HELP!! What would you do to minimize this brick wall??

Stephanie SchantzMarch 3, 2013
This is the great room. We plan to put a television above the firebox, but aren't sure how to handle the brick.
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Ironwood Builders
It sure is a lot of brick! I'm more concerned as to how you are going to get power to your TV than what you do with the brick!
1 Like    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 8:01PM
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msklemm
You could drywall over part of it or create a wood surround
6 Likes    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 8:03PM
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Darlene Rantala
It seems the brick wall is calling out to be painted. Also the white walls & ceiling need a whole lot of color. A strong structure of wood shelving with a strong cornice finish right across the brick above the fireplace, will take the eye away from the fireplace looking so small. The inside of the wall units should be a dark color to showcase collectibles nicely.The T.V. placed above the fireplace could be flanked with modern sconces. can anything be put on the hearth, Looks like its wood which could be stained to match the beams. Big rooms can take color very well. please post your finished project :) do you need help with colors. what furniture is going in there? is that carpet, tile or hardwood floor? good luck :)
1 Like    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 8:06PM
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Darlene Rantala
i alos do like the drywall portion idea!
1 Like    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 8:07PM
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designergirl1156
Stucco!
1 Like    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 8:26PM
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HERE Design and Architecture
Goodness - is this a house? The scale is enormous.
1 Like    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 8:30PM
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Urbana ~ Designer Ellen Crystal
I've seen several clients take down the brick and drywall. A smaller more intimate mantle/ surround can then be done a more modest scale to room. Another idea as expressed above is to stucco over. Also the whole thing can be sheathed in Hardie board (a cement board similar to drywall) and then sheathe in a marble or granite tile. The scale would still be pretty large, unless the material choice was softer more neutral shade

Take a look through many fireplace idea files to find the look that suits you. Once you've done that consulting with a pro in your area will help establish budgets & sources for material choice.

the room has a little bit of a baronial or lodge look, so perhaps a river rock base or ledgestone with a nice mantle. a little rustic, but more organic look which would be softer than the monument currently there. Integrate the wood beams/trim at the upper level.
2 Likes    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 8:35PM
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lefty47
HI -- Well sticking a big TV on it is not going to help minimize it and like Ironwood says how your going to do it. You are not going to be able to minimize it but if you painted the walls and ceiling a warmer color that is in the brick , then it will not show so large . It is what it is. Then add a big wood beam mantel across the face and have a larger firescreen over the firebox . You may be able to run your wires for the TV through the wood mantel . The fireplace was made that size to make a statement , so let it .
4 Likes    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 8:37PM
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Darzy
I like the drywall idea and with the brick extending on the sides you can "hide" the electrical behind the drywall. Can that work Ironwood?
1 Like    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 8:43PM
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rawketgrl
Holy cathedral of brick batman! You either love it and paint a mural on it/work with it, or you cover it drywall/stucco and put a fireplace surround over it to give it some scale to fit the place. Good luck to you! :D
3 Likes    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 9:35PM
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slipstitch
Whitewash it!
1 Like    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 9:40PM
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jccbaker
Have you lived with this brick wall yet? I am averse to doing anything permanent to alter things until after I've lived with it for awhile. What about getting a 12'x14' rug in an awesome pattern/color to hang from a rod from the ceiling against the brick?
2 Likes    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 9:50PM
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Eagledzines
I would take it down below the horizontal beam, 3/4 up from the floor and put a large wood beam across for the mantle. The wall itself is very tall and then the cathedral ceiling on top of that makes it that much taller. The sheer scale of the room demands strong elements. But what is there now is really overkill.
2 Likes    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 10:16PM
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Ironwood Builders
Darzy, we can usually come up with a plan...I just wanted the electrical and information harness wiring to be part of the thought process early. I try like crazy not to get into actual design here, sometimes it can't be helped. Anything that is done to mitigate all that brick is going to be a big project. Really big. Well, not as big as building the house over, but you get my drift. Getting stone up that thing will take a month. Obviously, dry walling at least part of it is less money. I think a team of a designer and contractor could come up with a solution that wouldn't break the bank...but you need the right people for the job. That much brick needed a walk in fireplace with some nice comfy benches inside. More "baronial" yeah?
3 Likes    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 11:45PM
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Darzy
Ironwood..you are so right. Think about the "problems" that will arise before moving forward. If there is a will there is a way, and almost anything is possible, with a big bank account!
    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 9:58AM
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nasmijati
Taking Ironwood's last statement, what IF you could enlarge the firebox to "walk-in" size? You would certainly have enough room to install and perhaps camouflage all the necessary components for a nearly-theater sized screen.
    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 10:09AM
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Eagledzines
Another idea might be to enclose the wall with sheetrock as Ironwood suggested down to the level you want the wall and then build forward the bottom, making a deeper firebox. I don't know how that would affect the damper. Maybe it's not an issue if you're going to put a propane insert there.
    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 10:27AM
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nasmijati
Are you planning to use the firebox to burn wood, natural gas, or propane? It would have to be for ambiance only, because the room is too large to be heated by a fireplace that size.
    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 10:31AM
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A Crew of Two
I know you are asking about the fireplace here, but I think installing wood floors would be my first step. This would give the room some much needed warmth and tie the massive size of the FP in with the room. Painting the room a darker color will also help. Next a mantle will also draw focus down. I guess you either have to embrace it or replace it. I am not sure of the size of the room...is putting some beams across the room an option? Or maybe a large chandelier.
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1 Like    Bookmark   Thanked by Stephanie Schantz    March 4, 2013 at 10:43AM
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Egoist Design
If you don't want to drywall or take down the brick, I would add an interest to an actual fireplace. Put a nice (oversized) frame around it to balance out the proportion between the fireplace and the amount of brick. Also, play up the hearth. You could raise it on the sides, use different material, incorporate it with the frame I am suggesting...Consider putting up not just the TV on its own. Perhaps some art work and wall sconces (candle holers). It really all depends what else you are planning to do with the space...
    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 10:48AM
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mpoulsom
Yea, that IS a lot of brick! yowza!
I think I would sheetrock the bottom and install a thick mantel running all the way across to the brick columns on each side. Then maybe some floating shelves above that on each side. Then as someone else suggested, either a VERY large rug that you love with the colors you will be decorating with, or a Huge canvas of art hanging down in the middle area above tv.
    Bookmark   Thanked by Stephanie Schantz    March 4, 2013 at 10:52AM
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Eagledzines
Ellen Crystal mentioned the word 'baronial'. How about a gigantic baronial tapestry.
    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 10:58AM
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Daniel Dionne Designs llc
Hi Stephanie. That is some serious brick you have there, isn't it? My first recommendation is to not be so focused on the brick that you forget the rest of the space. It's easy to do when something is "vexing" to you. The thing that really seems off putting to me is the cabinetry and shelving flanking the door. It feels completely different than the rest of the room. Tacked on, if you will. That said, consider the following: Yank out the cabinetry. Instead, integrate a build out that spans the space between the left and right "column" sections of the brick wall. The full expanse of the top of this unit now becomes your incredibly impactful and architecturally integrated mantel, with shelves or better yet, cabinetry flanking the firebox on both sides, beneath the new mantel. If that doesn't minimize the brick enough, you could take the shelves up to the height of the horizontal beam. The shelves should be the same width above the mantel as below, creating the perfect dedicated spot for your TV and creating the needed cover for the circuitry, etc. If you opt for the taller shelving, I would repeat the full expanse mantel ledge or an appropriately minimized variation across the tops of the shelves to unify them and assure the whole installation reads as an architectural unit. Added benefit: This strengthens the existing focal point of the room, minimizes the visible brick and eliminates the disconnected cabinetry/shelving without sacrificing either storage or display capability.(maybe cabinetry below, shelves above) It will also "clean up" the space and update it without compromising the character of the room. The beams, which provide the more important and desirable architectural feature of the space will become, by default, more focal. Lastly, losing the existing shelves creates a greater opportunity to add window treatments, which I feel this room will definitely need. I would recommend simple panels, stationary or functioning depending on your privacy and light control needs. Hardwood floors, as kklinton suggested, would also be terrific. Hope this is helpful. Best of Luck!
6 Likes    Bookmark   Thanked by Stephanie Schantz    March 4, 2013 at 11:11AM
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Marie Hebson's interiorsBYDESIGN Inc.
You will need to add a mantle or heat break before putting the TV above the fireplace -
I'd avoid that and add symmetry with a mantle and a spot for the TV off to the side (see elevations)

What would I do?
If I couldn't afford to revamp this entire wall to better fit what I want in the space - then I'd simply paint it out white and add a rustic 8x8" mantle across the entire brick face - at the height i wanted.

If I had the budget to revamp - I'd redo the entire wall in a configuration that best accommodates both fireplace, tv, storage and all the things needed for a family / living room and do it right the first time.

Good Luck with your project -
2 Likes    Bookmark   Thanked by Stephanie Schantz    March 4, 2013 at 11:19AM
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mtvarlapati
Firstly, try to paint half of the Brick wall with lighter color(white or offwhite). Then add a LEDGE across that half way and hang a huge painting on the painted brick wall. This will tone down that wall completely. I would suggest painting those builtins in white color. You can leave the beams as it is - they add a lot of character. As others suggested above going for Hardwood floor will enhance the room's beauty. Go for a lighter color hardwood floor.
    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 11:23AM
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Eagledzines
By the way, is this perhaps a firewall for a narrower room on the other side of it? What is on the other side of that wall? Does the brick go up past the roof on the outside?

(Was this ever used commercially like for a dance hall maybe? If it is over a specified square footage and was used commercially, the brick wall, if it is a fire wall, could have been employed to cut the square footage requirement for a sprinkler system.)
1 Like    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 11:23AM
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kmjohnson928
Here's a before and after of a project I did for an HGTV show. The house had A LOT of stone and this helped break it up a bit and gave the homeowners a solution for mounting a TV. The "wall" was built out of plywood and finished using Milestone cement plaster.
    Bookmark   Thanked by Stephanie Schantz    March 4, 2013 at 11:41AM
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decoenthusiaste
Maybe bringing beams across the room, for more of the lodge look, would cut the fireplace wall down to size visually. I'd hesitate to whitewash - might become a white elephant instead of a brick wall.
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1 Like    Bookmark   Thanked by Stephanie Schantz    March 4, 2013 at 11:42AM
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Hannah Huglin
I think the brick is gorgeous! its just a little plain, to 'minimize it' you can frame the fireplace with the same tone wood in the beams, you could add a natural wood beam going from where the brick sticks out all the way to the end to act as a mantel or you can simply frame out some shelving while keeping the brick behind it to make the wall functional and beautiful. another thing you can do if this is an exterior wall is knock some of it out and put some windows in on each side of the fireplace! here are some links to some pictures and ideas I loved! (I don't know what your style is or what your furniture looks like but these should give you some ideas) good luck with your brick!
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1 Like    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 12:49PM
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House of Fine Carpentry
That is a lot of brick. However you could always build out from the brick to hide some of it.
    Bookmark   Thanked by Stephanie Schantz    March 4, 2013 at 12:55PM
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mpoulsom
Love the idea of putting some glass on each side to break it up!
    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 12:57PM
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nasmijati
I like Daniel Dionne's idea.
    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 6:07PM
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Matt
Paint the brick and create two large smooth columns over the left and right brick columns. That wold make it fresh and clean.
1 Like    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 9:06AM
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sanjack0
I love the artwork that rawketgr posted. Think the idea of a large rug, hung like a tapestry would also work well. A very chunky mantle for the t v. DON'T paint, white wash or cover. It's too beautiful.
1 Like    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 10:30AM
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olldcan
That's a lot of brick. I'd be looking at this as a positive not a negative and the foundation to create an amazing room nobody else has. Increasing the size of the fire box..... although a pleasing idea, would be very costly. Hire a pro for advice. Please don't take offence, but for me the white walls and ceiling are too stark making them more of an eyesore than the brick. What's the phrase "When life hands you a lemon make lemonade".
2 Likes    Bookmark   Thanked by Stephanie Schantz    March 12, 2013 at 10:46AM
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Brown Bros. Masonry
Contact a profressional in your area...that definitely is a TON of brick. Wow! An attractive, tall fireplace is one thing but that is literally your entire wall! You've got a lot of informative comments hopefully it's helping you with some ideas.
    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 1:37PM
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