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Aztec XL Stone Panel Fireplace – Before & After

Most people, the author included, get so excited to start a home renovation project that a “before” photo of the space being improved is often forgotten in favor of starting to swing hammers, take down walls and rip up floors. While it feels great to get started, that “before” photo makes the end “after” result that much more rewarding to see where you started and what you achieved. In this week’s project profile we’re looking at a set of before and after photos from a recent client that updated their fireplace using our Aztec XL Series Rock Panel. Let’s have a look at where this one started and how it looks now!

The Before

Before photo of residential fireplace in need of updating with a dated ceramic tile surround

The fireplace before things got started is somewhat basic and dated looking fireplace surround. The room itself is beautiful, with great furniture, decorations, and finishes, but the fireplace surround was definitely lacking with a very basic ceramic tile surround. The fireplace is set flush with the wall, so a couple rows of tile and a bull nose is a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to “frame” out the fireplace. The fireplace before was high on function, but low on style, with the travertine look tile looking pretty dated in the middle of a really nice looking room.

The After

After photo of a renovated residential fireplace with Norstone Aztec XL Series Rock Panels installed from floor to ceiling

The fireplace with the stone installed transforms the look of the room and creates more a true focal point for the space. The biggest difference is that the stone now goes all the way up to the ceiling. A floor to ceiling fireplace stretches the space vertically which helps since the ceilings are somewhat low to begin with. Since the fireplace is set flush, the tile was able to be removed and the stone installed over cement board. The Aztec XL Rock Panels are going to vary between about .75” and 1.75” thick, so they create a slight recess of the insert. The homeowners could have chosen to reset the insert to sit more flush with the face of the stone if they so desired. The outer edges are trimmed out with a small moulding or trim piece to cover the exposed edge of the stone panels. This creates a boxed in look to the stone installation and maintains the illusion that the stone is thicker than it is by covering up the exposed edge. Norstone Natural End Stone Panels would have been another great option to have a finished look on the edges of the panels.

One thing we really think is cool about this project is that everything about the space is the same before and after except the stone, which really gives us an opportunity to see how one change can really transform a room. Often times a stone project is a smaller part of a large project, or at the very least a client is changing out paint colors or other decorating items like curtains or rugs. Compare the two photos and everything is the same, down to the placement!

The one thing the author would change about the finished look is to remove the mantle. There’s definitely a trend in fireplace design where the mantles are being lost in favor of a complete look of the stone surround from floor to ceiling. Mantles were originally used to warm food, and then became a home for knick knacks and decorations, or served as a stopping point for the surround if it wasn’t going floor to ceiling, but in a renovated project like this one, where the stone fireplace surround now goes from floor to ceiling, I think removing the mantle, or replacing it with something less traditional and more contemporary rustic would be a good addition to this project.

Thanks for having a look at the before and after of this Aztec XL Series Rock Panel fireplace project. If you have a fireplace that needs updating, spring and summer is a great time to start working on it. Fireplace contractors get really busy in the fall and winter so take advantage of their downtime to get your project done quickly and be ready when the cold weather comes back. To learn more about how our natural stone products can help you quickly and easily transform a fireplace contact us and speak with one of our fireplace design experts to learn more.

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Norstone's New Dimensions in Natural Stone blog aims to discuss design themes, sources of inspiration, and how the world around us influences our creative interpretation and buying preferences.

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