Everyone is always looking for that statement piece for their household and if you are looking for the ultimate wow factor you have come to the right place! Even my father-in-law was taking pictures of the space once it was fully completed and my mother was speechless, which if you know her is hard to do! Many of you are very familiar with my custom stock cabinet sideboard and that project was the main inspiration for this one, just done on a much bigger scale. I can’t wait to show you what we’ve done and how everything has turned out. Follow along to see just how grand the makeover has been!
Table of Contents
This project ended up being a much bigger project than anticipated. We have decided to break it up into two different sections to make each section more easily digestible. A table of contents can be found below:
- Part 1: How to Install an IgniteXL Bold Built-in Linear Fireplace
- Background & The Inspiration
- The Built-In Fireplace
- Built-in Fireplace Installation
- Finish Installation With Materials of Your Choosing
- Finish Installing the Built-in Fireplace
- Wall Mount the TV
- Part 2: How to Install DIY Built-in’s with Kitchen Cabinets
As we were finishing our basement (I know I need to do any update post on that project as well) we thought it would be a good time to install a fireplace on the main floor. We didn’t want to finish our basement and then need to tear things out to install one.
Originally, when we built our house, we were planning on having a fireplace installed with our builder. However, their options ended up being very limited. They only offered one fireplace location, the corner, and didn’t really have all that many options in terms of size and style. We felt that the corner option ended up taking a lot of space in the room and that it just wasn’t what we were looking for. At that point we decided that we would put one in at a future date.
I always wanted my fireplace to be a statement piece and so we decided to go with the following design for the space:
As you can tell, this has been heavily influenced by my custom stock cabinet sideboard! I just loved how this piece turned out that I wanted to replicate it in other places of my home to tie everything together.
We decided to work with Dimplex because we really felt that DIY installation of an electric fireplace was our best option. Also, we thought it would be nice if we had a working heat source during a power outage, especially if one occurred during winter (thanks solar and backup batteries!). Dimplex has so many options to choose from and we were able to find the perfect fireplace for our space, the Dimplex IgniteXL Bold Built-in Linear Electric Fireplace. This fireplace has been amazing, and if your space is really large you are actually able to connect multiple IgniteXL’s together into one giant linear fireplace. My space wasn’t quite large enough to do something like that but I would imagine it would turn out amazing. The other amazing features of this fireplace that we have come to love during our first month of use:
- Can be controlled entirely by your phone through the Dimplex Flame Connect App! Other methods to control the fireplace include on fireplace touch controls or an included remote.
- The glass never gets hot! This is an amazing feature, especially with little ones!
- The ability to control the flame style and colors!
- Fully customizable room temperature that adjusts that heat to your desired level, including no heat at all!
First step to install the fireplace is to frame out the fireplace box. If you have ever framed a basement, or a shed, or any other building, this process will be super easy for you. Our fireplace being 60″ wide, required a bay of size 62 1/4 inches wide x 24 1/4 inches tall x 11 5/8 inches (minimum) deep. The process was fairly straight forward and our entire pop out for the fireplace ended up being 9 feet tall, 36 inches deep, and about 90 inches wide.
I like to frame in place, I’ve always found it a bit easier than framing on the floor and then lifting into place. This method allows me to go back and forth to the miter saw and make small adjustments to get the studs exactly the right height. The first step when framing your space is to install your bottom plate. Cut the bottom plate to the correct length and then using your framing nailer, nail the bottom plate to the subfloor.
The next step is two install the double top plate. I’ve always found it easiest to use a laser level and mark where the ends of the bottom plates are on the ceiling, and then use the laser level to run a line right on top of the bottom plate that will project on the ceiling. This is the exact space that your first top plate should go. Cut the top plate to the correct length using a miter saw and then use your framing nailer to nail it into the ceiling joists (use a stud finder to find them). Next install your second top plate to the first by using your framing nailer.
Next, it’s time to install your studs. Using a tape measure, go around the space and mark your studs at every 15 1/4″ and 16 3/4″ (so they are 16″ on center). This is pretty easy to do using a taping measure as most have every 16″ marked in red, and then you’ll just go back 3/4″ and forward 3/4″ from the red number. Using the laser level cut and install your studs. You want your studs to fit snugly. Not too tight that you have to bang them into place, but not too loose that they will fall when you let go. Use your framing nailer to nail them into the bottom plate and the top plate (1 nail on one side through the middle, 2 nails from the other side through the edges).
Once you get to the fireplace bay, skip that area and go to the next stud on the outside of the other end of the bay. Keep installing your studs, including the corners (takes 3 studs), until you have finished.
Once you are done with all of the main studs go back to the fireplace bay and install that next. It’s easiest to think of this space as a window. You are going to install two kings studs on the edge, and two jack studs to support the studs underneath and above the fireplace. The spacing between your jack studs needs to be 62 1/4 inches, in our case, so make sure that your king studs start at 65 1/4 inches apart to accommodate the jack studs (each 1.5 inches wide).
First cut and install your king studs first using the same method as above, however only nail from the outside with these, at least until you install the bottom jack studs. Cut the bottom jack studs to the height desired (the fireplace will sit 1.5 inches above the height of your jack stud, so 1.5 inches for bottom plate plus jack stud length plus 1.5 inches for the sill plate). Install your two end jack studs first, then install your sill plate across the bottom of the built-in fireplace bay. Next install your jack studs that will hold up the header (top of fireplace) by nailing to the king studs. Once those are installed, install the header next, nailing it down into the jack studs below and from the king studs on the side.
Finally, the last step is to go back and install your cripple studs above and below and the locations marked (red numbers on tape measure marked previously on bottom plate). I’ve found it easiest to nail the cripples through the sill plate and header plate.
Next step is to install any electrical changes that you will want to make. For us, we wanted to move the outlets up from the floor to where the tv was going to be mounted. First we shut off the electricity at the breaker downstairs. Then install a single gang electrical box at the desired location. Next, we removed the outlet cover, unscrewed the outlet, and took off the outlet. Then using some 14/2 Romex, run the end from the original box to the new location and cut it to length. You will want to leave yourself probably an extra 5ish inches on each end. First, using the sheathing tool, cut off the outer white sheathing. Next strip the black and white wires and connect the black, white, and ground wires to the original outlet wires using wire nuts. Run the other end of the Romex through the newly installed outlet box, strip the wires and install the new outlet.
We also wanted to install another outlet on the side of the fireplace for our gaming systems and direct console. We followed the same process as above and ran two more outlets on the side of the fireplace. You should be able to plug both the incoming and outgoing wires into the back of each outlet, although you will need to install a jumper for the ground wire.
Next, we extended the ethernet cables and the tv cables to the side of the fireplace using ethernet extenders and cable extenders.
One other thing that we did, to make it easy to fish wires from the mounted tv to the consoles on the side of the fireplace, is we installed electrical conduit from the back of the tv to the side of the fireplace. This conduit makes it really easy to fish hdmi cables from the tv to the gaming systems or the directv.
The final step in the electrical process is to wire for the fireplace.The fireplace has an adapter to plug into a traditional outlet, or it can be hardwired to a 15 amp 110v circuit, or it can be hardwired to a 15 amp 220v circuit. We elected to go with a hardwired 220v circuit since it provides a higher heat output. You will need to add an additional breaker to your electrical panel if you choose to go the hardwired route. The breaker will take up two slots, at least in our case, since it is a double pole breaker allowing for 220v of electricity. When installing the breaker, first shut off the electricity at your main panel shutoff. Install the breaker, run the circuit using 14/3 Romex (black, white, red, ground wires) to the location of the fireplace, cut the wire and leave a little bit of extra. It’s always better to have a bit extra wire than to need additional wire.
This part of the installation is actually one of the easiest, if you have framed correctly and done your wiring correctly before hand. Unbox your fireplace and enlist a helper to help you lift the fireplace into the bay that was installed previously. It should fit perfectly into the framing bay.
Once the fireplace is placed into position, wire the fireplace depending upon your method of install. In our case, for a hardwire installation, you will remove the electrical cover on the back corner of the fireplace. The wiring, in our case was white to white, black to black, red to yellow, and ground to green. Once the wiring is complete, make sure the wires are secure, and then replace the outlet cover. At this stage I like to check that everything has been installed correctly by turning on the electricity, checking that the fireplace works and that the outlets work and then shut the electricity back off while the remaining installation steps occur. This just ensures that everything has been done correctly.
Once it is placed into position, level the fireplace (if your framing was done correctly it should be level, if not some shims can be used), and then install the mounting brackets that will hold the fireplace in position.
At this point, most content creators tend to use shiplap to finish their installation. The reason that they use shiplap is because it’s easy to install. All you need to do is nail some boards up, cut to the right sizes, using a finishing nailer, and then install some corner pieces.
We decided that we wanted to be a bit more adventurous, especially since the fireplace was going to be the focal point of our main living area. We decided to first install drywall to a level 5 finish, and then install Roman Clay for the finishing touch because we wanted the wall to give off a cement like vibe without it actually being heavy cement.
Installing the drywall was pretty straight forward. First you need to cut the drywall to the correct sizes. You’ll measure your space, and then mark the width on your drywall. Since we have 9 foot ceilings, we install 10 foot drywall vertically so that we had the fewest number of seams. To cut the drywall to the correct size, you will score the back of the drywall using a box cutter. Next snap the drywall (don’t worry, the line will be perfectly straight). Next, hang the drywall using a drill and some drywall screws. One thing you want to make sure is that you always want to work in the same direction that you installed your studs, so that the drywall begins and ends on a stud. If you start from the opposite end then your drywall won’t end on a stud.
Once your drywall is hung, the next step is to install your metal corner bead and the metal edge bead around the fireplace. This ensures nice crisp corners and nice crisp edges around the fireplace. When cutting the drywall around the fireplace, we used a multi-tool and my lines were certainly less than straight (the metal edge bead solves this problem). The edge bead is installed using drywall screws and shouldn’t be sunk too deep.
The next step is to mud and tape the drywall. First you will tape the seams of the drywall by applying a little bit of drywall mud to hold the tape in place. Some tape is self adhesive so you won’t need to worry about mudding. At this first stage I also like to mud the corner bead, and the edge bead for the first time. We elected not to tape and mud the drywall at the ceiling seam. Usually you are supposed to, but we didn’t want to mess with the ceiling texture. Ultimately we elected to caulk the seam. Once these areas have been mudded let them dry. This is a level 1 finish.
After the first layer of mud has dried it is time to apply the first layer over the tape. You will mud over the tape in a fairly narrow strip, and in later applications it will cover this thin strip. This will fill in the drywall dip. You’ll notice drywall is thinner at the seams to allow for a flat finish with tape and mud applied. In this application you’ll also start building up the corners and the edges so that the metal bead can be fully covered. This is a level 2 finish.
The next application is a full mud application. We like to roll on the drywall mud with a 9″ lambskin paint roller. Then using a taping knife, smooth the mud out over the drywall. We’ve found that rolling the drywall mud allows for the most consistent application of drywall mud across the wall. This is necessary for a smooth finish and the hardest for beginners. This is a level 3 finish.
Next, another application of full mud is applied after the previous application has dried. Similar to the last application, we also applied it with a paint roller and smoothed it out with a taping knife wiping the excess into a mud pan. After this application of mud dries, you will then sand the wall using a drywall sander. We actually liked to sand the wall between every application (not really necessary) but since we were drywall beginners it seemed like the smoother the better after every application. This step gets you to a level 4 finish.
The final application is a skim coat that goes over the wall and smooths everything out. We also ended up sanding after the level 5 application since we were going to apply roman clay on top. We felt that sanding would provide the smoothest possible finish since we were pretty slow at mudding.
After allowing the drywall mud to dry we primed the wall next using a primer made for plaster applications. The color of Roman Clay that we chose was Jacket. We were worried that applying the roman clay directly to drywall mud that the color would be slightly off from what we had color tested on some of our other walls (behind paintings). Roman clay is applied using a putty knife, drywall knife, or taping knife. When applying Roman Clay you need to keep a wet edge. You also shouldn’t do the edges first as you’ll want to blend the wet edge into the next row. Roman clay also needs to be applied in one job, you can’t stop halfway through and let it dry.
Next, the mirrored glass must be installed into the back of the fireplace using the suction cup. The mirrored glass is secured with brackets to the fireplace. Now it’s time to install the media bed and driftwood. Start with small crystals first, then place the driftwood across the fireplace. Finally, finish the media bed by placing the larger crystals throughout the media bed.
The last step in the process is to install the front glass. Make sure that all fingerprints or any other material has been removed from the fireplace before installing the front glass. I would also install the app on your phone and connect it to the fireplace before installing the front glass. There is a QR code next to the hidden display that allows you to easily connect to the fireplace. This QR code gets covered once the front glass is installed. Finally install the front glass. This is done by using the suction cup to lift the glass into place and then securing the brackets.
The final step to finish up the wall, for now, is to wall mount the television. Find the studs in the wall, you can use the outlet as a guide, and install the wall mount bracket. Make sure the wall mount bracket is centered and level. Once the bracket is installed, install the supports to the back of the television. Lift the television onto the wall mount and secure it in place. Finally hook up the television to the newly installed outlets and feed the HDMI cables through the conduit.
This takes us to the end of the fireplace installation! The next part will go over how to install the built-in cabinets on the sides of the fireplace.