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NW Hillside Home: The Fireplace Transformation

Updated: Apr 14, 2020

Directly opposite of the NW Hillside Home's gorgeous windows is their fireplace. A perfect location as it doesn't compete with the views of the Willamette and surrounding mountains; instead it helps anchor the long room by offering another cozy spot to relax and reflect.

Here's a before photo of the fireplace. (For more before images of the NW Hillside Home, check out this post.)

None of us had ever seen walls quite like the ones flanking the fireplace. They had a 3D projection-like quality to them:

You can see how they angle in the floorplan and photos above. We debated demo'ing the walls and simplifying the shape but the left projection wall contained the fireplace gas line while the right had the switching for the room. There was also the question of the cove ceiling and how we would address it since it ribbons around these walls. Addressing all of those concerns just to remove two walls is taking the project to a whole new level. Time to take a step back and review it again.

And actually, the more we looked at them, the more we liked them. Your house is YOURS! It should be unique! We all should be saying, 'I've never seen that before! How cool!' rather than try to make our houses look identical to a photo from Pinterest.

That 3D-like projection of the fireplace walls became the inspiration for the design. These walls couldn't be covered up- they needed to be enhanced!

The new mantel would extend all the way forward, wrap the edge of the walls and then taper back to the stone surround. Rather than source a whole new insert, the silver frame of the existing insert would be powder coated black to blend in with a gorgeous soapstone surround. Top it off with a custom mirror to reflect those views and maybe a glass of wine and a book for prime chillaxing time.

But first demo. Demo is never a 'relaxing' time, unfortunately:

George Ramos of George Ramos Woodworking built the most beautiful mantel. His attention to detail and quality is out of this world. We love working with him! Here's the fireplace as the new mantel was getting installed:

And here it is after painting:

Love it! EleMar provided the soapstone and Milan Stoneworks fabricated the surround and hearth. I had never been around before to watch the install process. Tried not to ask too many questions and say the phrase, 'oh wow' too much! :)

We had a moment of not-quite-panic but not-quite-calm when we first saw the soapstone. It felt a little too gray. However, Milan reassured us that oiling the stone would bring out those deep dark tones that we were looking forward to seeing:

Ooooooo so pretty! Dreamy, black soapstone forever! Last final piece of the puzzle was getting the fireplace insert back from powder coating and installed. In the photo below, you can see the final result of the oiling on the soapstone: It's not as glossy as when it dries and instead settles to the perfect shade of moody dark:

Next up on the blog, the final REVEAL of the NW Hillside Home! But I'll leave you with a little sneak peek of the finished fireplace:

Beautiful photo above is by Meagan Larsen. Can't wait to share more! Stay tuned!

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