Imagination heats up focal point By Design: Architectural elements can add some oomph to small, prefab fireplace.

BY DESIGN

March 10, 1996|By Rita St. Clair | Rita St. Clair,LOS ANGELES TIMES SYNDICATE

We recently moved to a townhouse that has given us the luxury of a fireplace in the living room. In reality, however, it's a small hole in the wall surrounded by black slate. How can we perk up its appearance?

The best and simplest strategyis to emphasize the framing effect by adding a decorative element of some kind. One solution might be a contemporary-style bolection molding in finished wood or with a painted surface. A stone-like composition may be worth considering as well. This type of straightforward dTC and boldly projecting frame will make a dramatic design statement.

The photograph presents another, more embellished possibility. In its original configuration, this prefabricated fireplace inset had a brick surround that made the small opening look even smaller. I changed the appearance of this ungainly focal point by installing a pair of antique polychromed brackets that I had happened upon years earlier in India.

They now support that mantelpiece, which I arranged to have fabricated from three hand-polished cherry-wood beams. This distinctively contemporary design helps bring the fireplace into scale with the wall and the entire room.

Pub Date: 3/10/96

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