This week's Quick Fix: How to update a 1950's fireplace

My latest Quick Fix comes from a former client who is stumped about how to update a tired, 1950's corner, brick fireplace. When I first visited her soon-to-be new home, I was instantly drawn to this nook. There is so much charm and potential in this bright, sunny space. It just needs a little imagination and TLC to modernize it.

I feel like this little corner is a missed opportunity. It's screaming out for something to break up the sea of brick and needs some architectural detail and a hit of symmetry to shine.

Here are my suggestions to make it sing, without blowing the budget:

1. Paint the brick. Creamy white or a lovely gray will make this fireplace sing and coordinate well with the colors the homeowner has chosen for the house.

2. Fake it. Since the firebox doesn't actually continue around the corner, the focal point seems lost and the fireplace imbalanced. I'd recommend treating both walls as one and wrap the mantel around the bend. On the wall that's "fireless" I'd add some lanterns with candles in varying heights beneath the new mantel, in lieu of a firebox.

3. Beef up the mantel piece. The narrow shelf that's currently in use feels underscaled. Adding a thicker mantel will create a more distinct focal point.

Here's a moodboard I created to give you a visual (photos below are clockwise):

And last but not least

4. Accessorize. Add a basket for blankets, or a vessel to stack wood or some tools on the raised hearth. Decorate both mantels with simple, pretty frames, mirrors, plants, etc. Treat them the way you would one mantel with a vignette like these:

What Quick Fixes have you given to your old home to modernize it? Send me a picture! I'd love to share it here on the blog. Are you looking for a Quick Fix of your own? Be the first one to comment on Facebook with your design dilemma and I'll tackle your project and share it next week.

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