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before and after

before & after: fireplace transformation

by Kate Pruitt

As a renter, it’s so easy to forget that many people are taking steps to actively and dramatically alter the environment they live in. I love being reminded of this fact, and I’m definitely storing inspiration for when I live in a place where I can be a bit more hands on. I can’t wait! When Alice and her husband recently decided to renovate their apartment, the one thing they knew had to go was this 80s brick fireplace tucked into the corner. In addition to opening up the space — so that the fireplace could reside in the center of a more open, airy room — they managed to snag the new mantel after spotting it in a flower shop and inquiring if it was for sale. It was, and the rest is history. The hand-carved details on the new fireplace look lovely in bright white, and the new layout feels like a breath of fresh air. Great work, Alice! — Kate

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Read more about how Alice achieved such a drastic fireplace transformation after the jump!

Time: 2 weeks

Cost: $1500

Basic Steps: Together we designed the entire renovation of our home, and like everything else, it evolved. That brick clunker had to go, and fast! We didn’t even consider painting it white or trying to save it. The house was built in 1890, so there must have been a classy fireplace there at one point. When we found the mantel, we discussed painting it gray, stripping it etc. . . . but eventually decided on simple, clean and white. Since it’s a working fireplace, we knew we’d be spending many long winter days and nights in front of it with friends and family. We wanted something pretty to look at year round, something that would make sense in 100 years, something elegant. Anything was going to be better than the banged up 80s brick beast. Now it has room to breathe on both sides.

Our advice: Take exact measurements and do some sketches or photo mock-ups before committing 100%. We must have looked at and researched hundreds of reclaimed, salvaged, antique, cast iron, wood, you-name-it mantels and stoves before finding the one we loved. Do not attempt to do this without the help of someone (professional) who knows how to a) demolish an existing fireplace without damaging any of the good, working parts; and b) properly and securely attach a new mantel. — Alice

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