Renovating our Fireplace with Stone Veneers

May 2, 2017

We’re using stone veneers to renovate a dated fireplace into a French Country beauty! 

Last week I was finally able to give a big update on all of the renovations happening in our house, so I figured I’d kick this week off with a more detailed look at some of the spaces. Our fireplace sits in the center of our living room, and gets used daily in the winter. When we removed the indoor BBQ which was attached to the fireplace, we were left with exposed brick (pretty cool), and a few holes. It wasn’t feasible to expose all of the brick because it would have taken hours and hours, plus the holes weren’t very sightly… It was just easier to veneer the whole thing.

See the ‘before’ above

A really long time ago, I dreamt of veneering all. of. the. brick. in our entire house. I was 22 and shameless. I’ve come to my senses since that young age, but during that time I fell in love with Eldorado Stone (thank you Houzz). So when we started the process of veneering the fireplace, I turned to Eldorado Stone.

My mom and I went to visit Basalite in Reno, and looked at quite a few different options. I initially went in hoping for something white, but after seeing it in person, decided we needed some color. My mom said, “that reminds me of Vegas in the 80s in a very bad way.” The left photo shows ‘vineyard trail’, which is the stone we selected, and on the right is ‘casa blanca’, which is the stone I initially wanted.

Walt, our stone mason, began by covering the entire surface with a scratch coat that will lay under the rock. This can be any color, and won’t ever been seen by the eye. This week, he will begin laying the rock over the fireplace and grouting the cracks with white mortar. I knew that since I didn’t end up selecting white rock, I definitely wanted white mortar rather than gray or sand colored.

You can see in the photo of our fireplace, that there are vent holes, which left us scratching our heads for awhile. Initially our contractor suggested filling them with artistic metal grates. The moment I saw a photo of that, I KNEW I didn’t not want that. So for a few weeks we went back and forth trying to figure out what we would do.

The guys at Basalite suggested a thin brick to “soldier” the holes. I didn’t like the idea of mixing the brick with the beautiful rock, so I shut that down. Then, we considered using pieces of the hearthstone to fill the holes, which was a pretty great option. However, once we opened up the boxes of rock, we saw that there were many pieces of 6″ long by about 2″ wide rock, resembling small bricks. Finally, my problem was solved – we could use these piece of fill the vent holes. Much better than metal grates.

This week I will be in Sonoma styling a photoshoot for Chateau Sonoma, I am hoping that the rock will be finished when I get home so that I can share more photos. Until then, here is some inspiration that we have used to design the fireplace!

The instantly recognizable – Giannetti Home

McAlpine House

designed by Ken Tate

Better Homes & Gardens

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  1. Love ,love.
    I will be decorating a small home in the countryside of Tennessee. This is the exact feeling I have been looking for!

  2. Hi, was also wondering if you are going to post "after" photos of fireplace. We have a farmhouse and I have been fretting over the stone, I have brought home multiple samples but have not been in love with them when I get them home. I am also trying to figure out which limestone was used on the inspiration fireplace, I have multiple limestone samples, none quite look like the inspiration but that is the exact look I am trying to find. Rather frustrating….

    • Hi Dana! I completely understand how frustrating it can be!!! Here is a link to an "after" photo – although, this photo makes the stone appear a bit more orange than it truly is. I would say the stone turned out very close to the inspiration photo. I am guessing the inspiration photo is of antique stone imported from Europe as it is from Gianetti home – they import a lot of their materials :).

  3. Hi! Can I see a few of your photos as well with the El Dorado vineyard trail? Since I found your blog/pic on pinterest I went and got a sample for our fireplace but I’m still not sure about it.