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Arts and Crafts Fireplace Restoration

David Heide Design Studio


  • Jon Frost
  • Dan McMillan
  • Charles Dailey
  • Ken Brooks

Project Status

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Project Description


• Restore the Arts and Crafts fireplace to its original appearance, using existing materials when possible


Sometime during its long life, the living room fireplace in this 1912 Arts and Crafts Tudor house in St. Paul, Minn., was modernized by installing drywall between the two original pilasters and adding a slab marble surround. When David Heide Design (DHD) Studio’s team went to work on finding furniture for the room, it discovered that behind the drywall was a plaster panel depicting an ancient Greek man—possibly the poet Homer—playing a lyre before a couple seated on a chaise lounge. And behind the marble was the original brick. With that much potential, DHD decided to restore the fireplace to its original look.

Research turned up a 1914 catalog showing the plaster relief. That prompted the homeowners' desire to return the fireplace to its role as the room’s centerpiece. Using acrylic, fabricator Ken Brooks repaired the plaster relief where it had been damaged by its drywall cover; mason Dan McMillan pulled out damaged bricks, turned them around, and reinserted them with the undamaged face showing; cabinetmaker Jon Frost drew on details from elsewhere in the room to create a new white oak over-mantle to frame the plaster frieze; and Charles Dailey modified, restored, and installed a pair of historic lights to flank the frieze.

Judges’ Comments

The judges liked the excellent craftsmanship of this project and appreciated the effort to stay true to the fireplace’s original look.

Products Used

No new products were purchased for this project aside from custom paint. Existing brick was reused, while antique lighting was repurposed.

Click to see the 17 other winners in the 2014 Remodeling Design Awards.

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