Brick Fireplace Makeover using Cement & Wood Mantle

February 25, 2019

Update an old brick fireplace by using cement! This brick fireplace makeover completely transforms this living room!

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Update an old brick fireplace by using cement! This brick fireplace makeover completely transforms this living room!

Last year, my dad and I were lucky enough to work together on a remodeling project in Reno, Nevada. In 6 weeks we took an old ranch style house and completely transformed the main living areas!

I haven’t been able to share these photos until now, because this project was sort of an interview for something larger…but we just received news that we can now share photos and give you details about this remodel!! With that comes the news that what we had been waiting for didn’t pan out the way we were hoping it would. Yet when one door closes, another opens and we are moving onward and upward!

Update an old brick fireplace by using cement! This brick fireplace makeover completely transforms this living room!

Since this is the first time I am sharing photos from this project, I want to take a second to say a big thank you to the entire team that helped us make this six week remodel a reality! The family that owns the home, our amazing construction company – TFP (Cody & Kathleen Kosman), Innovative Cabinet and Design and their tile guys, and an endless amount of other amazing people that worked tirelessly to help us (Ramona, Lori, Steven A, Lindsey, Sam, really the list goes on and on).

And dad, thanks for everything, I love you!

Here’s the before…

After!

Update an old brick fireplace by using cement! This brick fireplace makeover completely transforms this living room!

Okay…now onto the good stuff.

Brick fireplace makeover using cement and wood!

When we first toured this house, we immediately knew that the fireplace would need a major overhaul. There are a few options when it comes to updating an old brick fireplace.

1. You can paint it. This is cheap and easy, but has a bit of a farmhouse feel.

2. You can slap some veneers on it. Either fresh brick or faux stone, adding veneers to a dated fireplace can instantly update it. This is what we did in my home!

3. You can float it with concrete. This has a more contemporary feel and is quite inexpensive.

Update an old brick fireplace by using cement! This brick fireplace makeover completely transforms this living room!


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This house is anything but farmhouse, so I really didn’t want to go the route of painting the brick. Doing so would have clashed with the entire feel of the house and thrown off the flow. We needed something that would complement the contemporary and transitional elements that we’d used throughout the rest of the house.

Since we also used quite a few organic elements throughout the house I wanted to add a splash of that on the fireplace too.

Update an old brick fireplace by using cement! This brick fireplace makeover completely transforms this living room!

Smearing the brick with cement was the perfect solution for updating this old brick fireplace! It compliments the cement tile that we used in the kitchen (I’ll be sharing photos of that soon!). To make the fireplace feel a little more cozy and warm we used an old fence post found on the ranch and turned it into a mantle!

My dad is crazy talented and was able to create beautiful corners on the fence post and turn it into an absolutely gorgeous mantle!

While we could have floated the entire fireplace, I felt that it would make the room feel a little too modern and cold. Instead, we added tongue and groove paneling above the mantle which matched the original paneling in the built-ins (which you can see from the kitchen). Take a look at the entryway makeover where you can see the original tongue and groove, I think you’ll love the built in bench!

Update an old brick fireplace by using cement! This brick fireplace makeover completely transforms this living room!

As you can see, this simple update completely changes the entire look and feel of the room. Smearing cement over old brick is a great way to makeover an old and dated fireplace without spending a lot of money! You can easily do this in your home, simply have a tile installer come out to float the brick with cement. We used a piece of remnant stone as the hearth which was installed after the cement dried.

I hope that you enjoyed seeing the first glimpse of this remodel project! I am now taking on clients in the Reno, Nevada area for interior design and full scale remodel projects. I have an amazing team that I am incredibly grateful to work with! If you are in Reno and know of anyone looking to remodel their home, please help spread the word!

photography by Gagewood Photo

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  1. This is so beautiful and exactly what I want to do to our old fireplace. We are located just outside of Sacramento (Davis), unfortunately because of the quarantine I can’t visit any tile places to inquire about materials (as you suggested in another comment). Any chance you could put me in touch with the people who did your fireplace or would you happen to know the type of cement used so I can attempt to order online? Thank you so much!!

  2. I love the look of the fireplace. I love the crisp corners. I’ve never heard the term "float" the fireplace. Not sure how to find someone who knows how to do this. Any suggestions?

    • I would purchase from a local tile company rather than a home improvement shop, ask them what they suggest, they will have the best advice for your climate. Have fun!

  3. Chloe, you and your dad did such a gorgeous job with this fireplace! I especially LOVE the mantel!! Best wishes for your new endeavors!!