Faux Fireplace Before

Or, making the best of an awkward door.

One of the only things that Steven and I both wish was different about our house is the lack of a fireplace. But a couple of weeks ago I was looking at a tiny awkward attic access door in our top floor, and the idea popped into my head that I could cover it with a faux fireplace mantel. My brain immediately started buzzing with the possibilities. Here’s the door:

Steven loves hanging out in front of a crackling wood fire, and I like it, too, but I also miss having a mantel to decorate. We’ve talked about someday adding a woodstove, but there isn’t a perfect place to put one, and we don’t want to spend the money on it right now. Plus a woodstove wouldn’t give me the mantel I crave, but when I mentioned that to Steven, he was like, “How is a mantel different from a shelf? Just put up a shelf.” Hanging Christmas stockings on a shelf just isn’t the same!

So my plan is to turn this little door into a removable faux fireplace mantel, so that we can still access the attic space (though we almost never have needed to), but also have a place to hang stockings this Christmas.

Here’s the door with our cat Adventurous, for scale:

The door is right outside our bedroom door, in the only room in our house that we haven’t painted since we moved in (well, aside from the basement, which doesn’t totally count). I hate the yellow-ish paint, which was on most walls in the house, but I haven’t painted it because I don’t know how I’ll get to the areas over the stairs. How do people deal with that? There must be solutions other than hiring professional painters.

Also, we haven’t really decided on how to use the room, because it has some issues, mainly a big column right in the middle of the floorspace. It’s the chimney vent for the furnace in the basement, and while we eventually want to get rid of it, that will involve replacing our furnace, and that’s not a priority right now.  Here’s an old photo from the real estate listing for the house that might give you a better sense of the space:

Here are some of the resources I’m using to help me figure out how to build my own faux fireplace:

Faux fireplace surround tutorial

Faux fireplace with storage plans

Fake brick fireplace

Faux mantle plans

DIY fireplace

Obviously I’m far from the first person to think of this idea, but I’ll have to adapt these plans to use them in my situation. The tricky things I’ll have to deal with for this project are that the sloped walls/ceiling will limit the height of the faux fireplace, I’ll have to make the fireplace easily removable so that we can get into the attic if we need to, and I’ll have to preserve access to the electrical outlet to the left of the door. But the much more fun parts are figuring out the decorative elements. I’m trying to decide what to do with the faux firebox, the area where the fire itself would be if this were real. Should I just paint it matte black, or should I do something more involved and add faux brick inside? Or tile? Or something like this faux stacked log screen, from the blog pepper?

log fireplace screen

What do you think? Is this idea completely nuts?

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