Before & After: A Kitschy Midcentury Fireplace Goes From Shabby to Chic

Design*Sponge | Fireplace Before & After

Design*Sponge | Fireplace Before & After

Although in design parlance, the term “midcentury” oftentimes connotes thoughtfully designed Modernist homes and furniture, the fact of the matter is that there was a ton of really ugly stuff in the mid-twentieth century, too. From cheaply assembled suburban homes to gaudy urban bachelor pads, the era of modern construction contains a few things that “Modernism” would surely like to forget. When confronted with bringing her 1960s ranch house into the twenty-first century, interior designer and blogger Rita Brownstein knew that some of its hallmark kitsch-tastic elements needed to go—starting with the living room’s sorely dated fireplace. Rather than gutting the whole feature, however, Rita opted for a cheap yet wonderfully chic alternative—a stained wood disguise, laid over the original brick wall. The end result, despite costing a mere $160, looks modern, unfussy, and beautifully up-to-date! Check out all of the photos of this quick n’ easy transformation after the jump! —Max

UPDATE: Anyone looking to replicate this look should consult their local and national fire safety guidelines before building to ensure proper and safe installation. Wooden fronts, as stipulated by the National Fire Code, should be a minimum of 6 inches away from the fireplace opening.

Design*Sponge | Fireplace Before & After

Design*Sponge | Fireplace Before & After

Design*Sponge | Fireplace Before & After

Design*Sponge | Fireplace Before & After Design*Sponge | Fireplace Before & After Design*Sponge | Fireplace Before & After Design*Sponge | Fireplace Before & After

Design*Sponge | Fireplace Before & After Design*Sponge | Fireplace Before & After Design*Sponge | Fireplace Before & After

Design*Sponge | Fireplace Before & After

  1. Sorcha says:

    Had to do a second take on this. Thought it was wallpaper first! What a transformation. Really good idea.

  2. Melissa says:

    This looks great! Found this on Pintrist. Great idea about going code, maybe a 6″ subway tile around to match the gray brick hearth. (Unless you’ve already done something, this was a while ago) Maybe you can stain the grout in between the red tile to gray or black. Replacing all that tile would be quite a task! Lol

  3. Violet says:

    Loooove this Amazing idea… what stain and colors did you use? I want exactly the look you have

    thank you! Happy decorating

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