the fireplace makeover

A few months ago I introduced the idea of making over my fireplace with all of you. If you missed that post you can jump over here to read about it. My fireplace originally looked like this, which worked with the house before I started going and changing everything.

Fireplace with stacked stone and built-ins | suburban bitches

When the reclaimed wood wall went up the fireplace and wood wall started fighting. And I couldn’t help but think that the fireplace felt too rustic for the room and without much in terms of plans, I had the rock taken off of the fireplace. And then I threw out some ideas for ways to make over the fireplace and had you guys vote on your favorite. Then winner of that vote was this metal fireplace screen, which was my favorite of the options as well.

metal screen fireplace found on Porch | suburban bitches

Now one of the most common questions I get when people come into my house is “what are you going to do with your fireplace?”. Totally valid question when you see a glaring eyesore of exposed drywall in a otherwise finished room. And a question I wish I could answer for you right now, BUT, I can’t. Because, yes, I think that metal fireplace screen is awesome and would look super great in my room. I’m just not sure it’s enough to make me really like that wall. For one thing, the current fireplace insert doesn’t have a blower fan on it so when we turn on the fireplace the only heat that comes out stays right in front of the fireplace, which is a really crappy way to heat a room. I figure if I’m going to commit to making over the fireplace I should probably start with a insert that can actually distribute heat throughout the house. Enter the more modern fireplace insert that I love-

modern fireplace from Hayneedle | suburban bitches

Everytime I kept thinking about what else to do with the wall surrounding the fireplace my mind kept going back to my design mantra- WWED? What would Emily do? As in, what would my design goddess Emily Henderson do if she walked into my house, and I handed her a glass of champagne, and then got her really drunk so that we could laugh and tell each other how happy we are that we finally met. Oh yeah, and hopefully she would give me the BEST idea of what to do with the fireplace. And that’s what happened folks! Well, not in that exact sequence of events. Instead I took advantage of the Emily Henderson’s team e-design services to ask them what they would suggest for my fireplace. They gave me two ideas for the space:

fireplace design #1 from Emily Henderson | suburban bitches


fireplace design #2 from Emily Henderson | suburban bitchesI liked both options and was actually surprised that they suggested to keep the hearth as is. I was more drawn to option #1 as it brought in more white and seemed overall more modern than the second option. I got to work in Photoshop to mock up each option in my space.

Option #1:

fireplace rendering with shiplap | suburban bitches


I put a more modern fireplace insert in this picture and I really like the shiplap with the new insert. But then those darn built-in’s jump out at me, and they always do because they aren’t symmetrical. Which is really, really hard for my brain which loves symmetry. And the tv seems in a weird place and those shelves- what do you fill all the shelves with????? Then my mom tells me, just rip out everything and start over. That’s crazy mom! Or is it??? See the longer I sit here and wait on this makeover the more likely my husband is to tell me to do whatever with it. He has no interest in hearing about the cost/benefit ratio of each option and after almost 10 years of marriage has figured out that happy wife really does mean happy life. Cut to option #2-

Option #2:

shiplap fireplace with modern insert | suburban bitches


Built-in’s gone, shiplap across entire wall, a larger fireplace insert, and the tv gets moved above the reclaimed wood mantel. This makes my symmetrical eye happier. The wall seems less cluttered and I don’t have to fill shelves with chotskies. And I think that we could modify the drawers to hold any tv components. (Are you all wondering where the mock-up is for Option #2 from Emily Henderson? I did it and didn’t like it. Didn’t even save it. You’ll have to trust me on that one). The only thing I’m not sure about is the similarity of the shiplap to the reclaimed wood wall in terms of linearity.

And then there is Option #3:

Option #3:

tile fireplace wall with live edge hearth | suburban bitches


Here’s what I’m trying to show with Option #3. The walls are covered with a large format tile that has some texture to it, set in a brick set pattern. The natural stone hearth is replaced with a live edge hearth. Tv goes above mantel and sconces flank the tv. This is my favorite option of the three. Only problem is, I have no clue if it is even feasible to find a live edge hearth of this size. It would have to be huge, which means super expensive I’m sure. I do like the large format tiles on the wall, as it is a clear break from the reclaimed wood wall.

Now, it’s your turn to weigh in. Which one do you like? And again- any and all other options greatly appreciated!

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12 Responses to Visualizing the fireplace makeover

  1. Elaine says:

    Definitely an improvement with either option….you might also consider updating the drawers below the hearth, maybe 3 large drawers instead of 9 small – less clutter looking.
    Sconces don’t do much for me, but really like the fireplace with new mantel and TV placement. Love the idea of live hearth instead of the heavy stone slab. Either tile or ship lap…either work…ship lap might be a warmer look.

  2. Anni says:

    I’m with mom and starting all over. I really like option 2, although I think 3 would work too. I don’t think the shiplap will be too similar to the wood wall since it will be wider pieces and solid white. I love the sconces and the mantle style too. This will be an exciting project!

  3. Option #1 or 2. Shiplap all the way!!!!

  4. Dana says:

    I say #3! I think the tile would work well with the reclaimed wood wall. (As opposed to am the white painted ship lap next to the reclaimed wood.) The live edge idea is fantastic, but I think any would slab would look good too. Excited to see what you choose!
    Also, if you invite Emily Henderson over and get drunk- you totally have to let me come over too! Love her!

    • Erin says:

      Dana you’re totally on my invite list. We’ll have to wait until she pops baby #2 out and maybe until she’s done breastfeeding so we can really get her drunk.

  5. Kristin says:

    What if you made the open shelving on the right the same size as the left, then make the shelves taller (like only 1 shelf in each area above & below the dividers instead of 2)? That would still allow for a larger fireplace & TV above. And I’m digging the white ship-lap.

    Either way I like Elaine’s suggestion of making those 9 drawers into 3. Maybe you could just put a new front to cover 3 and they would just open together so you don’t have to change the actual drawer situation.

    • Erin says:

      Doing a little mock up of that. I think for sure changing the 9 drawers into 3 will clean things up. And not a bad idea to keep the shelves on the sides to provide a break between the shiplap and the wood wall.

  6. Amy Ehmann says:

    Hi Erin! I personally would do a modified option 1. I would take out the shelves on the left and dos stacked wood in that space all the way up to the top. I would have someone concrete over the current hearth if possible. Something like this – I love the 3 drawer idea too! Can’t wait to see the finished space!

    • Erin says:

      Hi Amy,
      I actually have one mock up where I put wood storage on the side of the fireplace! Great minds think alike. Seven different mockups later and I think I might actually have the final plan! Thanks for your smart suggestions!!

    • Erin says:

      And yes- aren’t those countertops from Chris Loves Julia AMAZING!!! I immediately thought of my fireplace when I saw that reveal. Their kitchen is spectacular!!