(I told you it was massive.)
I knew I wanted to change the entire look of the fireplace, and this photo I found on Pinterest is what inspired me:
(Source: Architectural Details)
I super loved the grid on this design with the stone below. We also have dark floors and gray paint like this sample. So this was my initial inspiration as we made our changes.
The first thing we did was move the electrical (which at first had a light in the ceiling), to a side plug for Christmas lights. This appears on the left side of the fireplace (it's that little quite square on the fireplace in the photo below).
Then we had the niche framed in and had our finish carpenter create a new look for the fireplace. I went with 1x6 boards on the bottom. And 1x3 pieces make the framing. The top is a typical molding that was inspired by and matches the bottom of the fireplace.
I learned that I couldn't do the squares I wanted as shown in the inspiration photo because the area would only warrant rectangles, and I didn't want that.
I also thought really hard about adding some horizontal boards like shiplap up to the top, but I didn't because all of our interior doors have vertical beadboard. And I felt the vertical beadboard would stretch the design too far to the top and pull the eye higher than I wanted. I want the fireplace to have presence, but I don't want people getting lost at the top of the 12' ceilings. Instead I want them to feel the overall massiveness of the fireplace so I'm sticking to a fairly plain design so I can add layers in the decor I pick to display here.
Next week the painters are coming to paint the entire mantle and fireplace white. It will be the same white as the trim pictured in this photo. I'm so excited to see how it looks when it's done.
Watch for photos of the finished/decorated fireplace coming soon!