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Living Room Renovation: Before and After
Reflecting typical 1970’s Tucson design, this Living Room felt restricted and clumsy. The heavy iron metalwork, as seen in the andirons and the light fixtures, the dark wooden window shutters that blocked much light and views, the cream colored brickwork and the glazed, patterned tile on the hearth were dated and old. But the fireplace had some interesting design features, evidenced in the sloped brick pilasters that framed the firebox and the simple line of the wood mantel that related to the wood ceiling. The Italian slate flooring was beautiful and definitely worth saving.
First, the wooden window blinds were removed and the all the arched windows were re-built with new larger and rectilinear Energy Star windows or sliding glass doors. The interior of these window frames were finished in mahogany, stained to match the mantel. Replacing the dated ceiling fixture was a modern ceiling fan and light that added both soft lighting and air circulation to the Living Room.
We then focused on the fireplace wall. Rather than add the considerable expense to completely replace this large structure, a decision was made to re-purpose this focal area instead. While we liked the brick and the pilasters, the colors were all wrong with grout that was too bold. Getting a little inspiration from Frank Lloyd Wright, we decided to have all the vertical grout joints re-pointed to make them flush with, and textured similar to, the face of the brick. Then we painted the brick, using a complimentary color to define only the horizontal grout joints. Next, we clad the pilasters with stainless steel sheathing. This highlighted the slope of the pilasters while adding striking vertical elements to balance the horizontality of the brick work and mantel. Deep charcoal porcelain tiles with a soft gray linear design replaced the glazed tile on the hearth. After painting the firebox black, the final design element within the firebox was a floating granite slab with an inset stainless steel eco-burner.