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HELP with asymmetrical fireplace . . . please? How would you design a mantle for this fireplace?
donnag631
January 23, 2013 in Design Dilemma
First, ignore the sample mantle hanging there now. The problem I'm having is that the brick on the left side of this fireplace extends all the way to the wall (approximately 32 inches). The brick along the right side of the fireplace is 15 inches shorter than the brick on the left side. How can I design a mantle that looks symmetrical? What do I do . . . center the mantle over the entire hearth, or center it over the firebox? All suggestions are appreciated. Thank you so much.
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jodi92478
Center it over the fireplace and hang some fireplace tools to the left
January 23, 2013 at 6:20PM     
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donnag631
thank you - do you mean over the firebox or centered over the entire hearth?
January 23, 2013 at 6:21PM   
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eeclean
Forget the traditional mantle. build an addition above brick and reface brick all the way to ceiling. Use assemetrical floating shelves starting w one to left of top of fireplace then up at old mantle height shelf that hangs from midline of fireplace going toward right. Then for a little semmetry use same distance between two shelves for third shelf on top left bisecting edge lines of other shelves.
January 23, 2013 at 6:32PM   
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donnag631
Thank you so much for responding. I'm not sure I could afford the additional brick. Would it be hard to match the brick at this stage?
January 23, 2013 at 6:42PM   
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eeclean
In that case I would use brick paneling sold at lowes for around $30 4'x8' sheet. Then paint all the brick glossy white if floating shelves dark or I'm pretty sure houzz has some cool painted brick colors that would work in your home.
January 23, 2013 at 6:48PM   
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donnag631
Thank you so much for your info. I was thinking of something along a more traditional route. Any suggestions for how to design the mantle, without altering the brick. Honestly, if I had the funds, I'd just pull down the brick and start again.
January 24, 2013 at 4:49AM   
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chiroman24
You could run the mantle from the right end of the bricks all the way to the wall, and then drop a set of 15" wide shelves/ cubicles down to the hearth .
January 24, 2013 at 4:57AM     
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donnag631
thank you - how deep would make the shelves?
January 24, 2013 at 7:23AM   
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chiroman24
I would probably make the mantle about 14 inches deep and the shelves 12" deep. If you decided to go with cubicles with baskets or canvas baskets, they are usually 12" x 12". Home depot sells them in different colors. Just fyi. Hope that helps! You could also stack wood in the cubicles for a diff look.
January 24, 2013 at 3:15PM   
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chiroman24
Also..... Make the mantle dead end into the wall on the left and "return" the mantle on the right side. And the diff in the 14" vs the 12" for the cubicles is to allow for moulding, trim etc
January 24, 2013 at 3:17PM   
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Paul
I would ditch that mantle and get a rough beefy timber and run the length of the brick.
January 24, 2013 at 3:42PM     
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mrsrosie
I agree with ppalmer68, run a mantle along the entire length of the brick. If you don't like the idea of rough timber and want to keep a similar look to what you have now, that's fine just run it along the whole length. If you go traditional however, I would go for something not so thick from the top of the mantle to the bottom; what you have there now is very pretty but if you ran it along the whole length it would overwhelm the firebox and brick. It's a bit too chunky. Good luck!
January 24, 2013 at 3:53PM     
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Becky Harris
I'm with ppalmer - then balance out the asymmetry by placing a big bucket or box for firewood on the left.
January 24, 2013 at 3:55PM   
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PRO
Lena Kroupnik Interiors
It's a tricky situation, we've been there with my client... The house is traditional and my client wanted to keep it that way. So I designed a wide mantel across the entire width. We build thicker columns on both sides from the fireplace. And as a final touch, applied beautiful crackled tile to the old brick. Good luck!
January 25, 2013 at 7:08AM   
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donnag631
Thank yo so much for all the advice and input - it's appreciated. Still struggling with exactly what to do. Lena, your photo is gorgeous - love the mirror.
January 25, 2013 at 9:17AM   
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TanCalGal
I think a minimal mantel across the whole unit or no mantel at all (if possible). If the brick was painted or refaced the same as the wall the asymmetry might not be as noticeable. The important thing, I think is to hang large art over the fireplace part and not center the art. If possible, we cannot see entire area & this might not work as it would not have worked in the Lena K I's fireplace area. Tucson Residence Kitchen Bright White Fireplace
January 25, 2013 at 3:03PM   
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baon
This looks shockingly similar to my childhood fireplace. The mantle was a long piece of deep reddish brown wood and not too thick (it will appear too heavy). I don't recall if it wrapped to the floor like olldj22 picture. To the larger side we stored our fireplace tools including a metal popcorn popper. Good luck!
January 25, 2013 at 3:39PM     
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kcfaye817
Definitely carry the mantle the length of the brick! More spcae to work with for all of the seasonal decorations!
January 25, 2013 at 3:47PM   
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groveraxle
The Bright White Fireplace that olldj22 posted is absolutely perfect for your room. Go with the asymmetry and play it up; if you try to make it look symmetrical, it never will and you'll just be disappointed. Paint the whole wall and the brick a neutral color, and paint the firescreen black. Put a large vibrant painting over the fireplace and the wall will be gorgeous.
January 25, 2013 at 3:48PM   
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donnag631
Groveraxle, you are spot on . . . celebrate it for what it is - an asymmetrical fireplace that can still look fine. Thank you all so much for your wonderful suggestions . . . I appreciate them. Any other ideas? I'm still listening and still thankful.
January 25, 2013 at 4:51PM     
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su79
@Donnag631, I'm tackling with the same problem you have. I just wanted to thank you for starting this post & the valuable advice everyone's putting in.In another post where I looked advice from,someone told me to not center the mantle top decor (mirror/artwork) and use "Three Plus One" Decorating Trick to make things work, so for that too you need a longer mantle.I probably will stick to Olldj22's bright white fireplace idea too.Good luck with your decor!
April 12, 2013 at 9:58PM   
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PRO
Distinctive Mantel Designs, Inc
sounds like you want something traditional. You can use the shelf you have but carry the crown detail over to the ends of the brick and wrap the right side. Then add painted white wood below to cover the brick with a simple molding design, then add legs under the existing shelf. Basically, you have a mantel (legs and shelf) protruding forward and the sides are flatter to cover brick with matching crown. (returns, if you will)
March 19, 2014 at 2:41PM   
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