I went through ALL of my house photos, and this is the absolute “best” photo of the BEFORE fireplace, i.e. working within the constraints of the PO’s “vision” for the fireplace he installed (which is SO not original to the house), and how I tried to make it work for us, at least temporarily.
And here below, finally, after 9 loooonnnng years, is the AFTER fireplace, matching the original view as closely as possible for an apples-to-apples comparison.
It’s hard for me to believe that this is the same firebox; it almost looks bigger in the “after” photo, but we actually minimized it and tiled over the metal box as close as possible to the opening and vents. We also painted the brass accents with heat-resistant black paint which makes it look less dated.
The drum table/tall coffee table in the “before” photo has been moved to a dead corner in the living room near the foyer and behind the rocking chair (which is in the lower left corner of the photo). It’s been kind of an awkward piece of furniture but it came from my maternal grandparents’ house and I’m sentimental about it. The low, round mid-century coffee table in the “after” photo came from Pete’s family cottage. No one else wanted it, and I didn’t want to see it go to Goodwill so we took it. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it, and it was a little too blonde for my tastes, so I had a piece of tinted glass cut for it and I think it works really well here with our curved sofa.
Another thing that was an unintentional “bonus”: we had the wing chairs, which originally belonged to Pete’s grandparents, reupholstered in the sage green fabric, which I absolutely LOVE, when we still lived in the old house. But I wasn’t 100% happy with them next to the wall color I chose for the living room, until we tiled the fireplace. The greens, grays and golds in the slate tile surround really seemed to bring it all together.
The black radiator screening allows heat to escape and we can easily remove it to access the radiator, which was impossible to do before. The screening also ties in with the firebox and helps “ground” it a little more. The tall, shallow shelf (shown here) where we had to accommodate the air intake vent for the fireplace worked out fine. Most books fit without overhanging, and since the chair is in front of it, it’s not noticeable.
To conclude our little before-after tour, another cottage “throw-away” is the little side table (one of the legs is shown in the photo above). It was a beat-up thing that my sister-in-law didn’t want up there, so once again I took it home. I bought a small sample jar of paint at our local Ace Hardware for about 5 bucks in a Pomegranate color which matches the little “cherry” in our living room art glass windows. It’s a great punch of color and can easily be moved around wherever it’s needed.