We officially kicked off our main floor renovation in January. When we first looked at our house, we thought we’d just take down a dividing wall between the kitchen and living room. No big deal. Only you don’t just take down a wall. You move electrical, plumbing, replace flooring, etc. And in our case, you replace a fireplace as well. Oh, and may as well put in all new kitchen cabinets while we’re at it.
The logical place to start was with the fireplace, as we were hoping to reclaim some floor space in the process. What we started with was large, awkward and stuck out like a sore thumb in the room. It isn’t centered, and there is a cubby next to it that I have no idea what the purpose is, but my daughter uses as her stage.
The columns house the venting and gas for the fireplace, so in order for the insert to be centered on the wall and the columns to come down. it needed to be moved. Since we needed a professional to do the gas, we went ahead and hired this portion out.
One of the contractors we spoke with recommended we change out the insert for a larger one to fit with the scale of the new surround and built-ins. Although I wasn’t sure I wanted to add to our expenses this early in our renovation, we decided that this wasn’t something that we could skimp on and come back to later. We bit the bullet and installed a new one, and I’m so glad we did.
This is where the experts leave and we take over. If you look closely at the pictures, you can see the plywood sub-floor where the old surround was. We gained about 12 inches of floor space, and now the fireplace will be centered between two symmetrical built-in bookcases.
Here is my sketch layout of the new built-ins.
We had a lot of work to do before we could install the stone, so stay tuned to read more about that in Part 2!