How to Ignite Your Home’s Resale Value by Updating Your Fireplace

We’re hearty New Englanders.  Oh, sure we’re tough enough to take on the seemingly endless, brutally cold winter days.  (You know the ones when it literally hurts to be outside?)  But boy, do we love snuggling up with some hot chocolate and a blanket in front of a warm, cozy fire. The Norwegians have a word for that comforting, soothing feeling you get from sitting in front of those crackling flames. It’s called “peiskos”.  Being cold to your bones outdoors then warming up by a hearth’s glow… it’s all part of the New England winter experience.   Indoor fireplaces have been a common fixture in New England homes since colonial times but still today, a fireplace tops the “must-have” list for home buyers. While we are no longer cooking on the hearth and using it as our sole source of heat, home buyers are in perfect agreement that fireplaces provide a homey ambiance and the design centerpiece of any room.  Since a fireplace is typically the most attention-grabbing feature of the room it’s in, everything that surrounds the firebox deserves special attention. According to the 2013 study by The National Association of Realtors, participants cited fireplaces as “one of their most sought-after features” and 40% said they’d be willing to pay extra if a home had one. We love refreshing worn-out fireplace surrounds and mantels because as much as they are functional, fireplaces add much character, charm and style to a home. Updating the aesthetic of your existing fireplace will not only help you enhance your overall winter experience, but it can also increase your home’s resale value. It’s a win-win.

Fireplaces create an atmosphere and evoke feelings that cannot be easily duplicated. From the smell of the wood burning, to the sight of the sparking flames, the warmth of the heat and the crackling sounds, indoor hearths instantly transport homeowners into a relaxed state of mind. So, it’s not surprising that home buyers place such an importance on finding homes with fireplaces. Based on the NAR study mentioned above, nearly 70% of real estate agents said they see some type of increased value in homes with fireplaces.  Though most home buyers still prefer wood-burning, gas-burning fireplaces are in a close second place. Electric fireplaces (probably because the technology makes them look so inauthentic) are a distant third. Most home buyers and realtors agree that while fireplaces add a homey touch, they are also associated with luxury living. That connection is one of the main reasons why fireplaces can add value to a home.

The evidence makes it clear. Fireplaces are a hot item (pun intended). But who wants to buy a house with an outdated fireplace? Having the firebox itself is not nearly enough. Your hearth should be dressed up with a stunning surround, mantel, artwork and other design elements that vibe with the rest of your home.  The most common fireplace mantels and surrounds we design and install are for standard, out-of-date red brick fireplaces.  At CC Woodcrafters of NE, we sometimes wrap the brick in wood, leaving the exposed brick for the firebox only.  The result is a fresh look that doesn’t break the bank yet completely transforms the tone of the living space.  While we specialize in designing and installing artisan wooden fireplace mantels and surrounds, some homeowners prefer stone. In that case, we refer clients to a qualified mason who has the skills necessary to perform the job. Some homeowners opt to wrap the brick with decorative tile, sheet rock or even wooden pallets creating a full wall feature.

Paint is also an option for giving a fireplace a makeover. Whether you paint the brick, the wooden mantel or the surrounding wall, it can work as a very affordable update. Look up how to whitewash brick. It will brighten up the material without looking so saturated in paint. Try a pop of color.  If you’re daring, Pantone’s 2018 color of the year is “ultra-violet”.  Just saying. Dramatic contrast using paint, mixed materials, 3-D artwork, even painted murals on the mantel are all ways to create drama and interest around the one element in your room that deserves it the most.

Here are a few mantels and surrounds from our client portfolio get your inspiration flowing.

Grand Luxury

The solid cherry mantel with raised panel accents is custom-stained with a satin sheen clear top coat. At ten feet tall, the mantel is to scale with the twenty-foot ceilings. The custom designed media center cleverly hides away for a sleek and unobtrusive look.








Functionally Flanked

A floor-to-ceiling fireplace mantel, enhanced with hand-carved corbels, flanked by open shelving and comfy window seats is just begging someone to grab a book and stay a while. Lower cabinets enhance the ample storage capacity of this classic white, painted built-in.  Not only does this piece add elegance and grace to this home, but it also provides an irresistible functionality that cannot be replaced.



Timeless Traditional

With all inset doors and hinges, this uncomplicated yet classic entertainment center surrounding the hearth makes the room feel larger while adding visual interest. The right lower case houses the media equipment while the other base is used for storage. This versatile piece could work in virtually any home and enhances the character of the charming fireplace.

If you’re looking to list your home for the spring 2018 market, freshening up your fireplace could bring in more potential buyers at a higher asking price. No plans to leave? Update anyway to waken up the aesthetic of your living space and enjoy the benefits of it for years to come.  Take a close look at your own fireplace mantel and surround. Does it compliment the overall design of your home? Does it look tired? If so, you might have your next home improvement project lined up before you can utter the word “peiskos”.