Fireplace Envy

The light palette.

For a girl who has always loved the crackling sound of a real fire place, one could argue I made a bit of an error buying a house with no fireplace.  And if one did argue that, they’d be right.  My only defense is that I fell in love with this little jewel so quickly, I dismissed the issue.  The next best thing, though, is a faux fireplace.

It also seems a little unusual to be talking about fireplaces, faux or otherwise, when the weather is so warm here today.  As you can see in the picture above, the weather was temperate enough to open the windows and doors.  No complaints, we’ll just enjoy the weather while we can.

The one I am featuring in this article is one I build myself using bricks, pavers, wood, molding and wood decorative elements were all off the shelf products from the home store.  The design came from my head and the rest came together as it usually does with me…on an ad hoc basis.  I just always have faith these little projects will pull together in the end.  Turns out I am right about that around 50% of the time:)

The mantle itself is pretty straightforward.  The only suggestion I would offer is to make sure you notch the bottom of each side to fit over the molding at the bottom of the wall so that your mantle sits flush against it.  As with many things…it is the small details that count and that one is an important one in order to create a fireplace that reads as close to the real thing as possible.

The insert is just a series of bricks staggered and angled, secured with generic construction adhesive, with a plywood backing for stability.  A fair warning would be that once this fireplace is assembled in the place where it stands…it is difficult to move because the brick insert is extremely heavy.  If I did another one, I would work a little harder at finding the brick tiles that are about 3/4 of an inch thick…so if you tackle this kind of project, give that option some serious thought.

When creating the insert with bricks (real or tiles) you will have to cut some of the bricks where the edge of the insert meets the mantle.  This is actually very easy.  For a few dollars your can find a chisel and using a rubber mallet, cut the brick pretty quick.

As far as the “fire” goes…you have many options.  For safety, I would suggest a small string of twinkly Christmas lights.  The twinkle mimics the crackling of the fire and is quite cozy.  Or you can get electric inserts that use real logs and a well placed light bulb to mimic the flame.  The home store carries and inexpensive model at a cost of around $45.

I have spent the bulk of this article talking about the fireplace itself, but the styling is really what brings it home and makes it fit in my little cottage.  I have strived for a more edited look and lighter pallete.  If I can accomplish that, then it will fit right in with everything esle.

The pictures that follow show how I built the faux fireplace and the styling of it.

I hope you find some inspiration.



Apron. Fluting. Medallian. Molding.

Nothing fancy. Stock fluted molding and medallian from the homestore.


Simple pavers create the hearth of the faux fireplace.

Brick insert built with angled walls.

Brick platform for the candlesticks.


The ornate detail of the candle mirrors the detail of the vintage gas fireplace insert.

Tarnish patina only serves to showcase the design of the candle sticks.


What you can’t see.

An old gas heater provides the feel; candles provide the dancing light.

Beauty in the details.

Straightforward mantle design sprang from my head.

Simple styling is the order of the day.

Unusually and delightfully warm winter day; open door juxtaposed with the faux fireplace.

A collection of architectural objects.

Elements in found condition, respecting their journey.

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