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DECOR SCORE: Making a Fireplace and TV Coexist Peacefully PDF Print E-mail
Written by BY ROSE BENNETT GILBERT, Creators Syndicate   
Tuesday, 12 April 2011 23:04
fire place and tv

Q: We have a tiny apartment in an old brownstone. The nice thing is, we have a fireplace. But we also have a large-screen TV. We tried putting the TV over the mantel, but that didn't work. Any other suggestions?

A: According to architect John Connell's research in his book, "Creating the Inspired House" (the Taunton Press), there are two classic solutions to the problem. One: Find a logical way to integrate the fireplace and the TV in the same space. Two: Find another spot altogether to designate as the entertainment area.

The first solution is nicely illustrated in the pictured small living room, which is arranged to accommodate both the hearth and a large-screen television. Setting the furniture at right angles allows one to watch TV and/or simultaneously stare into the flames dancing on the hearth. Swiveling club chairs offer the same freedom of choice.

In fact, there are several other entertainment choices in the room, which are neatly designed into what is essentially limited space. Prefer to read? The floor-to-ceiling shelves hold a wealth of books. Rather socialize with friends? Note the small bar in the foreground.

Want the entertainment center off on its own? It's a smart way to corral all the etceteras of today's media, such as CDs and outgoing Netflix. Best of all, as Connell points out, "Such dedicated media rooms can fit nicely into those windowless areas that otherwise might be wasted space. ... "


Q: Ready to return to the country (look)?

A: It's ready for you, at least judging from the showrooms at the High Point Furniture Market in N.C. Epicenter of the world's home furnishings industry, the market attracts thousands of visitors from some 110 countries every April and October. They come to see what's new, exciting and profitable – they hope – to home decorators around the world.

Provided they looked in the right places, home decorators saw a newly nascent American country look, burgeoning after a decade of devotion to the dark woods and square corners of mid-century modern.

Chief exponent of the retro movement is iconic designer Raymond Waites, the multifaceted creative force behind the American country look the first-time around in the 1970s. Waites, who was then working with Marimekko in Finland, said at the time that he felt a "stirring" in the air back home – something deep-rooted in an earlier America of simple furniture (think peeling paint), patriotic themes (stars and stripes and eagles) and hand-dyed, homespun fabrics. From his intuition came Gear, the collection that spawned a thousand followers during the next two decades or so.

Now comes "New America, Coming Home," which features George Washington's desk, Betsy Ross' stars-and-stripes-strewn wingback chair, and buffalo nickel and Indian-head penny motifs on nailhead trims. Made by Guild Master, a furniture company based in Springfield, Mo., the collection is designed, Waites says, to put us back in touch with our roots as a nation and "to re-enforce our connection with what it means to be American."

Even the French – who famously supported the Colonies' fight against the British – are paying homage to the United States. A leading manufacturer of French antique reproductions, French Heritage introduced the Fontenay Betsy Ross commode decked out in stars and stripes as well as the James Madison Louis commode with the Constitution, beginning with a bold "We the People" written in gold script across its upper drawers.

To quote U.S.-born French Heritage vice president Henessy Wayser, "We are Americans! And we should put it out there that we are not all about war!"

More flag-waving from High Point will be featured in the next column.

Rose Bennett Gilbert is the co-author of "Manhattan Style" and six other books on interior design.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 April 2011 23:11