Decorating & Furniture/Fireplace wall
QUESTION: Help! This is fireplace hell! First, this is a "corner" fireplace (open on two sides). The "box" hanging from the ceiling is our bedroom closet from upstairs and after having taken the sheetrock off, we've been told this is a structural load bearing unit (can't take it out w/out some major beam and jack work) The "bookcase" under the box is recessed 11". I initially had doors made for this and had been using it for storage (pictured without the doors) What can we possibly do to purpose and integrate this space? This is our living room that is open to the dining and kitchen area, very visible and of course our focal point wall. The brick on the fireplace is impossibly dark, I'd like to get a big beefy mantel (distressed white) built and cover the mantel up part with sheetrock, cover the brick "wings" on the side and also the inside wall down to the hearth, maybe get a limestone (light colored) slab made for the hearth. I'd welcome any opinions that you may have. Some things we've discussed-we don't want or need to house the T.V. here, making it into some kind of desk type area. It is very expensive to get cabinets made to fill this area and then not sure how those should look.
ANSWER: Hi Julie,
Boy, you said it all in your email. First, let's sheetrock the bottom of your closet, if not the entire wall.
If you do not want to use the shelf area as built-in shelves, then sheet rock over them. Better to have a blank wall space than this competing space (competing for the focal point of the room).
The fireplace brick can be painted any color you choose, and can easily have a mantle added. I'd consider using a large mantle and painting the brick (I know some people hate to do this to brick) in either a grey or white tone. Staying with a "natural" stone color works best when painting over brick.
Create a seating area (1 - 2 chairs and a table with floor lamp) where those shelves are now. If you orient the seating area toward the fireplace it will look very natural. You can angle them in.
If this wall, even though load bearing, had some glass block added in (assuming there's something behind it to allow light in) it would be more interesting and pleasing. Talk to a local contractor about adding some decorative glass block near the top of the cabinet and the bottom of your closet area. It could be done horizontally or vertically for a nice effect.
PS: Building in cabinets are of course your option. If you opt to build in cabinets, it's still going to look odd because it's off-centered. I don't think you're going to be happy with it at all.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Thank you for your reply.
My ceiling height is 91" and this closet hangs down 22" and projects 27 1/2" from that back wall. Though hard to see there is also a 21 1/2" gap between where the closet stops and the brick (wing) starts.
I can't do glass block because this is an inside wall. Is there another "thing" this box could be purposed for once its sheetrocked again?
I think it would be nice to have a seating area here, but I'd think that someone would be afraid to sit "under there" because of bumping their head.
Also, that bookshelf can be removed easily, it's just the closet above it that is structural.
Would you extend the closet width all the way to the brick?
I'd like to cover the top part of the fireplace and the two side wings with sheetrock, get a nice corner(white) mantle made and put a light color tile or slab on the hearth, but keep the brick (just clean it). What do you think of this?
If I have this as a seating area, what kind of room lighting do you recommend to draw attention away from the box on the ceiling? Or should there be lighting coming down from the underside of the closet?
Thanks so much for your opinions?
Thanks for the update. I would extend the closet width all the way to the brick. Covering the top and sides of the fireplace with sheetrock would be fine too.
If you can invest in some good can lights or halogen spot lights, these would be perfect for the underside of the closet.
Also, if you want to use the "box thing" as is, I'd opt for some large prints, framed exactly alike to occupy that space.