Great Fireplace Transformations: Before and After Fireplaces

by | Apr 13, 2021 | Remodeling Ideas | 0 comments

While the fireplace of years past was functionally for heating your home, the fireplace of today serves also a decorative purpose. In addition to providing heat on a cold winter’s night, it has become a focal point for the room, often adorned with family pictures and heirlooms enjoyed year-round. Corinthian has over 21 years of experience taking lackluster and dated fireplaces and transforming them into modern and updated features worthy of boasting your cherished Christmas stockings. Some of the elements that can be modified or enhanced are the mantel, the surround, and the hearth.

Fireplace Mantel

The fireplace mantel originated in medieval times as a hood that projected over the fire grate to catch smoke.  It has evolved into the flat surface at the top of the fireplace.  It can be fabricated from materials such as wood, steel, and stone including marble or granite. Dependent on the style you desire, the mantel can be an easy place to start your fireplace transformation.

Fireplace Surround

The area around the opening of a fireplace is called the fireplace surround. Its’ purpose is more than to simply to make the fireplace more attractive.  It is also a barrier to protect your home from heat and sparks from a fire.  It can be made of several non-flammable materials such as stone, brick, concrete, or metal.


Traditionally the hearth was used for both heating and cooking for many centuries.  It is the area that sits in front of the fireplace and protects your floor from radiant heat and flying embers.  It can be made of granite, stone, marble, cement, tile or slate and must be non-combustible.

There are several ways to transform your fireplace into a stunning addition to any room.

Decorative Wood and Marble Makeover

For this transformation, we removed the understated wood mantel and dated brick surround and hearth and replaced it with a creamy marble face and hearth.  Additionally, we built a custom mantel with fluted columns with Acanthus leaves and brackets, and onlay moldings. The finished product not only showcases this room but also surpassed our homeowner’s vision for the space. View portfolio.

Shadow Box Mantel and Marble Makeover

before and after fireplace

For this makeover, we removed a raised brick surround and hearth as well as the wood mantel and trim.  We lowered the hearth to be flush with the floor.  The firebox remained in its original location and a white soapstone marble surround was added.  To showcase this gorgeous fireplace, we created a shadow box mantle to perfectly frame the marble surround. View portfolio.

Tile Surround Makeover


Small changes make a huge difference.  In this space, the original smaller black tile just created an outdated dark hole.  We kept the existing firebox, doors, wood mantel, and built-in shelves, and simply changed the tile surround and hearth to update the entire wall.  Now this family space feels like it belongs with the rest of the home. View portfolio.

Poured Concrete and Steel Makeover

This fireplace required heavy-duty problem-solving.  We began by removing the original small and traditional surround, mantel, and hearth. When we removed the wall that separated the living room from the dining room, we discovered the chimney had been installed at an angle.  To minimize this visually, we creatively redesigned the fireplace to include a pass-through space for the storage of logs. We used poured concrete for the mantel and a multiple pour concrete side surround for artistic visual appeal.  We used Corten steel face surround which is made to age, giving an industrial aesthetic.  The end result is a spectacular fireplace that is an artistic focal point of the room. View portfolio.

Steel Surround and Floating Hearth

fireplace before and after

This client wanted a clean minimal looking main living room but wasn’t sure how to achieve this.  We removed the traditional millwork above the fireplace and replaced the surround with a wider simple panel of steel with a very subtle patina to give a nice contrast to the modern simple black firebox unit.  By enlarging the black surround it feels more substantial and size-appropriate for the vaulted room.  We finished this with a floating stone hearth which further completes the modern clean aesthetic this homeowner was going for. View portfolio.

Natural Stone Makeover

Fireplace before and after

For this renovation, we removed the brick over the arched buffet area to reframe a more contemporary angled area to mimic the ceiling line of the kitchen/dining area.  We then installed a variegated natural stone veneer in a dry stack fashion (no mortar between the individual pieces of stone) over the brick of the fireplace as well as around the buffet area.  A limestone hearth was installed as well as new fireplace doors.  The finished look is contemporary and stunning.

Now you are armed with some insights into the components of a fireplace and some before to after transformations of various materials and design aesthetics. Hopefully, these give you some ideas for elevating your fireplace to the focal point it can be in your home.  Give us a call if we can be of help in transforming your living/family room into a beautiful space that you and your family will LOVE.





Create the Home of Your Dreams