Monday, April 4, 2016

Custom Electric Fireplace Surround

Back in October, when temps were starting to drop, I began dreaming of a fireplace.  As soon as the thermometer drops below 60 degrees, the hoodies and jeans come out for this gal.  Everyone knows one of those people that is always freezing - in my inner circle, that person is me.

I spent a lot of time sitting in our living room, staring at a blank wall, while trying to decipher if I could envision a fireplace.  Here's what our living room looked like:

It was cozy but we were ready for a fireplace.  Real wood burning was out of the question because our garage is on the backside of that wall.  We could have made gas work, but it would have been much more expensive and a larger commitment.  Ultimately, we went electric because if for any reason we didn't want a fireplace down the road, we could simply remove it.

To begin with, we ordered this unit from Home Depot (Not an affiliate link).  It was damaged during delivery so we ordered the same one via Amazon for about $100 less again, not an affiliate link).  Amazon is kinda tricky - I put the fireplace in my cart to keep my eye on the price and one day it dropped from about $530 down to $350, so we snagged it at the low price.  To clarify, we only ordered the electric fireplace insert without any sort of surround.  Brent custom built our wood surround to hold the electric unit, and then the unit plugs into a standard outlet.

I don't have any specific build plans for this one as the chances of someone wanting to build the exact same style of fireplace as we chose would be very slim.  Brent basically built a frame out of 2x4's to support the unit and get it up off of the ground.  He then used poplar to build the surround.  I painted it in Benjamin Moore White Dove.

We are absolutely in love with this fireplace for several reasons:
1. It looks way more real than we ever expected it to!
2. There are 5 different colors of flames to choose from.
3. You can choose the speed at which the flames rise from the logs, so it can feel like a fire that is about to burn out or like a roaring fire.
4. Turning on the infrared heater is OPTIONAL!  So on a summer evening when it's super hot and humid outside, we can still turn on our fireplace for ambiance without melting our guests.
5. It's safe for kids and pets.  Our one year old nephew was over and we didn't have to worry about him getting too close because the fireplace stays cool to the touch.
6. We can remove it.  If we ever decide we don't want it anymore, we can pull it away from the wall, unplug it and relocate it to any room in our house.
7. And finally - it keeps me warm!  I loved coming home on my lunch breaks in the winter to a cold house, turning on the fire and reading my book (or watching Scandal) while I got warmed up.

If you think this might be the type of project you want to tackle, we'd be happy to pass along more advice if you need it!


  1. Cozy! Turned out great and I love the height of the surround.

  2. What a brilliant addition to the room - a job really well done!

  3. Hi there! We are looking at this fireplace and wondered what it looks like when it is off! Could you help?

    1. When it is turned off, it just looks like a gas fireplace that is turned off. You can see the blackened logs inside.