interior design

Ask Kim! Fireplace Dilemma

Dear Kim,

Can you help me with this awkward white brick fireplace?

Thank you!


Thanks so much for your question about your fireplace dilemma.  The best way to unity this area of your home and make it feel more cohesive is by visually combining the fireplace area with the television.  Right now, this area is a monolithic brick mass with a dis-conjointed TV stand.  But no worries!  I have a solution for you design dilemma.

The first thing you need to do is unity these two functions, the tv and the fireplace.  I will accomplish this with millwork and sheetrock and blending these two areas in my design plan.  Please see my CAD drawings to visualize what I am doing.  The first order of business is to build cabinet to house all of your TV equipet.  I want to tie this cabinet in with the fireplace so I have designed a mantel and mantel “legs which transition the cabinet piece from the fireplace.  By using the same materials, but utilizing different depths of each section, this will visually combine the areas, but provide functionality for each section.  For above the mantel and also above the built in TV canit, I would sheetrock and paint this area to match your existing room.  I would also wrap sheetrock and paint this area to match your existing room.  I would also wrap the sheetrock around the side of the fireplace where the brick turns and goes back to the kitchen.  Work with your carpenter to the best ways to transition the sheetrock to the side o the mantel legs and then transition the sheetrock to the brick hearth.  I would suggest painting all the millwork white and painting the sheetrock the color of the rest of the walls in your room.  

The above article will be featured in the May issue of Lake Highlands Life – because I only have limited space in the magazine, I have added additional information below!

When I was designing this solution, I did a little research online to get some inspiration and I applied element of these ideas into the custom design I drew up. In addition, I have added some photos to further visualize the solution.

Photo 1 – I love how the bookshelves integrated with the fireplace mantel and design.  The brick hearth was a similar situation to Janet’ and I really liked the mantel legs.  They provided a fluid unity between the bookshelf built-in and the fireplace.  As a side note, the inside edge of the mantel legs should be constructed out of a non-combustible material.  You can do this through some of the following options:

1 – You could use a white tile such as Thassos.

2 – You could use cement board that your contractor floats smooth and you paint just as you would wood.

3 – You extend the inside face with brick and paint as you have the rest of the brick.  You would transition this by turning the stile of the mantle leg on th inside (over the brick) the same width that the stile is on the face of the mantle leg. 

Photo 2 – i liked the lower base cabinets because if we followed the height of the mantel teh TV might not fit and it would be at a level that could not be comfortable for viewing.  The difference in this photo though is the build in cabinets are recessed past the depth of the fireplace.  So I designed the cabinet to be shorter like the second photo, but come out in front of the fireplace facade like the first photo.

As you can see, searching online for ideas for your solutions is great.  But more thank likely your situation will not be exactly like the set-up is from your inspirational room.  So, it is the knowledge of being in business for almost 20 years, that helps to custom a design plan that can solve all your design dilemmas.  I hope you enjoyed this further explanation and you can follow my “Ask Kim” article by following Lake Highlands Life

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