Sipping on a warm drink while curled up with family around the fireplace is extra cozy, especially around the holidays. If you are looking to install a fireplace or redo an existing fireplace design, there are a few things to consider before aesthetics.
First, you’ll need to determine what type of fireplace will work best in your home. Consult with a contractor, who can help you decide among these three options:
- A traditional fireplace, which will require masonry to build a chimney.
- A direct-vent fireplace, which pulls air from outside but doesn’t require constructing a chimney.
- A ventless fireplace, which is the most common and affordable for new installations.
Next, consider whether you’ll power your fireplace with wood, electricity or gas, which will determine what type of firebox or fireplace insert you will go with. This is another decision your contractor can help you make based on your home and where the fireplace will be installed. (Read up on fireplace inserts here.)
Then, it’s time to frame the fireplace. Talk through this process with your builder and be sure to discuss how the framing will tie into your wall, crown, and baseboard for a seamless look.
Don’t forget about budget. In the Chicago area, adding or reconstructing a fireplace typically costs between $5,000-$15,000, all depending on your home, fireplace selection and design.
After the fireplace is installed, it’s time for the fun part: design. Here are different materials we love to use for fireplace design, and how to determine which one is best for you and your home.
Millwork Fireplace Design
This type of fireplace design works well in a traditional home, especially when you have a chair rail and/or beautiful molding already. You’ll need to work with a carpenter to create a drawing of the design. You can use a millwork design for an existing fireplace or a new one.
We love to use this to create a fireplace design with a soft, organic shape. Limestone has a beautiful presence and is a nice alternative to marble or when you still want to incorporate a natural material. You may be able to find a specialty fireplace company that is able to carve limestone for you.
A fireplace built from marble will really make a statement in your home. We love the natural texture and movement it adds to a room. You can purchase a beautiful hand-carved marble fireplace from a supplier, source one vintage (try 1stDibs) or find a marble fabricator who can work with you on custom-shaping the marble. (Some countertop companies will also do this.) If you go the custom route, you can get creative with your design—think multiple layers of framing or different styles of edges. Get more inspiration for marble fireplaces here.
You can see a progress shot from one our current projects below — this is a beautiful dramatic marble called Monet. This is a custom design with a millwork detail above. This whole room will be painted a deep green for an elegant and cozy study.
We don’t see a lot of new brick fireplace installations, but more often updates to existing brick fireplaces. One easy way to breathe fresh life into a dated-looking brick fireplace is to paint it, as we did with this whitewashed fireplace project a few years ago. You can also add brick tile to an existing fireplace to create texture.
The slab fireplace is trendy right now. It provides a modern aesthetic, and if you don’t want a mantel, it enables you to do a full slab floor-to-ceiling. (Check out some gorgeous inspiration photos here.) You can also achieve this look using large-format tiles. (You would have some seam lines, but they do make massive tiles that work well here.) We like to use porcelain instead of marble, as it’s a much lighter material to work with. Check in with your local stone yard or a fabricator to see samples; some countertop companies will also do this.
Get In Touch on Fireplace Design
What kind of fireplace do you have in your home? Are you looking to update it for the winter season? Get in touch today to tell us how we can help you design your dream fireplace!