Monday, March 19, 2012

Reader Update: Painted Fireplace & Amityville Horror Windows

Remember Lisa?  Back in November she told us she was plagued by a dark brick fireplace, uninspired honey oak trim, wall-to-wall carpet that had seen better days and out of place Amityville Horror windows (her description, not mine!)

We all agreed she should get busy painting her brick fireplace a clean, crisp white.  I went on to recommend she paint all her honey oak trim white, install some hardwood floors and build out some bookcases under each window to anchor the whole wall and negate the "floating window" thing she had going on. 

Lisa just emailed me photos of her progress and WOW!  Amazing what some white paint will do right?

From Lisa:

The white is Benjamin Moore Navajo White.  It’s “white,” but definitely a little creamy in my darker room.  I put one coat of paint on the brick and realized I would have 8 coats in and would never get it covered.  That brick just soaked it up.  Back to store and the experts gave me primer.  One coat of that and 2 coats of paint and I have a beautiful, warm, creamy brick fireplace.  And I LOVE it.
A few weeks later, we ordered cherry hardwood floors.  FABULOUS.  I can’t articulate enough how great they look.  I am in love.  While those were being installed, I primed the baseboards and painted them in the same BM paint. 
I also primed the weird windows.  Once I did, I kind of liked them in the lighter color.  So I painted them the same Navajo White and I’m really pleased.  They are certainly still noticeable, but for some reason they don’t look so out of place. 
Next on Lisa's to-do list are bookcases to flank the fireplace.  But shes' stumped by how to deal with this very shallow fireplace and the idea that her shelves would extend past it.   I'm going to guess that these bricks are just standard size so that would mean that Lisa has approx 3.75" of depth to work with here. 

This is an interesting dilemma.  Historic bungalows have fireplaces with deeper recesses on either side so building out to get a totally flush look isn't an issue.

The standard depth on most bookcases is 8-12".  In my opinion, anything deeper just results in dead space behind books & accessories - AKA dust territory.   So while I agree that having shelves that stick out past your fireplace surround aren't ideal, I think it's a necessary trade off in order to have functional shelf space (a 4" deep shelf is not functional in my book.)

Here's an example of a bungalow layout where the bottom shelves stick out past the fireplace.

This isn't a traditional bungalow but you can see what having shelves come out past the fireplace might look like.

If you absolutely can't deal with the shelves sticking out, you could add additional trim and mill work to the fireplace surround and build it up.  I don't think you'll get 8" out of it but you could get close like in this image. 

My last piece of advice - as long as you keep the shelves from bumping out past the fireplace hearth, you'll be fine! 

P.S. I love that lamp!  ...But please put a drum shade on it ;-)  Sorry Lisa, I couldn't resist!

If you have a question or design dilemma irking you, drop me an email at honeyandfitz (at) yahoo (dot) com.  I love a challenge and I love searching out pictures to help inspire you to tackle the issue and make your space the best it can be.