I'm looking for ideas/inspiration for this fireplace in our turn-of-the century Brooklyn brownstone row house. The mantle has been stripped and unprotected for 10-12 years. (I assume someone stripped it with the intention of later restoring it, but they never did.)
I'm tempted to paint the woodwork white to match the rest of the trim in the room. There are few original details remaining in the house, so I feel a twinge of guilt not restoring it in a more traditional style. That said, our style is more contemporary.
Since this room is on the ground floor (read: not a lot of light) and it's being used as a young child's bedroom, I'd like to make it as bright and airy as possible. Complicating matters, I really wanted to hang this elephant print (sentimental value) above the mantle, but now I'm worried it's too dark / monochromatic.
I'm looking for suggestions on whether to:
- paint or stain the mantle? Is there anything I should do to treat the wood since it's been bare for so many years?
- replace the tile? or cover it with something else? I believe it's original, but it's not that nice. The color is a dark, reddish-brown.
- do anything with the hearth? It's not terrible, but again, just trying to figure out ways to brighten the space.
- paint the fireplace wall (which sticks out about four inches from the wall) an accent color? If so, what color? The walls are Benjamin Moore Cloud Gray; trim is BM Decorator's White. The room is decorated in bright, garden-like colors--greens, yellows, reds with brown and white accents. Right now, the fireplace is just a brown, colorless swath in the room.