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How to Remodel Your Fireplace

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The fireplace is often the most commanding element in any room it’s in. Size and abundance of material are often factors, but as renovation specialist Ron Parko points out, our eyes are naturally drawn to the darkest object in a room anyway. Oftentimes, that’s the firebox when it’s unlit. 

Naturally you want this element, and everything that surrounds it, to complement the rest of your home. In many older homes where large brick fireplaces prevail, this can pose a challenge. What do you do? Cover it, paint it, rip it out? Here’s what to consider. 

Project: Remodeling a fireplace wall.

Why: Replacing a fireplace wall is mostly an aesthetic choice, but besides pleasing you now, an updated fireplace can also can add resale value. 

Who to hire: Someone with plenty of experience remodeling fireplaces is recommended if the job is more than just drywalling or plastering. Someone like Rita Henry, will consult with clients through email and provide renderings and design plans so they can hire a local general contractor to do the actual work. 

Brick fireplaces are the most popular to replace. Henry says a quick and easy solution is to simply wrap the brick in either tile or wood, leaving the exposed brick for the firebox. “It’s a more updated look that’s one of the least expensive,” she says. And that way the brick will remain beneath the new material in case a future home buyer prefers brick. 

For the brick fireplace shown here, she wrapped the whole thing in tile. 

AFTER: The stone tile runs wall to wall, creating a dramatic look. It completely changed the tone of the living room in this Denver home

You could also choose to drywall or plaster over the brick, creating a blank canvas that you can then do pretty much anything you want with.
 

Painting is also an option. While Henry doesn’t prefer the look of painted brick, it’s a relatively inexpensive update that can easily be changed. 

For this project Henry ripped out all the existing elements, flattened the niche and cleaned up the wall. 

AFTER: A new mantel and built-ins transformed the space. Henry says an upgrade on this scale could be done for around $3,000.

Length of project: A standard drywall installation with mantel and surround can be completed in two days. A custom mantel or more extensive ductwork or electrical installation can take five or six weeks. 

For this 1950s fireplace, renovation specialist Ron Parko’s client wanted to add bookcases and extend the hearth to each wall.  

AFTER: Because the fireplace is off center, Parko tried to mask it while also extending it out. Raising the elevation made it dominant, while photos and accessories help distract the eye from the imbalance. 

Cost: Drywalling over a brick fireplace could run about $1,500. Parko says a 6-foot-wide floor-to-ceiling paint-grade oak or poplar fireplace with a tiled hearth could run around $2,000. Wrapping an entire fireplace wall in stone and adding a custom mantel could run around $9,000. The most expensive remodel Parko did was for $12,000, which included bookcases, hidden drawers and a mantel leg that concealed a shotgun. 

Permit needed: Only if you’re altering the firebox, adding a wood burner or converting to gas.

Best time of year to do this project: This is a year-round project, but if you’re considering adding hardwood to a room or doing anything to the walls, including painting, it’s best to do the fireplace first. 

Holiday Home Improvement Projects


Happy Holidays.jpg

The run-up to the holiday season is a good time to be taking care of home improvement projects. Friends and family will be dropping by a bit more frequently, so they’ll be able to see the fruit of your labors.

Even if your home isn’t a major social setting, if you’re like most of us, you tend to spend a bit more time indoors in the winter, so you might as well be making the most of your home for the people living in it: you.

Seal the driveway and fix those cracks in the sidewalk

Salt on the roads and frequent temperature changes can break down your entrance ways. Make a good impression on the outside of your home and avoid curious looks from guests thinking “was that crack always there?”

Home theatre area

You’ve got a big screen television and a great sound system. But what about the stand the TV rests on? How about the decor? You may want to look at custom cabinets or storage for your DVDs and related items. Is the couch your guests will be sitting on looking a bit worn? Upgrade and replace as needed. You may also want to consider mounting your flat screen television on a wall for more effective use of space and a sophisticated look. 

The kitchen: the most used room in the house

When you’ve got company over for the holidays, even if the main event may be in the living room, people naturally gravitate towards the kitchen for an extra cup of cocoa or a gingerbread cookie from the pantry. Think about new cabinets, solid slab countertops or a coat of paint that brightens up the room can create a welcoming feel. And if you’ve upgraded your kitchen utilities like your dishwasher, you’ll have an easier time after the party is done.

Bathroom fix-ups

New tiles and re-grouting can add a fresh look to your bathroom. Maybe it’s also time to add touches like a new mirror, shower curtain or bathroom mat.

Designer fireplace and maintenance

A lot of holiday parties tend to center around the fireplace. Custom fireplaces that double as art installations are becoming more popular. More homes are also including them in other parts of the house besides the living room, such as in the kitchen or master bedroom.

If installation is a bigger job than you were thinking and you’ve already got a working fireplace, at least get your maintenance done, cleaning it up, checking connections and ventilation and ensuring cracks in the mantle or other areas get sealed properly.

Give yourself a home improvement schedule

You’re not going to want to deal with dust and packaging from home improvement projects while your guests are arriving. Give yourself plenty of time to work through your improvements, and don’t bit off more than you can chew. Give yourself a realistic list to accomplish and if you can’t get it done before New Year’s Eve, well, there’s always next year.

An Angie’s List Guide: Add Value to Your Home

Six Remodeling Tips to Add Value to Your Home

Are you thinking about remodeling or updating your home? Here are a few tips that you can use to add value to your home:

Add a fireplace: Install an energy efficient fireplace to any room to add warmth and coziness. They are not only useful and add functionality to your home, but also create a great decorating space.

Install a bay window: Beautify your space by installing a bay window. There are many ways you can use this feature. Create a place to enjoy breakfast by adding chairs and a side table. Add a bench and comfy pillows to create a great lounging area. Incorporate a bay window near your bed for a more enjoyable place to wake up to. Imagine starting your day with abundant natural light!

Upgrade your kitchen: Give your kitchen a fresh coat of paint, install new countertops, upgrade your plumbing fixtures, replace old appliances with energy efficient ones or change out your backsplash with ceramic tiles. 

Add a deck: Everyone enjoys the outdoors. Add a deck for a quick and easy way to expand your home’s living space. Add a bench and a chair, and you will have a new place to relax and entertain.

Replace your windows: Replacing your dated windows with energy efficient windows is a great investment. Old windows not only let in the cold air but also allow warm air to enter, causing your heating and cooling bills to be higher than needed. Old windows are usually dull and faded, so replacing the windows also freshens up your curb appeal.

Update your entryway: Your entry way is the first place people see when they visit. Update both the inside and out to be more welcoming. Improve your staircase if you have one. Paint the risers, consider new spindles, railings and newels. Freshen the landscaping around your entry by cutting back overgrown bushes. Declutter your walkway if need be and ad some fun planters or flower beds with bright, vibrant flowers. 


Kinner Built Homes - West 31st Street Development - Stairs and Entry Way