With the colder fall and winter months coming, Joy and I thought it would be a good time to finally put our unused (read: broken) fireplace to good use. We were told when we bought the house that the fireplace was broken and not to use it. A quick inspection by a gentleman from the local fireplace store revealed that the metal fire box which resides behind the lovely brick facade wasn’t close enough to the bricks and the seemingly harmless 1/2″ gap could actually be very dangerous. As you can see in the photo below, it appears we have a lovely brick hearth.
Actually there’s just a small metal box behind that brick wall with a stove pipe going up through the roof. With a wood-burning fire in there, the heat and occasional ember could make it through that tiny gap and set fire to the exposed studs and sheet rock back there.
Since colder weather is here in the Tennessee Valley, all the home improvement stores are putting out there fireplace accessories. While we were at Lowes one day, we spotted a great looking set of electric fireplace logs made by Dimplex. When plugged into a 110-volt outlet, the embers in the wood glow and flames dance across the back of the unit. Additionally, there is a fan and two-stage heater inside that help add some warmth to the ambiance! The whole unit was only $200, installed in 15 minutes, and comes with a nifty remote.
After testing the logs out, we decided to keep them until we could install a vent-free gas fireplace insert sometime in the next few years. So now we had a fire, but we still had an ugly brick faced wall staring at us. We decide to dig up the paint swatch for the den walls and take it to Lowes. We had a gallon of the darker shade on the paint chip mixed up and after priming the bricks, we laid some color on top.
As you can see in the after picture, the whole project (which only took a few hours) made a huge difference in the room! Joy and I can now simply pick up the remote, “start” a fire, and sit back on the couch and finally enjoy our fireplace.
UPDATE: Here’s a video I found on YouTube of what the flame and ember effect actually looks like: