Family Room Transformation: Fireplace & Mantelpiece Before and After

A few months ago, we posted an article on adding dimension and texture to a room through woodwork, where we installed beautiful beadboard paneling on the ceiling of a family room in Reston, VA. Today, we’re going to take you through the rest of the transformation of this family room, and how we achieved it.

The Before

The original room has some beautiful bones – the angled ceiling paired with the floor-to-ceiling brickwork around the fireplace gives the room a lovely shape. However, the walls were painted with a deep red color, making the entire room feel a little small and outdated. Additionally, the wooden floors in this room are incredibly beautiful – a medium-toned wood that was completely drowned out by this aggressive red color. The exposed brick did not match the tone of the walls. Most of the furniture surrounding the fireplace was very short, and in my opinion, a waste of space. One of the best parts of this room is just how tall it is. So I knew that we needed to accentuate that. 

The fireplace is clearly the central focus of the room, as it should be. I think that fireplaces are a beautiful feature for any room. I absolutely love the way that this one was designed, with the bricks reaching all the way to the ceiling, and the juxtaposition of the rounded frame around the fireplace, the straight mantelpiece, and the angled corners at the top. The fireplace was going to stay, but I wanted to find a way to use the space more cleverly and give everything that modern update that it was craving.


The first step, of course, was planning. I wanted to use the height of the room be to our advantage. I also wanted to extend the framing of the fireplace with two bespoke built-in bookcases on either side. It was important to me that the bookcases didn’t seem placed in the room, but rather a part of the room’s structure. That’s why we opted for bookcases that had shelves to create an angled corner so it seemed like the bookcase was almost emerging from the wall. These shelved corners created a bit of a round shape, which complimented the curved brickwork around the fireplace. As we were installing the new bookcases, we removed the original mantelpiece and marked exactly where the TV would go above the fireplace. We used joinery to connect each bookcase to the bottom trim along the floor, as well as a new mantelpiece connecting the two bookcases over the fireplace. 

Once the bookcases were installed and our woodwork complete, it was time to begin pulling the design together. I loved the white color of all the wood, including the wood on the ceiling. I wanted to highlight that, so we opted for a beautiful neutral color from Ralph Lauren. While I wanted the fireplace and the walls to be similar shades, I still wanted them to be different. So I chose to use matte paint on the wall, and glossy paint on the brick. This paintwork allowed the brickwork and the woodwork to stand out in a lovely and subtle contrast that felt modern and purposeful.

After we finished the major components of the room, the final step was styling. I felt that the original room felt crowded, so we kept the decor to a minimum, allowing the shape and structure of the room to really stand out. My client filled her new bookcases with wonderful family collections of books, beautiful artwork, and antique weathervanes. 

The After

I love the way that the finished mantelpiece and fireplace turned out. It feels like the entire room has been brought up to date. The white woodwork and the wooden floors look beautiful against the glossy bricks. The styling is much more minimal, making the room seem bigger and cleaner. And all of it looks beautiful underneath the beadboard ceiling. As always, the most important thing is that my client was happy with how it turned out.

If you’re interested in renovating or remodeling a room in your house, let us help you turn your dreams into reality! Head to our services page to see how we can help you today. 

5 Reasons to Add a Fireplace to Your Home This Winter

Across the country, many states are being hit with big snowstorms and all-time low temperatures. We’re in the thick of winter and keeping warm seems to be on everyone’s mind. There is nothing more cozy and homely than a freshly lit fireplace to keep you and your family warm. Here are five reasons to install a fireplace or light yours up this winter!

It warms your home…and your spirit!

The most obvious reason to get a fireplace is to keep you physically warm. Before radiators and electric heating were invented, many people would use fireplaces to warm their entire houses. After all, nothing is hotter than fire! With a working fireplace, you’ll likely be able to save on your heating bills. With the fire burning, you won’t need to use your central heating as much. But besides providing actual heat to a room, fireplaces will warm your spirit. Cuddling up by the fire with a cozy blanket, a warm drink, and a book is the best way to unwind on any winter evening. They’re relaxing to look at, hear, and feel. It instantly adds a cozy atmosphere to a room that truly cannot be replicated by anything else.

Provides a great place for family fun

Arranging your living room around a fireplace creates a fantastic space for family fun! If you have kids you can gather around the fire and tell stories to each other, read books, or even roast some marshmallows. In this age of screens and TVs, fireplaces provide an important space where the whole family can spend time together without the help of electronic devices. While keeping warm, you can teach your children about fire safety and find new ways to bond as a family!

It ties a room together

The designer in me loves a good fireplace for the simple reason of how it quickly ties a room together. A well-designed fireplace looks amazing and elevates a space from a house to a home. The mantlepiece provides a lovely platform for your favorite decor and the space above the fireplace simply begs for some artwork or family portraits. A plain wall is transformed into a cozy, beautiful area with the simple addition of a fireplace.

Adds Value to your home

A working fireplace is definitely sought after for homebuyers, so installing one is an easy way to add value to your property if you ever decide to move or sell. Not only does it make a room look beautiful, but especially if you live in an area that gets cold in the winter, your fireplace could easily become a selling point for your property. Everyone wants to cozy up next to the fire during winter. Making the investment now will likely pay off in the long run.

There are no excuses!

Getting a fireplace may sound like an intimidating or impossible venture to take on your home design journey. However, they’re easier to install than you might think. Many houses, especially older ones, may already have a chimney and fireplace that was covered up with wallboards. Either way, a team of designers would be able to put in the work for you.

The photos below are of a room that I designed, which involved adding in a custom-made fireplace. It was originally a blank wall before we started, and I decided to design the room around this bespoke fireplace. We started by creating custom made windows on either side and then built the custom-made working fireplace with a chimney. On the adjacent wall, we added custom-made built-in bookcases with a desk in the middle and finished the room off with bespoke club chairs, an ottoman, draperies, and roman shades. I’m very happy with how this room turned out and know that my clients will be enjoying many cozy evenings in this beautiful room!

What are you waiting for?

Adding a fireplace to your home is an investment that will pay itself off in the years to come. It provides heat (saving you money on your heating bills), adds value to your property, warms the family’s spirit, and looks amazing! If you’re looking to get a fireplace installed, head to our services page to see how we can help you.

Kelley Astore Interiors

Expert Interior Design & Renovation Services of Every Style.

Where We Work

Northern Virginia, Washington, DC,
and the Greater Washington Area


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