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English Muse: Decor Dilemma

Monday, March 22, 2010

Decor Dilemma

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!?


Blogger Giulia said...

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...


March 22, 2010 at 8:26 PM  
Blogger About Steam Spectre said...

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!

March 22, 2010 at 8:32 PM  
Blogger Louis Duke said...

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

March 22, 2010 at 8:38 PM  
Blogger holly goes lightly said...

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...

March 22, 2010 at 8:46 PM  
Anonymous tina tarnoff said...

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.

March 22, 2010 at 9:22 PM  
Anonymous Ms. Smart said...

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?!?!

March 22, 2010 at 9:24 PM  
Blogger brigitte said...

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

Also I'm in love with the inspiration photos!


March 22, 2010 at 9:25 PM  

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...


March 22, 2010 at 9:40 PM  
Anonymous Anne said...

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.

March 23, 2010 at 12:53 AM  
Blogger Fleurette said...

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.

March 23, 2010 at 1:22 AM  
Blogger Tonia said...

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

March 23, 2010 at 1:48 AM  
Blogger Jessie said...

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

March 23, 2010 at 2:20 AM  
Blogger Ragland Hill Social by Gwen Driscoll said...

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.

March 23, 2010 at 5:46 AM  
Blogger The Cottage Cheese said...

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

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

March 23, 2010 at 6:11 AM  
Blogger kimberj said...

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 $$$$

March 23, 2010 at 7:08 AM  
Blogger Joanna Goddard said...

the banner is such a pretty idea!

March 23, 2010 at 7:13 AM  
Blogger texassky said...

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!

March 23, 2010 at 7:16 AM  
Blogger k.o'brien jewelry said...

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

March 23, 2010 at 8:14 AM  
Blogger alanna said...

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.

March 23, 2010 at 8:27 AM  
Blogger iconsandsymbols said...

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!


March 23, 2010 at 9:16 AM  
Blogger Carey said...

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.)

March 23, 2010 at 12:14 PM  
Blogger Penney said...

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

March 23, 2010 at 2:50 PM  
Blogger alanna said...

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

March 23, 2010 at 6:09 PM  
Blogger Destination Inspiration said...

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.

March 23, 2010 at 10:30 PM  
Blogger Sundari said...

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.

March 24, 2010 at 7:13 AM  
Blogger arteriole said...

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)

March 24, 2010 at 2:39 PM  
Blogger Carolynn Cecilia said...

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

March 26, 2010 at 7:50 PM  

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