• Neal Querio

Home Is Where The Hearth Is

Fireplaces used to be a gathering point for many families. They provided warmth and light especially during the long winter months. As the decades have passed fireplaces no longer play an essential role in the functionality of the household. Instead they have become statement pieces that create a sense of grandeur even in the smallest of rooms.


This Clarendon Hills homeowner wanted her fireplace to stand out as soon as someone walked through the door. In its previous state, the fireplace was lost in the dark stone surround and heavy wall color. It made no effort to compliment the windows on either side, while the mantel offered little display space.


Fears Construction worked closely with Leslie Hutchinson, a local interior designer, to come up with the perfect design for this fireplace.


First, the outdated sconces were removed and instead directional can lights were installed to highlight the fireplace’s transformation. Next the mantel, surround and hearth were removed leaving only the firebox and the surrounding brick.


There are a variety of components that go into constructing a fireplace

Once the demolition work was completed Fears Construction had a clean surface to begin the remodel process. Plywood was first installed to create the new fireplace surround shape before the mantle was constructed. Corbels were installed on either side to support the mantel’s overhang while intricate trim pieces ran along the edges.


Crew members framed out the space above the mantel to give the fireplace more height. They built the face out to create six inset boxes. Leaving a few inches of space around the edges additional bump outs were built inside of the boxes. Trim pieces were then installed in the gaps to frame out the inside boxes.


White herringbone tile was installed around the firebox to add some flare. It also served a functional purpose of creating space between the wood and the firebox. A marble hearth was added to complete the colors in the tile.


After the hearth’s installation the base and shoe molding were installed along the bottom of the two pillars. They were fabricated to create an integrated look as if the base and shoe molding on the walls just continued around. The crown molding was also installed in the same manner.


The fireplace was not the only thing in this room that got a face lift. Crew members installed new flooring throughout along with the new trim work and electrical. The walls received a new coat of paint to finish off the project.


The final results were breath taking, especially when compared to what was there before. The old fireplace was drab and made the room seem much darker. Once the renovations were complete the fireplace took on a life of its own. Even though the whole room was remodeled the fireplace was the statement piece the homeowner had been hoping for.




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