One of the features our house came with that we were really excited about was the built in gas fireplace. This is what it looked like when we took possession:
And a corner of it while we were staining the floors:
The wall that the fireplace was on also made the most sense for the tv to be on, so we immediately started thinking about options for built ins. After looking at plenty of inspiration, we decided we wanted cabinets on either side for storage and the tv on the left side instead of above the fireplace. I like the look of the tv above the fireplace but our tv isn’t huge. It’s only a 32″ and we were not planning on buying a new one. It also would have been really high and I didn’t want to kink my neck every time I want to watch. I also like the option of having other decorative stuff on the mantle and not having the tv as the main focal point. We originally had thought we would face the entire fireplace with wood and tile over the brick on the lower portion around the gas insert. Aaron really didn’t like the brick because it reminded him of all the old stuff and old smells in the house. I didn’t mind it but the thought of a clean slate was tempting. We narrowed it down to something like this:
Except with cabinets on either side and different tile.
When we got our kitchen we also got two 36″ uppers in the same door profile but the white colour to flank each side of the existing brick fireplace. We planned to build them in and match the white paint on the rest of the woodwork to the colour of the doors. We assembled them when we assembled our kitchen and then just kind of set them there, expecting to begin work on the new surround soon. Well, as fall turned to winter we got a bit lazy, enjoying being moved in and happy that we had mostly finished the main floor and we never did end up starting the fireplace. It was kind of annoying having the cabinets sitting on the floor sliding around when you tried to open the doors, or when a kid bumped into one. Stuff kept falling behind them and I was getting annoyed that things were so unorganized with all the tv components etc. So once spring came, we decided to tackle the project. In the meantime, we had also made our plans less elaborate. This likely stemmed from the fact that I didn’t want to draw plans. I just wanted it to happen and I knew pretty much what I wanted in my head. Problem with that is that Aaron is the implementer in our work relationship. I come up with the idea and help him carry it out, but unless it’s painting or basic woodworking, he is in charge of saws and major power tools, etc. He couldn’t understand what I was trying to tell him to do so it took a bit of time to get that all worked out but basically for now, we ditched the wood facing and tile and decided to focus on a mantle and building in the sides. We opted to keep the brick for now and if we decide to later, we can always reface it.
Here are some photos of the process:
There were a lot of 2×4’s involved in the making of the surround. Aaron wanted it to be sturdy. Like if someone kicked it, he didn’t even want it to slightly vibrate. I thought that was maybe overkill, seeing as there is a large hearth and kicking the surround above it would be very difficult to do by accident, but I suppose we do have kids who sometimes like to climb/hang off things/bump toys into things. We then faced the 2×4 frame with mdf and filled all nail holes and seams. Then sanded a bunch. Then I primed it and finally painted everything.
Here it is now:
We’ve still got some finishing touches to do. The crown needs to be filled and painted, there is 1/4 round to be put on and we need upper shelves. I’m excited to get the shelves up and disperse some of the stuff on the mantle so that it isn’t so crowded. For now though this is such an improvement and it’s nice to be able to make use of the cabinets.
While I am at it I may as well show some other before and afters of the living room.