Part Two: Fireplace Sketches

Thank you for leaving your sweet and honest comments
on yesterday’s living room plans.
It took all the guts I had to post a before picture of that room
without an after.
But ultimately, I figured most of us don’t have homes
that could grace the cover of Jeanne d’Arc Living.
But, we do have our visions and an infinity of inspiration.

I posted that sad, little photo
because I’m sure that when I finish the room,
a thumbnail…of a vignette
might be cool enough to feature at the bottom of page 145
in the Jeanne d’Arc magazine.
A girl can dream, can’t she?
I wanted to share a couple sketches of my fireplace ideas.
I’ll let them do the talking on this one
but my vision is to add an antique, chippy white mantel
to the front, surrounding the firebox.
It’s just so plain as is.
I will also cover the stone with white, painted cement board
(Thank you Catherine and Mr. Catherine for the heat resistant material tip!)
and add to the existing mantel to make it more substantial.
It is simply too narrow for the scale of the fireplace.

If my vision comes together on this one,
the sofa will be moved.
Some of you will be very happy to read that.
I might also remove the built-in shelving on either side.
I don’t want too much going on in a small space.
I love me a flea market but have no desire to actually live in one.
The entire fireplace will be white and I will distress
the existing mantel to match the chippy, white mantel addition.
What do you think?
With or without shelving?
Option 1
Option 2
Pardon my imperfect Photoshop attempts but it gets the point across.

I’ll respond to each of your comments in the morning.
Our neighborhood was sans internet until about an hour ago.
A blogger without her internet is just all sorts of wrong.
I had the shakes.

post signature
Due to “scraper” websites that earn revenue by scraping feeds (like an automatic copy & paste) and stealing the creative content of others, I can no longer provide FULL blog posts via email subscriptions. I apologize that you now see a partial post and have to click over to my blog for the rest. I try to create lovely and original content so I appreciate your understanding. If you don’t, I am sorry to see you leave and thank you for being a part of my journey while you were subscribed. {Jami}


  1. I do like both, though I myself have been debating on adding shelving next to my own fireplace. I think shelving always adds a place for a beautiful collection without overdoing it so it wouldn’t feel cluttered. I think once you move the couch it won’t feel that way. Either way it will be pretty…can’t wait to see your progress as you go. I too am in my own remodeling… someday’s it becomes burnout. I love seeing the transformation and the possibilities become reality! I think the mantel will be divine!


  2. Becky says:

    If you want uncluttered -no shelves, but I do think you need something to balance out the sofa and chandi. I’m not sure what you have planned for the other wall but maybe some of those poufs for extra seating or an old metal chippy plant stand to put your bird house on, or a box with tall birch sticks. Whatever you chose it will look amazing I’m sure! Do you give yourself a deadline to get things done?

  3. Hmmm, I really like option 2. And honestly, the before doesn’t look terrible at all, I read this post first and then scrolled down expecting a horror, but it is really fine, lots of potential. Looking forward to seeing what you decide to go with! Also, I really, really like your blog, unsure how I haven’t run across it yet? Happy to be your newest follower!

  4. I like both, but the balance is off like someone else mentioned. Of course that can be corrected with a little table or something to bring things in balance. Most important is that you execute YOUR vision, so that YOU are happy with it, you live there, we don’t:) (That was forcefully supportive, not harsh, promise:))

  5. ChRiS says:

    you have it i would keep it, your find it very handy for decorating i won’t say how many yrs ago i had build in shelves beside my fireplace they even had shutters to cover them and we tore em out…………yes that was a ugh you heard and that was a very bad word you heard when i said to hubb can we build shelves in beside foreplace please? btw still no shelves!

  6. Lisa says:

    Hi Jami! Here’s my take on the living room from your pictures and sketch. Leave the brick alone and keep it white. Take the wood mantel off the top, ( I did this to mine and I still have room on top to display stuff), add a full size mirror the width of the brick, put floor to ceiling bookshelves (MAYBE with doors at the bottom- maybe there is something from Ikea or pre-made unfinished wood you could get that would work. They should fill the width) on either side. I’m glad you are moving the couch. What about putting wheels under the crate, especially if it’s going to be on a rug?

  7. Bonnie says:

    I like #2… because you have so much on your mantle, I think the shelves might make it look too cluttered.

    However, I did learn something important after 4 years of design school… what makes YOU happy??? You are the one who has to live there.

    Oh happy day!

  8. Chris says:

    I agree with Bonnie. From the sketch I prefer without the shelves…although I can’t believe I’m writing that because I usually adore built-ins.

  9. Lolo says:

    Hmmm…I like both :) You are not the only one that is indecisive my dear! What does the other side of the fireplace look like? I am a fan of balance, but also whatever floats your boat. I like the clean simplicity of the bare wall, but also i love storage…..My thoughts – no built-in, bulk up the mantle, and dont try to matchy-matchy the mantle and surround. I like the chippy and worn look with a clean crisp color. The two really compliment each other.
    People come into my house and say, “I would have never thought/done that!”. And I like that I am different.

    So I would say go with what makes you happy :)

    Toodles chickee!!

    ps – the sofa MUST move ;)

  10. Megan says:

    I think maybe even lower shelves… maybe not shelves, but padded benches kinda that fit in the spaces. With tops that open (pretty easy for a handy hubby to whip up) to store blankets in?

    I think that the taller shelves are a little much, but I think it needs more than nothing… and the padded benches could be extra seating for parties or whatever…

    Just a thought.

  11. My Yellow House says:

    Good Morning!
    I vote for no shelves…I like the simplicity of the mantle by itself. By the time you build it up and add things to the top, it will make a statement all it’s own. Things off to the side will distract I think and make it look too cluttery. I have the same wall with a fp and built ins (I put glass fronts then covered them with fabric) and it is too much visually for me. I wish I just had the fp to play up.
    You have great ideas though and I’m sure it looks different in person ~ it will be beautiful no matter what you do, I’m sure!
    Sarah :)

  12. ~*Hi Jami~ I am liking #2 the best..I feel it would really make your mirror collection pop! Im trying to make my decor a little more simple and less knick knacks and clutter..less shelves will help resist the temptation to fill them with stuff~Im sure whatever you decide it will look beautiful! :)Rachel~*

  13. ~*Oh and I LOVE Megan’s bench idea!! ;)~*

  14. I so love your blog I LOVE everything white & chippy I am moving into a home that is a pacy color & I will not be able to paint.. wish me luck as I will be posting pictures.. we are birds of a feather..xoxoLaura

  15. Bonnie says:

    I laughed when I read your comment back to me. Yes, I hate decorating MY home, but love doing others… maybe because I’m spending their money! lol

    I agree, I’d love to see a small table (that you can take in/out depending on your decorating mood)next to the fireplace to balance the chandelier, however I’d use same material as the light fixture you pick…so if it has a silver finish, maybe you can do your faux zinc, or glass.

    What a wonderful design problem you have… My husband and I just bought a 52″ flat screen TV yesterday. I really DISLIKE how TV’s look… it’s going to mess up my family room. However, we bought it to bribe our son (who left for college last week) to come visit us. WE ARE SICK PARENTS!!!!

  16. julie says:

    I really like the first option with the extra shelves around the fireplace. the way you drew it, it’s actually making me like the idea of clapboard on the walls even though I know that wasn’t in your picture. See how I’m taking over your project just like that? :)~

  17. I am going through a similar dilema..
    I bought an old mantel with no
    fireplace….now I have to figure out
    how to make it work. Personally I
    love the shelves…however, either
    drawing looks great! I am sure no
    matter what you decide it will be
    perfect. My mantel is in the garage
    until I figure something out…but I
    love it!

    Flora Doora

  18. Karen says:

    I think if you’re going to move the sofa the shelving will be a nice addition of interest. I like what you have planned, it really does look magazine worthy! :-)

    Karen @ Garden, Home and Party

  19. Catherine says:

    Hey love

    I am torn on the shelves: do you balance,…do you make the fireplace a feature? I honestly don’t know – but what I do think is you need to complete the first part of the vision. Get the fireplace looking the way you would like – then move the sofa ;-) THEN decide whether to have shelves, bench etc. :-)

    I do agree with the other lovelies – you need to be happy with the outcome :-)

    I look super forward to future updates.



  20. I think I like option 2 the best. I would complete the fireplace remodel first and then see how you feel about the shelving.

  21. Allison says:

    I think I would complete the fireplace first and get everything moved into position in your living room and then see how things look. You’ve got such a good eye and sense of design that I think you will know which way you prefer it. You can always add the shelves in later if you choose to. I think your PhotoShop attempts are excellent!

  22. I’m impressed with your photoshop attempts
    too. If you don’t like clutter then I’d go for the no-shelves option. The fireplace is so big that any shelving might look squeeeeeeeezed in!
    Which do *YOU* like best?

    By the way, I have twins too! All the best women do, I hear!!! ;-)

    I’m really enjoying reading your blog, by the way. I’m going to click on Follow after I’ve finished this…

  23. Jenni says:

    Hi Jami~
    I think both are nice, but my personal favorite is Option 2. I like the simplicity and how your fireplace has center stage on that wall. But now, it is nice to have a place to decorate, put some pretty things, too! :) I know either way you go, you will make it beautiful!

    I hope you have a good night!

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