photo by emily gilbert photography

a fireplace is often the focal point of a room, for better or worse. it catches your attention from the moment you walk in and sets the tone.

but what if the fireplace that graces your home feels like a major faux pas? one that’s outdated, deteriorating, or simply out of sync with your design style? well, let me paint you a picture…

for those of us slightly-less-than-professional home bakers, we count on the smoothing effects of our icing to hide imperfections in the cake we just pulled out of the oven. when applied well, that icing is a godsend, hiding a whole host of unsightly sins so we don’t have to start from scratch once again. (not speaking from experience…ha!)

your fireplace surround acts as that layer of beautiful icing. by simply refacing your existing fireplace, you can eliminate the need for a lengthy and costly demo. the best part? refacing a fireplace is significantly less messy than a renovation (or even icing a cake, for that matter).

but where do you start? with some inspiration, of course! today, i’m sharing some of my favorite dhny fireplace transformations over the years, from the hamptons to 30a to nyc. you will quickly see that updating and modernizing your beloved fireplace is simpler than you might think.

let’s get inspired…

transformation 1: from grouted brick to gorgeous granite

photo by emily gilbert photography

when we arrived at this hamptons family home, the fireplace in this cozy living room was a red brick that both dated the space and clashed with our client’s aesthetic. it detracted from the light, airy vibe that we sought to create and was in desperate need of a facelift.

no problem. we laid a solid-honed, absolute granite right over the existing brick, and in true dhny fashion, it fit like a glove. the updated fireplace also laid the foundation for a complete room transformation: accents of black, soft brass, and natural wood tones ground the room. a curated selection of objects continues the collected feel throughout the house. meanwhile, an underlying geometric theme makes for a more modern contrast.

because our client wanted their second home to function as a year-round retreat, we added cozy accents like cable-knit throw pillows, stylish blankets, and a modern log display to play off the warmth and comfort of the new show-stopping fireplace.

this updated surround blends so seamlessly with the rest of the space, you’d never guess that it’s not original to the home!

transformation 2: from builder basic to brass-wrapped, bold stone

photo by jean allsopp photography

our clients know how to live. they have distinguished taste, and they entrust us to customize perfectly appointed homes that allow them to enjoy life to the fullest.

the owners of this home in florida’s scenic 30a region were no exception. this semi-retired couple planned to use this residence as their vacation home. they wanted something comfortable, beautiful, and elegant that would “leave a lasting impression on those who visit.” we eagerly embraced the opportunity to create that for them. the house was a new build and we rounded out the team responsible for realizing their “dream home.”

one of our tasks? taking the architectural plans and transforming the builder basic fireplace into a modern masterpiece.

we installed a curved stone surround that starts at 1” thick at the fireplace opening and curves to finish at 4” thick on the outermost edge. we completed the look by wrapping the stone with 2”x6” unpolished brass, giving this fireplace a luxe makeover, as fitting for an opulent beach home as it is for an nyc penthouse.

simply stunning.

transformation 3: from worn-out brick to beautiful white millwork

photo by emily gilbert photography

escaping to the east end is all about easy living, and the no muss, no fuss vibe in this hamptons home inspired our design for the fireplace surround in the master bedroom.

the old red brick simply wasn’t going to cut it in this curated coastal retreat, so we laid a solid-honed black stone surround over the brick. did we stop there? i think you know the answer… we framed it out with simple, yet sophisticated white millwork for a timeless and effortless beach feel.

to round out the final look, we selected a mix of modern and relaxed materials like blackened steel, leather, raw wood, raffia, and soft brass throughout the master suite.

the end result is a luxurious haven that is updated, welcoming, and full of charm. (adios, red brick!)

transformation 4: loving the luxury look

photo by emily gilbert photography

if you’re lucky enough to have a gorgeously ornate carved fireplace surround, don’t worry – you can still achieve a modernized look. just ask these clients…

removing the vintage fireplace surround in this delightful couple’s 5th avenue family apartment was out of the question. they loved its versailles-esque charm. instead, we decided to bridge this traditional character with more modern and contemporary furnishings.

we created a bright, fresh living room using clean-lined upholstered furniture, a variety of metal light fixtures, an oversized area rug, and mirrors to play off the copious amounts of natural light streaming into the space. with these careful furnishing decisions made, the existing mantel with a working fireplace now feels fresh, updated… and provides a jaw-dropping conversation piece for all who enter!

in the end, this freshly renovated — and, dare i say, swanky — living room is ready for mixing, mingling, and adding a healthy dose of glamour to our clients’ everyday life.

photo by emily gilbert photography

quick pro tip before we wrap this up…just because you have a large mantel doesn’t mean you should fill it to the brim with decorative items. if you are trying to create a modernized look, think about displaying a few carefully curated items asymmetrically. by not crowding the space, you give the fireplace surround room to really shine!

if you’re searching for the perfect design team to take your own fireplace from dull and dated to stunningly chic, well, let’s just say you know who to call. 😉

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