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Fireplace facelifts
By Lori Harlan

The proliferation of home improvement television shows allows us to peek into other people's homes and survey the landscape. Though the grass isn't always greener, sometimes the fireplace is more attractive, and that's good for Marx Fireplace & Lighting in Springfield.

Chad Kruger, a buyer for Marx who has grown up in the family business, says it's not unusual for customers to come in looking for something they've seen on TV.

"We get a lot of people who are tired of the old fireplace and want a new look. They see something on HGTV, and they want it," Kruger says. "Home improvement shows are good for business."

Updating the look of a fireplace can be as simple as changing out the doors. Marx offers a variety of styles and colors for a relatively easy fireplace facelift.

Mantles can also be replaced, and prices range from $200 to $1,000. Kruger says even as styles have changed, people still like wood. Other mantle material includes stone and a stone-like product that is actually man-made and poured into a mold.

Fireplace surrounds can be made of granite, stone, marble or brick, but tile seems to have fallen out of favor.

"You just don't see much tile," Kruger says. "In fact, people are ripping it out and replacing it."

The team at Marx works with customers to identify their needs and explore options. "It's important to figure out what you want and what you want to live with for a long time. We also work within your budget to find what's right for you," he adds.

An overhaul that changes the entire look of the fireplace can cost anywhere from $600 up to $12,000.

TV shows make the process look easy - total transformation can be finished in a 30-minute episode. Some customers choose to do the work themselves, a job Kruger says is often harder than it seems. "I've had people who have done it themselves and said, 'Never again.' " For the rest, Marx offers an installation team.

Story published Friday, March 6, 2009 ( Volume 4, Number 2 )

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