Tuesday, November 5, 2013

DESIGN IDEAS: Fireplace/Hearth Veneers

There is still a lot to do on the house, but on the top two floors we have finally come to the point where we need to pick out surface finishes (as evidenced by all the recent posts about flooring tile and hardwood.  Despite being at that point, we are putting off a lot of finish work and trying to just focus on those elements of the house that need to be finished before we can get a C of O (the Certificate of Occupancy is the Building Department's stamp of approval for people to occupy a building and a prerequisite for getting normal homeowners' insurance and a mortgage).  So, for instance, we don't actually have to put down flooring to get the C of O.  Instead, we are allowed to just paint the floors and then put down rugs - which is probably what we will do in the bedroom and living room.  

However, there are certain places where putting down the finishes is necessary to get the C of O.   Examples: (1) we need a working bathroom but you can't use an untiled shower so we have to tile the shower and we might as well tile the rest of the bath while we're at it; (2) we need a working kitchen but you cannot have a stove in a room without fire-rated sheetrock walls and ceiling so we have to decide what kind of stove ventilation and lighting we will use in the kitchen because vent and lighting rough elements must be installed before the sheetrock goes up.

And then there is the fireplace.  Although we are not required to have a working fireplace to get a C of O, it is a priority for us since we want the extra heat source so we can avoid big bills from using the electric baseboard heating.  It will be easy enough to have a fireplace installed since we are going to have a woodstove insert fireplace - all we have to do is call the store and have them come out and install the chimney liner and the stove of our choice.  The problem is that we don't want to pay to install the nice new fireplace insert before we have finished the fireplace surround/hearth.  Otherwise, we risk that the insert will have to be removed before the veneer is done or, worse, the insert could get damaged.

Here is the fireplace we need to finish:

Although we don't have photos of what it looked like before the fire, the bottom surface of the fireplace and the bench/ledge in front is a large bluestone slab so we assume the whole thing was faced in a bluestone veneer.  We have discussed just going with that again but, as with most things, the word "just" has no place in this process.  There are dozens of different shades of bluestone and even more styles of veneer.

Here are some examples:

I believe this is called "snap edge".  I like it, but not as much as the smoother finished looking stuff.
I like this A LOT!  What is this called?

Here are a few I like a lot, although some may not be ideally suited for our overall aesthetic.

This one I think would work well.

I like this a lot too - not sure we could do that break between snap edge and smooth.

One big slab - great looking but too contemporary I think.

Probably perfect for us.

Lovely but too contemporary.


I like this shape and size - but I want to keep it in a tighter blue/grey spectrum.
I like this style, but I don't really care for the gold and red stones.  I would prefer to keep it well within the grey/blue range.

Heavens, no!
Absolutely not.

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