A pretty tricky AAA today from the lovely Florence, who blogs over at Flossie Teacakes (you must read her blog and follow her on Instagram – she writes so beautifully and with such extraordinary detail – her words are almost mesmerising, I find). She sent me a picture of one of the rooms in her home, where her family spend the majority of their time. It is a really well proportioned room with high ceilings, lovely pieces like a Lloyd Loom chair, one of Florence’s amazing wallhangings, chapel chairs and a vintage sewing machine. The problem is that they have never been able to figure out what to do with the unused, blocked up fireplace in this room.
Up to this point, Florence has tried painting it, placing photograph albums in it, a beautiful bowl and then a terrarium but none of these solutions looked or felt quite right. Normally, it isn’t too difficult to fill this sort of space; a lovely plant, candles or a large ornament can be really rather beautifully framed by the gap where the fireplace once was.
The problem Florence has is that the two alcoves surrounding the fireplace are filled with books from the bottom up. Therefore, adding something to the fireplace can make that lower half of the room look too heavy and confused – basically, there’s too much going on. Also, the fireplace has no surround, which means it isn’t a natural feature. Have a look for yourselves…
I think the main problem is the books, not the hole in the wall – controversial, I know. The shelves need to be higher, starting above the level of the fireplace as their current position is making everything seem out of balance and bottom heavy. Ideally, in-built cupboards on either side of the fireplace in each alcove would make the bottom half of the wall much plainer and more able to cope with a feature being made of the unused fireplace. Personally, I would tile the hole and add a beautiful grate, like the picture above. Obviously, you couldn’t use this, but it would make the whole wall look more like a traditional, period home. You could also choose really beautiful tiles that would give a focal point to the room and add some colour. Failing that, and I understand it may feel weird for some to construct a faux fireplace for no other reason than aesthetics (and relatively expensive), I would fill it with logs (I’ve always loved the way that looks even if there’s no working fireplace in sight) or a beautiful plant or large vase of flowers but I think changing the height of the shelves is key. The picture below, is kind of how I envisage the changes (as close as I could find without going to Florence’s house and DIYing it myself!). So, the alcoves here now look more balanced with the cupboards below, shelves above and the hole can be filled without it looking messy or over the top because it is no longer competing with books either side of it. Does that make sense?
What do you think? What would you fill the hole with taking into consideration the rest of the room?
I really hope this has helped you, Florence!