The challenge: Update and freshen the ho-hum, marble-tiled fireplace surround in a Minneapolis 1980s townhouse.

The designer: Mary Maney, Crystal Kitchen Center/Design Build,

Stone solution: Maney, who was remodeling the entire townhouse, realized that the dated two-story fireplace didn’t fit the new living room design. The bland marble tile would have to go. “I suggested a ledge stone wall for its color and texture and a more customized look,” said Maney. The homeowner was on board, and her nephew, a stonemason, built a new floor-to-ceiling, stacked-stone wall.

From elm tree to fireplace mantel: Maney went to Wood From the Hood, a Minneapolis company that reclaims wood from diseased elms and uses it to make furniture and other wood products. She found a chunky piece for the mantel from an elm that had been growing within a few miles of the townhouse. The distressed wood was stained to match the new hardwood floor. It adds a warm rustic element and “is a conversation piece,” said Maney.

Bookcase backdrop: The existing bookcases on both sides of the fireplace were a stark white. “To blend in, we painted them the same color as the wall — a taupey gray, ” said Maney.

Fireplace focal point: Maney replaced outdated polished brass doors with clean, black metal doors on the wood-burning fireplace.

Bang for the buck: The refaced fireplace, which transforms the room, can be a smart investment, said Maney.

Vast improvement: “The room is two stories high, so it commands your attention,” she said. “Now it’s two stories of pretty stone.”

Lynn Underwood • 612-673-7619



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