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What: This fabulous arrangement of built-in cabinetry needed to provide a display area for decorative objects. It also holds wine and most likely glasses, corkscrews, decanters and coasters, as well as a TV and its components.
How: For display of decorative objects, there is a large mantel deep enough to hold vases and also open shelves. A niche to one side provides a spot for the TV, with closed storage keeping components out of sight. Open wine storage and a wine refrigerator are unusual twists to this built-in, as is the counter area for serving drinks or snacks. Closed cabinetry provides room for glasses and perhaps snacks to go with the wine.
Style: The traditional cabinetry in a painted finish fits the style of the home. The deep color lets that area recede visually so that the lighter stone of the fireplace masonry advances. The scale of the cabinetry and moldings lets them hold their own next to the massive fireplace surround without overpowering it, so that the fireplace remains the primary focal point.
Tip: Consider the activities that occur in the room, then plan your storage and display to accommodate those activities.
What: These built-ins were designed to accommodate the needs of a family. The TV was in an oversized niche, and all the components were sitting in there too, so it looked cluttered. The children spend a lot of time in this room, so storage for toys was needed. And open display shelving for decorative accents was desired.
How: The TV niche was resized to fit the TV precisely. An articulating arm allows it to be pulled forward to reach cables. Below the mantel are cabinets behind doors that are so minimal, you don't even realize they're there. The cabinets hide the components for the TV on one side and the children's toys on the other. Glass shelves were chosen for display to allow maximum light throughout the display area.
Style: This family room is part of a great room with the kitchen on the other end. To make it blend with the kitchen, we used the same color of stain on the wood as in the kitchen cabinetry. We wanted clean lines and a more minimal look, so the mantel and hearth as well as the header above stretch wall to wall. To balance the larger TV with the smaller fireplace, we used the same material to cover the the entire bottom portion of the cabinetry and the hearth to give the area below the mantel enough visual weight to offset the larger TV. Lighting below the mantel shows off the copper-patina steel and also gives the lower half more visual weight.
...but you would be wrong again. This is pretty slick. The entire TV alcove is hinged to swing open to reveal another spacious storage area behind.
Style: The light, natural wood used for the built-ins complements the pale stone and the modern look of the horizontal fireplace. Keeping all of the DVDs hidden creates a minimal look suitable for this room's contemporary style.
What: Think outside the box with your built-ins. Storage and display aren't the only things that you might want to have around your fireplace. This person needed a place to work.
How: You don't often see a desk as part of a built-in around a fireplace, but this one is beautiful. Think how nice it would be to sit beside the fire while you work! Drawers, cabinets, counter space and open shelving handle the storage of additional office supplies, TV components and display objects.
Style: The rich cherry tones of the cabinetry provide real warmth in this room. An attractive desk chair carries the look through.
What: Photos, collectibles, books and fireplace tools are all handled perfectly around this fireplace.
How: The cabinetry provides open shelving for all the collectibles and books, plus drawer space for hidden storage. A pencil-thin mantel provides a neat spot for a line-up of photos. The hearth itself allows room for the fireplace tools.
Style: When planning your built-ins, consider the style of the rest of the room and other nearby pieces. You don't have to match everything, but the style and colors should be complementary. The storage around this fireplace carries through the same style as the cabinetry in the rest of the room, and its minimal style works beautifully with the clean lines of the stone surround.
What: Other than the sculpture on the mantel, we don't know what's here. Could be anything: throw blankets, jigsaw puzzles...a secret stash of romance novels?
How: If you don't have things to display, then don't build open display areas. Keeping your stuff behind closed doors is perfectly acceptable.
Style: The choice to use fresh, white painted cabinetry blends this built-in well with the moldings around the windows. The simple traditional molding and door style fits the home's architecture.
What: Art, TV, components, books, books and more books.
How: This a great arrangement of open shelving, niches, mantel and cabinets. But more important is the great use of lighting! Remember to include lighting when planning your built-ins. Just about everything looks better with light on it. Lighting is great for shelves that will display art objects, but don't stop there. The shelves on either side of this fireplace hold mostly books, but the whole effect is much more attractive than unlit bookshelves. Remember that when a cheerful fire is blazing away, the surrounding area feels darker by comparison. Adding light helps the surrounding objects stand out even when the fire is going.
Style: Wrapping the built-ins around a corner to cover two walls allows the TV and fireplace to share the focal point without having to be above and below each other. The light wood of the cabinetry and shelves echos the color of the hardwood floors, while the white molding complements the home's architecture.
What: This bedroom needed a beautiful focal point, room for a little photo display and space for a TV.
How: The material of the fireplace surround is expanded far enough to allow for a niche for the TV. Recesses for the photos cut into the surround and extend past it into the wall. The long, horizontal niches built into this fireplace surround include lighting all along them to highlight the display items inside. Recessed spaces are very hard to illuminate well with spots from the ceiling because they cast shadows. A good plan for lighting assures that your display items will be seen and also adds an element of accent lighting to the room.
Style: This asymmetrical design gives the space a distinctly contemporary look. The lighted niches visually balance the fireplace when lit. Large-format metallic tile is a great choice of material for the contemporary style.
What: In all of the above photos, the "what" has been objects that needed to be stored or displayed. But the "what" that this basement needed was style. The built-ins you create can actually set the tone for your room stylistically. Click on the photo to see the builder's caption describing how a beautiful architectural style was created in this basement that previously had no architectural interest.
How and style: To create a style in this previously bland room, a heavy fireplace surround with lots of architectural interest was installed. The cabinetry was designed to look like hutches and then filled with display items.