Our builder grade home came without a fireplace. The living room and kitchen were placed next to each other in a long rectangular room without any eye-popping features. Change was absolutely necessary to transform this boring room: a fireplace and an archway to make the long room look more interesting. The outcome is amazing, just read and see below.
First, we needed to decide on the type and size of the fireplace. We wanted an electric fireplace instead of a natural gas fireplace as the main purpose was to create a design feature in the room. Also, as it barely gets cold in Texas, a natural gas fireplace inside the house would be barely at use. We shopped around and found online a good priced 60″ electric fireplace at Home Depot which shipped for free.
Building the Fireplace Wall and Mantel
To build the fireplace wall, we first created the base structure with studs. It’s important to place sufficient studs in order to install the cement board which comes usually in 3’x5′, the mantel, the fireplace and TV mount. Before we drilled the structure to the studs in the wall, we rerouted the electricity from one of the bottom outlets so that we could place a new outlet behind the TV above the mantel.
Once the structure was attached to the wall, we installed the cement board (USG Durock Brand) using cement board screws. For the mantel we simply used 4″x4″ pressure treated timber wood which we attached to the studs structure with timberlok screws.
Installing the Stone Veneer
Stone veneer is unfortunately not the cheapest material on a budget compared for example to tiles or shiplap. However, we really wanted this timeless, natural feeling so I think it is worth the money after all. We found the stone veneer on sale at Lowes.
The installation of the stone veneer was easier than expected. I bought the RYOBI Wet tile saw at Home Depot and cutting the stone worked like a charm. We used MAPEI Ultralite white mortar to install the stone veneer at the cement board.
Once the stone veneer was installed and the mortar dried, we stained the mantel using Dark Walnut wood stain (Varathane). Then we installed the TV Mount, TV and Fireplace and caulked any minor gaps between stone veneer and wall/ ceiling. And here it is, our romantic, modern fireplace! It makes such a difference and immediately catches your eye when entering the house. Now, let’s add an archway to complete the look.