Meet our new fireplace.
It’s a perfect example of how less can be more. Can’t recall what’s missing? Hint: It’s shiny. It’s gold.
Our gold fireplace surround and glass doors looked out of place against the flagstone wall, and we’ve been thinking a lot about our options.
We received concessions at closing to take care of chimney damage, and deeply regret not making those improvements immediately as it’s the coldest winter we can remember. The main holdup in planning repairs related to whether we should keep it wood-burning, or convert it to gas. [At the time of publishing] we’re not 100% decided on this yet, though we agree that having a high-efficiency woodburning insert would be great considering we have a nearly infinite supply of wood from our own property. (Editor’s Update: After living with it as shown for several years, we finally upgraded to a gas fireplace.)
In removing the insert, I was actually setting out to paint the gold. I even bought two cans of high-heat black matte spray paint to make due until we’re ready to make a more permanent upgrade. It wasn’t until I had the gold surround off that I realized our new, fully revealed fireplace looked totally kick ass. I could never put it back on now, even if it is painted black.
How to Unclip a Fireplace Cover
Removing a fireplace cover like ours was easier than I expected. Ours was attached from within using a series of 4 clamps (one in each corner). There were no unsightly screw holes, and also, no damage to the stone whatsoever. Who knew? Not me. Obviously, or else I might have taken this gold feature to the curb long ago.
We haven’t spent any time using the fireplace, aside from making sure the doors open and close. In fact, it was loaded with spiderwebs and pieces of insulation. So, as you can imagine, it was a joyous adventure in dodging wispy webs.
After the clamps are loosened from within, the fireplace cover will pull right off the wall. It’s like removing the picture frame from a beautiful painting. Just be cautious if you’re doing this at home because it is heavy and you may want an extra hand to prevent any tile/stone/brick scratches.
Clean the Fireplace
The fireplace needed a good cleaning to remove soot, spiderwebs, and other debris.
We scooped out some ash with a shove, then used the Shop Vac to suck up the micro-debris. I even loosened build-up on the iron grill using an old toothbrush.
I sold the shiny gold log holder on the hearth, opting for a midcentury-style instead. The version we “upgraded” to is actually much older, possibly the original set that was used with the house. We found it in the basement, and its clean lines are perfect for (the future display of) fireplace wood. Its cool shape is modern and minimal, so I think we’ll have it for a long time.
(Side note: Little deer friend was sold as an umbrella holder, but we like it as everyday decor. And we even popped a red nose on it around the holidays for Rudolph-effect.)
Now that I look back, the unobstructed stonework feels like the fireplace shown in our virtual tear sheet. Time to start thinking about adding a beautiful wooden mantle.
Staging the fireplace with several white birch logs is all I have in me right now, but I do love its simplicity. We had another large white birch branch go down this winter, so I’ll be able to add a few heavier pieces soon.
How many of you have let your fireplaces go au natural? Any positive or negative experiences with regards to having active fires and only a screen (not glass doors)?