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Unusual old fireplace - can it be made new??

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  1. #1
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    Default Unusual old fireplace - can it be made new??

    Hi everyone,

    I have a 1950s house with a pretty ugly looking fireplace in the lounge, with an even uglier gas heater stuck on the front. I am going to get a plumber to disconnect the gas and remove the heater, but I am trying to decide what to do with the fireplace. This is it:

    photo-12-.jpg

    My current options are:

    1) Remove completely and add more space to the room?
    2) Source a more classic 1920s style fireplace and install it in same position?
    3) Utilise what's there, restore and make it a feature.

    I should say that none of these options are for heating, we have a split system which does that (I know, I know, wood fires are beautiful, it is just so impractical for us). So if we went for options 2 or 3 it would just be for looks.

    I wanted to see some photos of restored/fireplaces similar to mine, to get an idea of what it could look like, and so looked through 1000s of photos of fireplaces on the net - I have not found any that are like mine. Is it so very unique or is it so ugly people have removed them all and there are none left to photograph!!? If you have one, please post a picture so I can see how good it could look.

    My second question is; what's behind the gas heater? Typically, when these were installed, was any damage done to the fireplace behind it?I know this will become obvious once we have it removed, but we want to have a plan of how to proceed once we get to that part, so am trying to be forewarned.

    Any suggestions advice/appreciated

    Thanks,

    Sadcase

  2. #2
    3K Club Member johnc's Avatar
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    It looks like a 1920's or later plaster fireplace surround. The heater looks like a 1960's addition possibly replacing either an electric or gas range. If it was mine I'd be inclined to repair any damage after removal of the gas appliance and decide then what to do. Chances are it doesn't have a proper chimney, is that the case?.

  3. #3
    Old Chippy 6K
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    I'd remove it completely and make good. The fireplace earth is typical of the period,but unremarkable. Gas fireplace could be 60s or 70s - same models almost unchanged over that time.
    Advice from me on this forum is general and for guidance based on information given by the member posing the question. Not to be used in place of professional advice from people appropriately qualified in the relevant field. All structural work must be approved and constructed to the BCA or other relevant standards by suitably licensed persons. The person doing the work and reading my advice accepts responsibility for ensuring the work done accords with the applicable law.

  4. #4
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    FWIW
    I did a 50's one a few years back. It was a nice feature fireplace worth keeping.

    I took out the oil heater (similar look to yr heater) and sharpened up the exposed fireplace with render. I had a proper chimney which I sealed (where you couldn't see it, and vented the room elsewhere with a wall vent) and put in a gas point, p/p and a gas heater that was the right proportions for the fireplace.
    This suited my requirements as I don't like the heat from rev cycle a/c units and prefer gas.

  5. #5
    Old Chippy 6K
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    Personal taste - that's a 50s surround and looks it albeit in good condition, but OP said has central heating etc so does not need a fireplace in the room - so don't have one IMO.
    Advice from me on this forum is general and for guidance based on information given by the member posing the question. Not to be used in place of professional advice from people appropriately qualified in the relevant field. All structural work must be approved and constructed to the BCA or other relevant standards by suitably licensed persons. The person doing the work and reading my advice accepts responsibility for ensuring the work done accords with the applicable law.

  6. #6
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    You should keep the surround. It looks like an original, albeit quirky, feature that makes your house authentic.

  7. #7
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    Hi JohnC,
    Thanks for that - I think it does have an ok chimney, have attached a photo - at least from the outside it looks as though it could work fine, if we did want to make it useable.

    photo-14-.jpg

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by toooldforthis View Post
    FWIW
    I did a 50's one a few years back. It was a nice feature fireplace worth keeping.

    I took out the oil heater (similar look to yr heater) and sharpened up the exposed fireplace with render. I had a proper chimney which I sealed (where you couldn't see it, and vented the room elsewhere with a wall vent) and put in a gas point, p/p and a gas heater that was the right proportions for the fireplace.
    This suited my requirements as I don't like the heat from rev cycle a/c units and prefer gas.
    Hi toooldforthis;

    Thanks for the reply - do you happen to have a photo of the one you did? Would love to get an idea of how it might look once finished up - I agree I much prefer gas heaters too; maybe we can be convinced to go that bit extra!

  9. #9
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    Thanks Bloss and Dominicw - I appreciate the varied opinions - keep em coming!

  10. #10
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    Just my opinion, it's pretty fugly. I'd rip out the heater and get the fireplace/chimney checked out to see if still works safely and especially efficiently. Perhaps some modifications or repairs are in order. Then (if it was mine) I'd replace the mantle and hearth with something more suited to my style. I mostly use gas heater but have bothered to refurbish a fireplace that was not properly designed and also needed repair. The costs all up have been about 1400 bucks (plus tile cost - forget how much but not that much) to get others to do majority of it (brickie who does fireplaces 800 bucks and tiler for hearth and face of it about 400 bucks. I installed the mantle (recycled timber) and steel edge around hearth about 100 bucks.

    you can see how ineffective this fireplace was (soot). The walls are all fairly new plasterboard. The brickie/fireplace expert, said it was probably designed for a stove


    the bricks at the base of the fireplace were completely replaced


    the opening had to be made narrower and shorter (and new lintel) and the back curved to get it to draw properly. Works great now


    the tile edge of hearth now has flat bar steel scribed and cut/ground to fit the floor and spray painted gun metal grey



    the uprights are just props while the construction adhesive (threaded rod in there too) sets

    Anyway, just to show you anything can be done.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails fireplace.jpg   fireplace2.jpg   bricks-removed.jpg   p3250004.jpg   p3250005.jpg  

    p6040007.jpg   p6040011.jpg   p7220005.jpg   p7220006.jpg  

  11. #11
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    Hi Shauck,
    Thanks very much for sharing your work - the finished fireplace looks great - hopefully I will end up with looking as good!

  12. #12
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    No worries. Any style that suits your taste is possible. Give it some thought, google images. For resale, fireplaces would be popular.

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