Your Fireplace Is The Center of a Room.
Looking back at the times I lived in historic homes, I noticed that the fireplace was the center of every room it was placed in. Not only do I say that because they were a focal point but because they were placed in the center of one wall in the room with symmetrical spacing on each side; thus, they were treated as a focal point. They were wood-burning and had lovely decorative screens in front of them. As expected, the hearth was in slate or another kind of natural stone. The mantels were wood or plaster or stone, with cladding from the bottom to the top – by that I mean, to the ceiling or to the bottom of the crown on the walls.
These fireplaces drew you to them. They made you disconnect from the rest of the world to reconnect with yourself and time, and perhaps a good book, and with others. I remember seeing people sitting near the fireplace to not only keep warm but to enjoy the ambience they projected: Warmth, Comfort, and Peace.
Your Fireplace Deserves More Attention.
Long gone are the days where we designed rooms around a fireplace. Long gone are the days we considered the room’s actual use and all of it’s furnishings before placing the fireplace on the plan or on the wall. We suddenly cast them off to the side with a mantel and a shallow hearth or simply insert them into the walls of our modern homes and don’t think of how they lend to the beauty of the home, nor it’s appeal to potential buyers in the near or distant future. Long gone are the days that we have made them a featured luxury. Today, most are nothing more than a Golden Lily: Owned purely to acknowledge said ownership.
Make It a Feature Again. You Deserve it.
If you are building a new home in the near future, consider your furniture setting and requirements before committing to the unit’s placement. If you are currently living in the completed home, consider adding to its presence. Here is my professional advice about how fireplaces look best, categorized by style:
Old World, Mediterranean, Spanish, Italian: Beautiful stone units that anchor the room. Cladding [stone in the same or complementary finish/material] lines the wall the firebox is built into. This technique showcases the entire room by returning the space to “The Old World”, or should I say , in design terms “The New World”. Stone is the go-to solid material that gives it a presence but the cladding is what makes the statement as it allows guests and homeowners alike to notice the wall and fireplace.
I’m going to give you tips on how to make your featured wall come back to life.
Consider tone and texture.
In this image, the fireplace was complemented by the brick’s tone and texture. By using the brick, it added an inner-city feel to an otherwise rustic-meets-coastal space. If you don’t want to invest in brick, opt for dimensional wallpaper or faux finishing of the walls. On a side-note: notice the placement of the furniture. This space was planned [design term for this is “Space Planning”]. This permits function of the space and maximizes usability by knowing how you want to place the furniture and designing the room around it. Sadly, this is one of the most under-rated services offered by design professionals. Without this, most spaces have furniture ill-balanced because the fireplace was thought of first, furniture placement second when they should have been done together and prior to construction to avoid discord between the two.
Use faux finishing techniques in place of cladding.
Cladding the wall that features the fireplace can be expensive. Using paint and faux finishes to the walls is an option for anyone that doesn’t want to tile their walls. Antiquing and patinas are the go-to choice for most homeowners.
Stained Wood Beams or Trusses.
Real or Faux wood beams: If you have them, consider the option that they complement your fireplace. In this next image, the finish of the fireplace was supported by the finish of the overhead beams. All open-structures point to the focus of the room by leading back to the feature wall. This is a reasonable approach in any Rustic Design style.
Add Rich, Bold, Saturated Color.
If your design style permits it, adding a rich, deep, bold tone to the feature wall will make the fireplace stand out. In this Contemporary-meets-French-Federal space, the cool hues of the stone concede with the color of the wall and the gold in the mirror. The act of placing this saturated color on the wall alone, made the mirror’s frame and finish noticeably reach out to and draw your attention, while making the fireplace itself subtly stand out.
Add Ledge Stone against Metal
If you have a modern or contemporary setting, adding a natural stone adds appeal to the fireplace wall. The contrast between the smooth metal and textured ledge stone in this image created a rough, dimensional feature finish that gets your attention and defines the direction of the space.
Your fireplace should be a focal point in your home. The feature wall should complement your fireplace. By adding color, faux finishes or solid materials to the walls, you set a well-balanced tone to the space. Stop hanging on to your Golden Lily. Put it to use by showcasing it, thus making your space, once again, spectacular. You’ll hear it in the oohs and aahs of your friends and guests when they visit. If you have a wall that needs to be brought back to life and need a little professional direction, contact us! We would love to help!
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