Before & After: Fireplace Gets a Spanish-Style Restoration

published Apr 16, 2015
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(Image credit: Lesley )

The previous owners had covered Lesley’s plaster fireplace with faux stone and a mantel. She decided to restore it with nods to her home’s Spanish and Art Deco styles.

(Image credit: Lesley )

From Lesley:

We bought our first home two years ago. It’s in a neighborhood full of period revival homes from the 1920s-40s. Ours is not Spanish or Tudor but has some elements of both styles. Sadly, the previous owners had covered the bottom half of the original plaster fireplace with fake stone and a chunky stained-pine mantel. The hearth was done in multicolor slate. And the living room, including the chimney, was painted a horrible blue (much Smurfier in person).

We checked out a lot of fireplaces in the neighborhood and studied local real estate listing photos to come up with a plan to restore ours. We also decided to add a high-efficiency gas insert, which has greatly improved the comfort level of our house (since this is the coldest room and the one we spend the most time in, other than the kitchen, and we can now keep it warm without turning on the furnace).

Our house was built in 1938 and has some Art Deco details, which influenced the pattern we designed for the tile border. The tile for that and for the hearth came from the Heath outlet in Sausalito. What a treat to be able to purchase a small amount of special tile. I love the color variation in the gray tile border, and contrast of the matte finish there with the glossy dark blue on the hearth. The final step in the whole project was hiring a plaster artist to match the texture of the restored area with the rest of the room.

With any work we’ve done to our home, we haven’t been purists about doing period restorations, but we have tried to keep things in tune with the era and style of the house. We love the gas insert for efficiency, comfort, and air quality, and the ceramic logs have really come a long way design-wise in recent years. I found an old screen to keep the kids and pets safe from the hot glass, and I do like the way it softens the view of the glass and fake logs. Now we just need to paint the screen black and add some art to the walls!

Thank you Lesley!