Well, earlier this week we revealed the family room fireplace design and plan and you guys had some notes, suggestions, comments and criticisms. And since we live in a democracy, I have no ego and I actually LOVE feedback, we decided to explore a lot of them. Some of them we absolutely agreed with and others we didn’t. On Wednesday, I read a ton of the comments then called Julie in to discuss. She immediately said, “already on it” and she had changed a ton of the renderings because your suggestions were either really compelling, worth trying out or totally right.
Below (and above) was the final design plan, prior to your comments.
The below rendering shows all your notes and concerns that we felt we needed to address.
- “The TV is too high.” We don’t agree. It’s only 4 1/2 feet off the ground, and I think you are responding to the height of TVs typically above fireplaces, but this one isn’t high, I promise. There is no hearth so it sits much lower than you might expect. No one will be awkwardly staring up and putting strain on our necks…pinky swear.
- “The mantel is too deep to see the TV.” We agree!! You are absolutely RIGHT.
- “The windows feel small.” We don’t agree. They are 2-feet by 4-feet and allow for storage. Also, outside of one of them is a staircase to the upper deck that we were trying to avoid seeing. As much as I love windows, we have floor-to-ceiling scenic doors on the left, so we are good in the way of light.
- “The black bookcases feel too heavy.” We are split on this one. I know that they’ll tie in with the kitchen island and the firebox, but I do suppose that they would be visually lighter if they were white and blended in more with the walls and fireplace surround.
- “The logs are unnecessary, can be dirty and full of bugs.” HA. We agree, but we LOVE the look. I actually had forgotten to put in the renderings that Julie did with baskets for storage. We will likely have the option of either and maybe for shoots, we’d do logs because they are just so pretty, but for life and other shoots, we’d do bins for storage. Brian loves the logs and we do need them in the living room fireplace.
We LOVED your feedback and notes, so thank you so much. You guys had way more and other suggestions, so we rendered them all out to show you. (there were even more versions than the below options).
A few of you wanted no bookshelves to keep it feeling open, but as you can see here (above), it’s just so long (more than 6-feet on each side) and you lose so much function. We also added storage at the bottom, so it’s wood and bins for toys but frankly, we don’t like how it looks when it’s divided up like this. We also bumped out the back wall above the TV, which we agree would make it easier to see. THANK YOU.
You can see in this design we continued the entire fireplace up to the ceiling but it reads more modern than what the house is turning out to be. We also tried white shelves with white backs like some of you suggested, but it felt like…why not do something more interesting? A good rule is that IF you are customizing, you should make sure you are actually doing something that looks custom and special, and not something that looks readymade.
To rectify, we added black reclaimed wood to the back of the shelves like others suggested in lieu of black on the fronts, but it felt so stark. Again, the divided log/storage even on a smaller scale looks too cluttered and silly.
Many of you suggested doing the shelving the same height as the fireplace, but it’s just such a waste of space and the middle feels so unbalanced.
So those were all the nixed ideas. Let’s head back into the ones we tested out and kept.
As a reminder, here is the original design (above).
Next, we bumped out the fireplace wall above the mantel so that it comes into the room 8 inches. Thank you all for suggesting that. The TV honestly isn’t too high for this room and trust me, I HATE a high TV.
Another option we tried as a jumping off point to the previous design was dividing the bench opening to function both as storage and logs. Honestly, we don’t really like this. There are so many boxes and nooks now that it feels pretty cluttered.
Next up, we further explored the white idea but with some more detailing to feel more special.
Here, we wanted the cabinets to be white with a lighter wood in the back and sides and vertical lines on the faces which we decided was too busy because of the shadow lines. Hot tip: Shadow lines on a dark piece of furniture doesn’t show up nearly as much as white.
So we chugged along and kept going with another option. Here is the same idea but with a cleaner version of the cabinets, like we ultimately did in the kitchen (that post is coming soon)—just a classic shaker.
FINALLY, we are down to two NEW options for you guys to choose from.
FINAL OPTION #1: The original design WITH the mantel bump out so the TV is a bit closer. We like the black, we do. And we can be flexible with what goes in the bench nooks—wood or storage.
FINAL OPTION #2: White cabinet fronts with wood on the back and sides of the interior (with the wood or storage option under the benches).
OOHHHHH, I forgot to mention. The reason we aren’t doing wood front drawers is because we really like the idea of the plaster continuing from the fireplace, working with the fireplace in the living room. It just felt more special and appropriate for a mountain house.
So again, with both options, you can have wood OR storage underneath the benches, not both but either.
As you can see, at this point it really comes down to black cabinet fronts and shelves or white cabinet fronts and shelves. Remember that the black cabinetry ties in with the black island in the kitchen which opens to this room. However, the white would help it feel more open and fresh.
I honestly love BOTH, but might be leaning more to picking the white. Brian hasn’t seen this yet, but I think he would go for either. So what say you???
I Design, You Decide
Family Room: Fireplace Design
Thank you for doing your daily design duty.
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