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Disgusting old fireplace needs ripping out but what do I put in its place?!

(34 Posts)
pARGHssTheTwiglets Wed 19-Oct-11 21:57:58

Revolting old 70s fireplace has to go - it is beyond disgusting. But what on earth do we do with the hole in the wall that is left?! It's a warm room so we don't need heating in there, just something that looks nice. I suppose by far the cheapest option is just to block up the hole but fireplaces look lovely,even if we don't need one. I really love the look of woodburning stoves but they seem very expensive (what with the chimney-lining to be done) so maybe that's a waste of money when we don't need the heat.

narmada Wed 19-Oct-11 22:04:56

same dilemma here in our new house. We've gone for the block up the hole option as didn't have the £££ left over for a woodburner sad. Could you keep a fireplace shape but fill it with split logs maybe? this sort of thing?

Beware - 70s fireplaces, if they are lined in some way, might just contain some asbestos board or similar. We recently had a scare along these lines.

pARGHssTheTwiglets Wed 19-Oct-11 22:19:32

Oh that's a great idea about the logs thing - I've always liked that look. What about spiders though? <eek>

Gosh, hadn't even thought about asbestos shock

ComeIntoTheSinisterGardenMaud Wed 19-Oct-11 22:41:23

Just to be contrary, I'd say that filling the fireplace with logs is a tad, ahem, unusual if you have no intention of burning them. (See various MN threads about (dare I say it) gingham and twiggy stuff).

You don't necessarily need to get the chimney relined if the existing lining is in good condition. A local chimney sweep should be able to do a smoke test and assessment for you - we paid about £30 for ours. But if you want something that's purely ornamental and the walls are in good nick, a perfectly plain and unornamented fireplace looks fab. Personally, I'd put a gorgeous vase in it rather than logs.

pARGHssTheTwiglets Thu 20-Oct-11 07:03:33

Hmm, I see what you mean - I do really like that log thing (but then I like brown leather sofas too grin) but I can see that it could look incongruous without an actual fire.

I was trying to think last night of anything else we've got that could go in a fireplace eg. the vase you mentioned (but not that 'cos kids would break it!) but what do you do with the hole if you're just going to put someting ornamental in it? Do you just put nice bricks in the hole and then take your wallpaper right up to the edge? You don't need an actual fireplace surround, do you? Perhaps I should Google for some pics.

Amaris Thu 20-Oct-11 07:42:00

I had a big bowl in mine until DD, then about 2 or 3 sat in it (by accident) and broke it! Now we have big square baskets in there as toyboxes - they look okay but it's more of a practical than a decorative thing for us!

pARGHssTheTwiglets Thu 20-Oct-11 07:48:42

And what are they actually in, Amaris - just a neatly bricked hole, or do you have an actual fireplace?

minipie Thu 20-Oct-11 11:53:31

I would probably leave the bricks bare in the hole (if they look ok) and just replaster and paint up to the edge of the hole.

In the hole,you could put a fire basket like this antique one or a new one. Then you could put candles/dried flowers etc in the fire basket, or just leave it empty. Although, it's possible a fire basket without a surround would look odd... Hmmm.

pARGHssTheTwiglets Thu 20-Oct-11 12:17:51

Thanks, minipie. The annoying this is the hearth - it's huuuuuge but isn't easy to either replace or leave out altogether as we have parquet flooring and the parquet blocks are all neatly arranged around the hearth, so it affects the flooring too sad It's a bit like this but not nearly as grand smile

throckenholt Thu 20-Oct-11 12:30:57

You could clock up the chimeny (cut down draughts), plaster and use it as a book shelf, or put something ornamental in it. Or put a door on it and use it as a cupboard - maybe a good place for a toy cupboard.

throckenholt Thu 20-Oct-11 12:33:13

block - not clock ! note to self - don't type while holding an apple !

Wigeon Thu 20-Oct-11 12:38:28

We ripped out a big ugly fireplace in our sitting room, and also would ideally like a wood-burner but can't justify the expense. So at the moment it's got a lovely slate hearth (got it made to measure which wasn't actually too expensive), the bricks at the back (painted with a fireproof black paint) and just flat white plaster around the rest of the whole. At the moment there's a big candle on a plate in the middle and we sometimes light it in the evenings (with no small DC about to get burnt). We keep meaning to put a mantlepiece up - basically we just want a shelf above the hole - but can't quite figure out what we want or where to get it.

Actually I really like the rather minimalist look not that the rest of the house is at all minimalist what with toys everywhere.

pARGHssTheTwiglets Thu 20-Oct-11 12:51:36

I like both those ideas too.

I am now wondering whether we could switch the heating off in the evening if we did have a woodburner in there, so it might be more cost effective? Although I imagine them to be an awful faff and I doubt I would bother lighting a fire every evening instead of just turning the heating on.

throckenholt Thu 20-Oct-11 12:58:34

We have a woodburner and rarely use the central heating. The woodburner heats most of the house.

You need to make sure the chimney is lined and you get a good wood burner - cheap ones don't last well. So not a cheap option.

You also need a reliable source of wood, and somewhere to store it that is easily accessible and dry. It is a faff getting wood in when it is cold and snowy.

However, for us it is a much cheaper option, and very effective. YMMV.

minipie Thu 20-Oct-11 13:01:16

Hmm see what you mean re the hearth. A hearth without a fireplace surround is a bit odd possibly.

Would you consider putting in a new fireplace surround? Wooden ones can be got reasonably cheaply - cat1:firessurrounds type:products &isort=price&method=and&view=grid B&Q range here starting at £59. You could paint it white, then you could paint inside the surround and the inside of the hole black and put a fire basket in, and voila you have a new (decorative purposes only) fireplace. A bit like this or this

minipie Thu 20-Oct-11 13:02:10

oops my linking went a bit skew whiff!

ComeIntoTheSinisterGardenMaud Thu 20-Oct-11 13:09:02

Wigeon's minimalist set-up is what I was trying to describe earlier. We have also got a slate hearth - it does look lovely and is a great base for my arsonist tendencies fondness for candles.

pARGHssTheTwiglets Thu 20-Oct-11 13:26:07

Well now Maud, I love me a candle in the fireplace. Last Christmas I bought loads of those fat church candles and filled the fireplace with it - they looked beautiful. Now they are just covered in soot which has dropped down the chimney and they look awful.

minipie, that is a good idea about painting the bricks - I will ahve a look later and see what condition they are in.

I am starting to think that a woodburner is out. We have no wood nearby and I don't need to add extra jobs to my workload at the moment (chopping, seasoning wood etc.)

I think I am going to go with the minimalist ''hole in the wall with decorative element' approach. I presume you can temporarily block a chimney (some sort of shelf across the opening immediately above the fireplace) so that soot doesn't stop down, and it can be easily removed later, should we want a working fire at a later date?

pARGHssTheTwiglets Thu 20-Oct-11 13:27:25

Ooh, ooh, ooh!! I've just remembered that I have some lovely little black & white tiles from Fired Earth that we used in our old house (in a disused fireplace!) I bet there's just enough to do it!

Sigh, as tiny as it was, I am missing my tiny old Victorian house with it's lovely cast iron fireplace sad

throckenholt Thu 20-Oct-11 13:40:16

You can get any reasonbly handy person to put a board up in the chimney - bit like a loft hatch. That will help cut down draughts as well as stop some of the soot from falling down. If you aren't using the chimney then it won't be getting any sootier - get it swept and them block it off.

You could have a fire place hole with a hearth and no fire sorround - but probably would need a mantlepiece of some kind to balance it up - could just be a reasonably sized piece of wood fixed to the wall to create the illusion of a mantlepiece.

Wigeon Thu 20-Oct-11 14:06:10

Blocking up the chimney but so you could unblock at a later date: chimney balloon.

There are loads of threads on here about woodburning stoves btw if you want to get the pros and cons and cost effectiveness etc.

iarebaboon Thu 20-Oct-11 14:27:39

Can I hijack pleas,? We havoc simlar problem, although our fireplace is already an empty hole.

Where did wigeon where did you get your slate from? We really need a hearth, ours just has an ugly concrete base flush with the floor

pARGHssTheTwiglets Thu 20-Oct-11 14:30:24

Right, last question about fireplaces, I promise smile

Have a quick look at this picture I'm not exactly sure I know what a hearth is - in this picture is it the black floor bit inside the fireplace, or the white marble bit that sticks out beyond the fireplace? Or is it the whole thing, maybe? I'm wondering if I do need to have a sticky-out bit at all and could just have the bit inside. Although if we ever want a working fireplace in the future then I presume we need to have a sticky out bit?

GAH, apologies for erroneous apostrophe on my previous "it's" - apostrophe misuse drives me crazy and there I am doing it myself blush

throckenholt Thu 20-Oct-11 14:34:08

the sticky out bit is controlled by building regs - has to be so far in front of the fire - also for a wood burner. I can't remember what it is - but it was a consideration when we renovated our fireplace a year or two back.

If you have no fire then you don't need a hearth. You can have whatever you like in the base - a nice slab of stone, or wood, tiles or even carpet. If you box it in to make a cupboard then even a piece of lino would do as a base for it.

throckenholt Thu 20-Oct-11 14:35:45

here guidelines for a hearth for a stove - presuambly open fire is similar.

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