Fireplaces – The Heart Of Your Home

Traditional and classic fireplace and bookcase design for Chicago North Shore living room

Are you happy with your fireplace? Is it the focal point of your room?

 Whatever the season and whatever the style, a fireplace beckons and draws us in. The fireplace has long been thought of as the heart of a home and a commanding presence in most rooms. This makes it a natural focal point.

What exactly is a focal point you might wonder…..the point to which the eye is drawn immediately upon entering a space.  The focal point is to be highlighted and enhanced.

If your fireplace is not living up to expectations, read on for some interesting design ideas with some before and after pictures, which will inspire you to remodel and enhance your fireplace.

A classic fireplace recreated for a period home

We replaced an outdated 1970s fireplace wall with this Georgian style mantel and built in bookcases for a period home in Evanston. Only the beautiful terracotta tiled hearth was retained.  It now looks like it has always been there with the addition of classic paneling above the mantel and finely contoured moldings!



Traditional and classic interior design with English style for Chicago North Shore living room
Before photo:
The original 1970’s fireplace wall

A fresh improved version of your current fireplace does not necessarily imply a huge construction project.  

There are many changes you can make that will not blow the budget or require ripping out your old fireplace and starting again.  A simple classic mantel and stunning shade of raspberry was added to this chimney breast to emphasize the focal point of the client’s living room. The mantel was simply installed over the existing granite surround which made the job very easy.

Fireplace design with painted chimney breast, Living Room Interior Design, Chicago North Shore
Before photo.
Here you can see the original granite tile surround and hearth, which were retained minimizing the construction work and expense.

Do not change your fireplace but change what is around it.

In this living room, the home owner did not like the original fireplace but did not want to replace it. We came up with this budget friendly design solution.

Before Photo: This is the same fireplace restyled.
With a bit of creativity, we found a budget friendly way to create an entirely new look for this fireplace wall. The mirror, wallpaper and light fixtures soften the appearance of the fireplace and give it a more transitional look. The room is more balanced and the fireplace no longer overwhelms the room.

One of the most important things to consider when designing or enhancing a fireplace is the architecture of a dwelling.  

The fireplace should reflect an architectural style appropriate to that of the home. Two very crucial components of any good design are scale and proportion, and especially so in the category of fireplaces. I do look to the Greeks and Romans for their guiding principles in these disciplines.

This living room in Lake Forest needed a fireplace with enough presence to balance the magnificent vaulted ceiling.  The mantel shelf installed by the builder did nothing to enhance the room and the home owners did not like all the brick, which was not suited to their more contemporary style.

Before photo.

We designed a custom built mantel to wrap around the chimney breast in a classic but simple style. The brick no longer dominates the room, which is more serene with a cleaner, contemporary look. The mantel is scaled perfectly for the space.

After picture of living room redesign, Chicago North Shore
Fireplace, Chicago North Shore

 We used the same concept here BELOW to disguise a rustic brick wall with no mantel. The stone mantel was built around the existing wall without disturbing it, in a classic design with a Tudor arch, reflecting the English style of the home.

Now that you’ve seen what can be achieved with good design, take some time to look at your own fireplace. What is your first impression?  
Does it spark joy and feed your soul?  
If not, why not give me a call and we can begin to explore the new possibilities together?