Before and After: A Floor-to-Ceiling Fireplace Redo Brings the Drama to a Once-Very-’90s Living Room

published Sep 29, 2022
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Before: Brick fireplace between two windows in living room

When it comes to lighting in a space, sometimes it’s best to let windows do the talking — especially if the windows are as large and plentiful as they were (and still are!) in this living room redo by Shoshanna Shapiro.

Shoshanna, principal designer and owner of Sho and Co., says in this home, which “still had a lot of ’90s builder-grade features to it,” the clients wanted to leave the windows open with no window treatments. That meant the living room upgrade would involve balancing the large scale and brightness of the windows with the rest of the space.

The first step was lightening up the walls with Benjamin Moore’s Classic Gray (customized to lighten the color by 25 percent) and painting the trim bright white (Benjamin Moore’s Super White).

Shoshanna also replaced the floors (once a sand-in-place red oak) for something a bit lighter. “The homeowner wanted a light finish eliminating the pink tone that is in red oak,” she explains. “In order to use wide plank flooring in our area without issues of warping and gapping, we needed to select an engineered product. We chose a material from a local custom flooring mill that had a nice thick top layer so the product will provide them the benefits of solid hardwood but hold up to the humid and dry climate changes in our area.” 

Shoshanna also kept decor light and monochromatic (mostly off-white) throughout, making sure to mix many textures and add some wood elements to add some warmth. “The husband was much more into the rustic, natural aesthetic while the wife was more into the light, bright, modern feel,” Shoshanna says. “We kept this in mind throughout our design process.”

Shoshanna writes on Instagram that “this room shows the perfect balance of styles between them and how they pair together brilliantly.” Some of her favorite decor and furniture finds in the space are the coffee table, the accent chairs, and the artwork above the Maiden Home sectional; Shoshanna made that herself using layers of cut linen and glue, and paint to create texture.

“I was inspired by the layers of rock you might see in a mountainscape,” she says. “It was a gift for my clients. I really loved working with them and getting to know their family. They only collect pieces that hold some kind of personal meaning.”

The real showstopper in the room, though, is the fireplace, which wasonce a basic brick hearth between the two arch-shaped windows. Shoshanna chose to draw the eye upward to help the fireplace hold its own against those big windows. “We wanted to accentuate the grandeur of the feature,” she explains. The new height makes the once-dated fireplace look more modern and better suits the height of the windows in the space.

“The stone was selected from a local quarry and is thin-cut real stone in organic and square shapes,” Shoshanna says. “It was important to us that the stone felt timeless and substantial.” She finished off the new feature in the room with a reclaimed beam (purchased from a local wood supplier who specializes in vintage lumber) cut to size.

For more ideas on how to make your fireplace more of a statement in your space, check out these 10 dramatic fireplace transformations and 35 more ideas for styling them.