When we were looking to buy a home, we has a list of wants and a list of needs. Fireplace was right on the edge of the two lists. I mean, I can’t say I really need a fireplace, as I have little intention of heating my house with it. What I did need was character and charm in my home, and a fireplace often adds those in droves.
But, when we fell in love with the house we eventually purchased, it didn’t have a fireplace. We resolved that we would build one ourselves.
Now, before you get to thinking we spent thousands on demolition, chimney installation, brickwork and such – I’ll let you in on a secret.
This is not a real fireplace.
That is not a real fire.
Those aren’t even real tiles!
Here’s what we did:
- Here is the living room when we bought the house. It is pretty blah. First thing we did was paint, and take off the base moldings.
- Using this amazing plan from Anna White, hubby adjusted dimensions for our space (mainly to make it deeper and have space to hold the mini computer he built that runs the TV. Yeah, he’s a nerd like that.) and built the bones. It went together really easily, and though we are both novices at this sort of thing, after wood filler and paint it looked amazing. One of the nicer features is that it isn’t permanent. The wood structure sits up against the wall, but can be removed at any time.
- But it was still missing something. I mean, it looks like a faux fireplace. We wanted it to look like a REAL fireplace. So, we decided to work on the floor. We bought some 18x18in stick-down tiles and stuck them to some grippy shelf liner. This allows the tiles to be stable, not move around, and not damage our hardwood floors.
- Looking good right? But it was kinda wonky where the tiles met the hardwood. I mean, it looked like tile up until it just laid on top of the wood floor. So, we trimmed it out. We used mounting tape/double stick tape to adhere the trim to the tiles – again avoiding any permanent damage to our hardwood floor.We also got some stone retaining wall blocks to raise up our faux fireplace heater unit. Sitting on the floor it didn’t hide the outlet. The stones worked!
- Finally, the finishing touch: a fireplace screen. No amount of woodwork could make this DIY fireplace believable if we had our “fire” unprotected in the middle of our living space. So we put it in and stood back. It. Looks. So. Nice. The little heater puts out some heat, and it projects “flames” up on the black back of the fireplace. Its cozy and warm, and it adds that lovely charm and character we wanted in our living room. Bonus: no chopping wood or scooping ashes!!
We did a ton of research on fireplace inserts before buying this one. We watched videos, read reviews and tested them in store. We ended up with this Duraflame model. I love it! It has a heat, several light settings, and a remote. It doesn’t make any fireplace sounds, but none of the units we looked at with heaters did.
All in all this is one of my favorite projects on the new house so far. It was simple, but it adds a lot of “wow factor” to the room. The cost was pretty minimal, considering the cost of general home ownership. Here is the lowdown:
$15 paint and wood filler
$5 stickdown tile
$8 flagstone bricks
$2 trim moulding
$35 fireplace screen
$100 fireplace insert
$250 Total for a beautiful DIY fireplace that we can move from room to room, or take with us when we go!
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