Meet our new fireplace.
It’s a perfect example of how less can be more. Can’t recall what’s missing? Hint: Shiny gold.
That particular gold fireplace front looked out of place against the flagstone wall, and we’ve been thinking a lot about replacement options. We received concessions at closing to take care of chimney damage, and we deeply regret not getting around to making those improvements in the fall since it’s the coldest winter we can remember. The main holdup in planning repairs relates to whether we should keep it wood burning, or convert it to gas. 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.
In removing the insert, I was actually setting out to paint the heck out of the gold, even bought two cans of high-heat black matte spray paint with the intention of making due with the fireplace cover that we have until we’re ready to make a more permanent upgrade. It wasn’t until I had it off, that I realized that the new, fully revealed fireplace looked totally kick ass, so there’s no way it’s going back on now, even if it is upgraded to a pretty black finish.
Removing a fireplace cover like ours was actually a lot easier than I expected. Ours attached from within using a series of 4 clamps to lock it in place (one in each corner), and there were no unsightly screw holes or damage to the stone to speak of. Who knew? Not me. Obviously, or else I might have taken this gold feature to the curb last June.
Short of making sure that the sliding doors worked during our inspection, we haven’t spent any time playing with the fireplace. In fact, it was loaded with spiderwebs and pieces of insulation, a joyous adventure in dodging wispy webs.
After the clamps are loosened from within, the cover slides right off, like removing the picture frame from a beautiful painting.
It’s currently living in the basement; maybe there’s some demand on Craigslist for like-new fireplace covers in this large size. I’ll be exploring that, and maybe redeeming a little more $$$ to put towards the fireplace upgrades. (FYI – after living with it as shown for several years, we finally upgraded to a gas fireplace.)
The fireplace, as it sat unused, really just needed a good cleaning.
We scooped out some residual ash, used the Shop Vac to suck up the micro-debris, and loosened grime on the iron grill with an old toothbrush.
We also upgraded the shiny gold log holder we had on the hearth; that thing is though, what 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 decidedly perfect for (the future display of) wood in the main living space. It’s cool shape has a mid-century flair, and it looks a little bit like antlers, which may or may not be ironic since I picked up that cool metal deer on Fab.com in December. (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 is a bit reminiscent of 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 the simplicity of the look. We had another large white birch branch go down this winter, so I’ll be able to add a few heavier pieces when we chop it up this spring.
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)?