All Fired Up

All Fired Up
Fireplaces are a novelty here in Phoenix. We need them maybe … two nights a year. Minus two. Which explains why most builders here have no idea what to do with them or how to logically incorporate them into any type of living space.  Here are some examples of what I’m talking about found today in my local MLS listings:

This makes my eyes barf.


Me no understand!

 Now, here’s an example of what TO do, from Better After reader Di. She and her husband recently moved to a new home (in Utah, so fireplace = warranted) and went to work converting the gaping space above and around the fireplace into a whole lotta good-looking.  My eyes just breathed a sigh of relief.

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  1. October 1, 2012 / 6:25 PM

    My goodness, it’s stunning. What a difference it can make to oust old oak cabinets, huh? Paint does wonders…

    We have a fireplace in Mesa…and I don’t know why. Though I do want a cool insert for those none nights a year that we need it!

  2. Anonymous
    October 1, 2012 / 6:26 PM

    I don’t understand the point of fireplaces in Phoenix. My parents live there and were trying to sell their house. A guy came through (from the East) and loved the house. He even started the paperwork to make an offer, but changed his mind because it didn’t have a fireplace. Uhhhhh…..apparently he’s never been to Phoenix before.

  3. October 1, 2012 / 6:37 PM

    Living in an area that gets quite cold in the winter, we aren’t even going to put a fireplace in the house we are building at all. Wood stoves are much more efficient(and cute!) and don’t require us to add on a chimney.

    So why they would be putting them in houses that would never need them is beyond me.

  4. October 1, 2012 / 6:55 PM

    Wow! What a transformation! That is inspiring!

  5. Anonymous
    October 1, 2012 / 8:03 PM

    Believe it or not we actually use the fireplace in our home here in Chandler, AZ at times during the winter. I know it is weird…but we live basically in the great room of our home and if we turn off the heat in the winter (or use just at night) we light the fire for the evening when we are hanging out in the great room. Nothing like I was used to back in the midwest but lovely none the less.

  6. October 1, 2012 / 10:53 PM

    Hahaha! Eyes barf. Totally appropriate choice of words.

  7. October 1, 2012 / 11:49 PM

    Love that makeover.

    We live in Houston. We moved here three years ago…and in the house hunt process discovered like every house has a fireplace. We asked the realtor exactly what these were for. He said they are really nice for cold winter nights. He said he’d used his for that purpose approximately 3x in the past four years.

  8. October 2, 2012 / 3:22 AM

    That is what I would have liked to do with the fireplace we had in our home back in Virginia. We live in Tucson now, and they really do make the unnecessary fireplaces look horrendous!

    Now I want a fireplace just so I can have THAT!

  9. October 2, 2012 / 3:22 AM

    That is what I would have liked to do with the fireplace we had in our home back in Virginia. We live in Tucson now, and they really do make the unnecessary fireplaces look horrendous!

    Now I want a fireplace just so I can have THAT!

  10. October 2, 2012 / 3:51 AM

    Rotfl at “makes my eyes barf”. I kep snickering thinking about it…..

  11. October 2, 2012 / 12:57 PM

    Lindsay you are hilarious! I am cracking up at your ‘me no understand’ and ‘makes my eyes barf’. I love your blog for the inspiration, but mostly for your hilarious comments. GENIUS!

  12. October 2, 2012 / 4:24 PM

    I love your commentary, so funny. Thank you for featuring us on here. I feel so lucky to have made it. Love reading your funny posts & getting inspirited by all the great after pictures you post. Thanks again!

  13. Annette
    October 2, 2012 / 5:01 PM

    That looks great! I can imagine all of the games stored in those cupboards. Looks like they used stock cabinets too, way cheaper than custom–way to go!

    We took out our fireplace—wish I had before and afters to share of that. Gained 15+ square feet of living room too! wahoo!

  14. October 2, 2012 / 7:44 PM

    I’m from New England. We all have fireplaces. And when I have looked at MLS listings out your way, I have always wondered what was up with the fireplaces. They are really weird.

  15. Anonymous
    October 3, 2012 / 12:48 AM

    I am definately going to adopt your phrase “makes my eyes barf”. I have been laughing about it all night. I’m a hotel designer and there are plenty of old hotels that make my eyes barf! Love it!!

  16. Anonymous
    October 3, 2012 / 4:57 AM

    I’m stumped with a fireplace problem. In older homes, the fireplace tends to be a focal point, centered on the wall and pretty easy to decorate around. In the home I might be buying, it is off-center and has a narrow window on one side and a lage sliding door on the other. I don’t want it or need it. Maybe I’ll put in a full wall of draperies and just cover it up!

  17. October 4, 2012 / 6:38 PM

    The built in looks fabulous! We are doing a similar project right now in our basement, hopefully it’ll be completed soon!

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  19. October 9, 2012 / 4:43 AM

    And here I was thinking I was the only one who thought the fireplaces in desert homes looked awful and awkward. I’ve told my parents a zillion times to consider just ripping theirs out- while vowing never to buy a home w/ a fireplace. It’s a deal breaker, I got a puzzled look from our realtor. Now matter how oddly placed, fireplaces are a “selling feature!” MORONS.

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