Brick Fireplace Makeover


It’s that time of year friends, time to hang the stockings by the chimney with care! But first, I needed to give our fireplace a makeover! When we moved into this home 2 years ago, we gave our dated fireplace a quick fix update.

We updated the mantel to a beam-style mantel and gave the wall a moody paint job.

Fall mantel madebycarli

Christmas styling for Crate and Barrel ‘20But over the past several months, I haven’t wanted to spend much time in the space.  It just felt dark and dated, so I wanted to give it a slightly modern, and fresh feeling upgrade.


My first order of business was to remove the dated fireplace doors.

This part was very tricky at first, but then a quick google search helped me find this article on This Old House, which helped us expedite the process. My daughter’s boyfriend came to the rescue once again 🙌🏾.

Next, I taped off an area of brick (imperfectly I must say🤦🏾‍♀️) where I planned to install the trim.

A note on fireplace surrounds: 

When it comes to adding trim work to a fireplace, you should check with your local fire/building codes.  I came to find that the sides should have a minimum of 6″ between the firebox and the trim, and above the firebox, it should be at least 6″ inches as well.  If the mantel sticks out more than an inch and a half, it must be at least 12″ from the firebox/opening.

I created a base to cover the brick using 1×12 and 2-1x6s- (I was able to repurpose the wood from the old mantel for these) and used my Kreg jig to join the boards.

I attached it to the brick using extra strength liquid nail (however you may want to consider using masonry screws depending on the material/weight of your surround.)

I added a trim around the opening of the fireplace surround, using basic 1x2s, with mitered corners.

Once the base was secure, I decided to extend the width of the fireplace by 3” on each side. To do so, I added a few spacers on each side and cut the baseboards back to accommodate the wider width, using my oscillating tool.

Next, I built the sides of the fireplace using a 1×4 and a 1×5. I secured the sides to the spacer/filler blocks on the wall with brad nails.

Because I wanted a modern mitered look on the front, I cut the front-facing pieces at 45° angles and the side pieces square, so the mantelpiece could rest on it.

I added 1/4”x 2” poplar pieces for trim on the interior pieces to fill in the gaps and to add detail as well.

Next, I used a 1×5 on the top as a mantel, although my original plan was to use 1×6, but I grabbed the wrong board and then just rolled with it. I used wood glue and 2” brad nails to secure the mantelpiece to the sides, and front of the surround.

Next, I filled all joints and nail holes with wood filler.

Once dry, I sanded them until they were smooth.

Now it was time to add some decorative trim. I used a thin colonial-style trim on the inside of the “boxes”.

I also added this trim to the front perimeter of the fireplace surround.

I love how it turned out, although I’m slightly bothered by the gap above the firebox and below the mantel, but I think I will address it after the holidays. This is still a bit of a work in progress, but the glow from the holiday decor has slightly blinded me, so I think I can live with it like this for a bit.

You can check out my round-up of swivel chairs under $500 here. 

Update: I added these new sconces from amazon, and I love the look, they’re not currently wired so I’m planning to use battery-operated lights with them until I can get our electrician here.


I’ll be back with a better partial reveal of this project soon, promise!

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