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Cardinal Rule in remodeling – Give a girl options she didn’t know she had and indecision and stress will certainly ensue.

Case in point:

Welcome to our Living Room Circa 1 week ago.

Here’s what we have today:

The drywall is in full swing and our Chimney Guy, in preparation for our new wood pellet stove (which will look just like this … color is changeable, if we choose)

has removed the huge Cast Iron surround, blasted out three layers of brick, and removed the plaster facing and mantle. That cockeyed black hole, you ask? I’ve propped the large wire screen around the opening of the fire box to simulate the new stove, which will stick out about 11 inches from the opening. Also, I think we’ve decided to prop the stove up (since it’s only 33” from top to bottom), which means we’ll need to elevate it off the ground on a raised hearth (like the photo above) to get it at a normal height.


I was faced with design decisions on the spot when I wasn’t prepared at all to make them. Our handy chimney guy whipped out his portfolio, which was filled with fetching fireplaces like this:

Err… Not quite our style or the style of the house.

He suggested checking out Cultured Stone, which indeed we are researching. But I’m a visual move-the-furniture-around kinda gal when it comes to design. I have to see it to decide on it. And it’s tough looking at 1”x1” shots in a catalog (and small 4-stone samples in a store) to see what it’ll look like when it’s actually up on your walls.

SO. Here’s where I need some help. What should we do? Full stone chimney? Half stone chimney? No stone at all? Plaster trimmed out in Wood?

Here are some things I’m leaning towards (And, only look at the sections pointed out – not the overall photo :

  • Using an Antique barn beam (we got lotsa) as a mantle:
  • Having a raised hearth (to get a bit more height out of our stove.
  • Having a woodstove (which always sits out slightly from the firebox). Many of the gorgeous fireplaces we see are just that… fireplaces (but oh, if I had a fireplace, it’d look like this beauty …)


So. What do you think? Here are some options/ideas we’re considering: 
Top photos: Full stone, raised hearth. Beam mantle. Like both, though the one on the right is a bit gray and uniform for my taste. Stone walls and stacked stone are very prevalent in this area, so it wouldn’t seem out of place historically to do a fireplace that way. Ideally, we’d want something that looked like the farmers may have found it and built it from the stones in the field 200 years ago. That’d mean finding cultured (read: less expensive and lighter) stones that were less regular, square, and perfect, but still keeping the look scaled to the space (the room is large, but not huge, and the ceilings are about 7.5 feet, so we’re not dealing with soaring heights here.) There also may be beams up there, but we’re done with the dust for now, so they’ll lie dormant.
On the bottom, we have a half-stone, half-drywall look, which I’m ambivalent about. It seems to look too polished and new construction to me. And on the bottom right, the whitewashed brick look, which would be nice … but I feel bad buying brick simply to paint it white.
Thoughts? Feelings? Suggestions? I’m slightly leaning towards stone … done right … (ie, not to dark or light, or imposing, or cabin-y — lending a nice rustic-yet-distinguished look that fits in with a farmhouse of this age.
Looking forward to what you think!