Mar 23, 2010

by English Muse

My dear decor experts, I’m having a small decorating dilemma. We have a very mod brick fireplace in our new flat. It poses a challenge because it’s off-center, stands about a foot off the floor and has no mantel. Should I just leave the top portion plain or try to hang a painting?

I definitely would love to find a fantastic Eames-era screen like this:

I also think this fireplace is lovely:

Any thoughts!?


This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010 at 2:32 am. It is filed under Decor. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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27 Responses to “Decor Dilemma”

  1. Giulia says:

    I think you should hang something. I'll try to find a photo tomorrow of something my mother did in the 1970s. She found a very large rounded carved frame. Think an arch…anyway, she hung it on the brick. It's late here & I'm not making sense. Back tomorrow…


  2. About Steam Spectre says:

    Lovely inspiration photos! If it were my little space I would place an old mirror in the far back and fill it with various sized candles. I love the paper garland idea to break up the space a little. Maybe even a paper flower garland… Have fun decorating!

  3. Louis Duke says:

    Perhaps a small scale Polaroid wall? Maybe even clip hang them like the last photograph?

  4. holly goes lightly says:

    My first thought is to create some sort of mantel with a white painted shelf/ledge from Ballard Designs or Pottery Barn (they hang just like a picture frame), add a few personal pieces atop the ledge (perhaps skewed to the left), and hang a fairly large mirror above…

  5. tina tarnoff says:

    You should definitely do something abstract to distract from the off-center fireplace. Kind of follow the flow of the off-center (if that makes sence). Create an interesting abstract display with the wall plates, perhaps. Or different size smalish paintings, photos. Whatever you do, I think it's asking for something to be placed there. Love the new place! It must be so exciting to be decorating it from the start.

  6. Ms. Smart says:

    if I may… something black framed and off centered the other way. balance. keep it simple. maybe even an empty black frame.

    I keep getting an impression that you need to hang a mobile somewhere?!?!

  7. brigitte says:

    I second the idea for a Polaroid wall! That would be amazing over the fireplace!

    Also I'm in love with the inspiration photos!



    I would display a collection of different styles & sizes of decorative mirrors ~perhaps?!
    I wonder if you're allowed to drill anything on the brick wall though…


  9. Anne says:

    We had a very similar setup in the house I grew up in. My mom had a large wreath custom-made (this was 1991, so custom wreaths were apparently the thing) and hung it over the fireplace. I'm not sure I'd go the same route, but it looked nice.

  10. Fleurette says:

    in the left corner a big pot plant with an indoor palm tree then lots of different size framed photos to cover the brick wall or a wall hanging maybe a modern art quilt.Good luck,whatever you do I know will be beautiful.

  11. Tonia says:

    That's just crying out for one big statement piece over it – nothing that will be damaged by the rising heat though!

  12. Jessie says:

    You could easily create that picture for you own fireplace, with a hanging of your own. A mirror would look nice too!xx

  13. Ragland Hill Social by Gwen Driscoll says:

    Hang a big mirror. As tall and wide as you can find. It will make it romantic and charming instead of an eyesore. Good luck. Let us know what you figure out.

  14. The Cottage Cheese says:

    How about a Curtis Jere Sculpture? Fits the mid-century era of your flat perfectly!

    P.S. Love the Eames era screen. Wow!

  15. kimberj says:

    I really like the idea of a Jere sculpture but if budget is an issue like it is at my house that may not be an option. How about a fairly large tall (somewhat skinny) piece centered above the opening with a series of small black and white pieces hung down the wider side. For the bottom I've seen somewhere white stoneware faux logs that could be stacked up. If you wanted to do it on the cheap, buy an old set of gas fireplace logs and paint them matte white. You could stack them and let them spill over onto the black tile. Just a thought 🙂 If you find a source for a mid cent looking screen please do a posting. Don Drumm Studios in Akron has a beautiful aluminum one but its awfully $$$$

  16. Joanna Goddard says:

    the banner is such a pretty idea!

  17. texassky says:

    The last scene is so natural. You should go that route, with a beautiful spring motif of photos and memories. Just think, you could change it out whenever you please, for a relative low cost!

  18. k.o'brien jewelry says:

    an old frame to a mirror painted in a bright color to offset the white. That would be fun!

  19. alanna says:

    i actually just saw somewhere (i forget where though) a fireplace that was slightly off center and they put red vases of varying sizes within the fireplace to emulate a fire (the fireplace wasn't functional and i'm not sure if yours is or not) and it looked awesome…i think it might work here too. the bright colors would look great against the black and white, bringing color and decoration to the wall without requiring a drill.

  20. iconsandsymbols says:

    To contrast with the black and white, I'd hang a coloured geometric abstration painting… like a big canvas with some off centre geometric shapes in contrasting colours, like blue and orange or something. Not too busy, though

    … I have the perfect idea and it's making me want to paint!


  21. Carey says:

    Oh lord be careful. I tend to fall on the side of using one large statement piece (like an enormous mirror or huge abstract painting as suggested by earlier commenters) because of that busy brick pattern. Or leave it blank and find one of those fab screens, then add all the personality to either side. Good luck. It will be fun to see how you solve this dilemma. I'm sure you'll do it well.

    (I also have a problem fireplace. It's cheap, clunky 1977 brick in a half circle on top of a tall hearth made of the same cheap brick. There is plywood stretching from the top of the half circle up to the 17 foot ceiling. Horrible. In the end we used good molding and designed a huge verticle rectangular grid over the plywood surface, then painted the entire thing a slate color. This way it looks more like a panel than plywood and sort of goes away. It does not invite art, so we did not hang anything on it. The brick remained in its original state due to finances. The whole shabang is next on the list to be demolished and redesigned, but it's taken us 8 years to get to this point.)

  22. Penney says:

    Tina…I agree that it needs something…
    Having it neutral is great! I think a good mix of modern and vintage, simply dome is a good way.
    I want to share a mantel with you from a place my hubby's family rents each year for our reunions. I adore it!!! Fun, simple and won't get ruined by smoke..(always happens! you'll need a screen)
    So happy for you!
    xo, P

  23. alanna says:

    i just ound the place where i found it…real simple has an article about fireplace ideas that were really fun and interesting!

  24. Destination Inspiration says:

    It defffinitelyy needs something doesn't it? A big artsy focal point would be good to take the focus away from the fact that the fireplace is off center.

  25. Sundari says:

    I love all the ideas above. I don't have much to add after all of that, but I do have quite a few ideas for my own ugly fireplace in my study thanks to this post. Let us know what happens.

  26. arteriole says:

    My Sister had a fireplace painted white as well – so I re-painted in brick tones for her! I sponge painted the bricks to match the wall paint colours (warm taupes with flecks of rust and yellow) and then when the paint was dry, I rubbed grout in the grooves to make it look authentic – it was ridiculously easy and looked fabulous (although, they didn't actually burn fires in it :D)

  27. Carolynn Cecilia says:

    My vote is for a painting! Something fresh and new. Something to celebrate this new chapter in your life. Good Luck!

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