Check Out My New Fireplace and Bookcases!

June 30, 2015

Ryan, my son and sometimes design assistant, built this amazing new fireplace/bookcase combination for me, in my living room, which I wanted to share with you all.  This wasn’t a client project for Décor Revolution.  It was for my own home.  But, the experience and outcome were fabulous.

It all started when a friend gave me two boxes of beautiful art books after her architect brother passed away, because she knew that I love and collect art books and would appreciate them.  I was thrilled to get them, but didn’t have the shelf space for them, so they sat in the boxes for a few months.  Then one day I said to Ryan, I would love to have some bookcases built on the blank walls on either side of my fireplace.  Right now it’s just wasted space.

Then, we discussed having the tops of the bookcases even with the fireplace mantel and making one long mantel over the entire thing, instead of the traditional old existing mantel.  Which then, of course led to a discussion about the cracks in the travertine on the face of my existing fireplace and on the hearth.  What could we change that to?  I made a trip to the tile store and found some beautiful marble mosaic tile for the face of the fireplace.  Then I tracked down a slab of Carrera marble for the hearth.  After that, we just had to get rid of the fireplace grate inside the fireplace that holds wood, and replace it with some of those gorgeous fire glass beads.  It was fun choosing which color beads to get. There are so many to choose from.  We went to a local store to look at all the color and style options, but then ordered the ones that we settled on (Copper Reflective Tempered Fire Glass) from Home Depot online, for a substantial savings.

So, that’s what we call project creep.  It happened here and as a result, what started out as a simple bookcase project ended up as a beautiful new fireplace with integrated bookcases.

Now I just love lounging on the chaise in my living room while reading a book and enjoying my new fireplace.  It’s a bit too hot right now to have a fire in the fireplace, but come winter, I will turn on the gas and enjoy that as well.  All that’s missing is the pianist.

It turned out to be a much bigger project than originally envisioned, but in the end, I think it was well worth it!  What do you think?


  • Sherry Margolis says:

    This is beautiful, Karen! It adds so much visual interest to the room, and it’s so practical. It really warms up the space. You and Ryan are a good team! Love it!

  • Joanne Hawes says:

    Very pretty. Nice to know that even a designer can start thinking of one project and end up with something different and more wonderful and complete. What a vision! I always think of that children’s book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie…project creep sounds right too.
    Thanks for sharing,

  • Amy Feldman says:

    Great job Ryan & Karen! Question: How do fire beads (whatever they are) eliminate the need for a screen?

    • Hi Amy,
      Sorry I just noticed your question. It got lost in the system some how. Glad you liked the fireplace. Fire glass beads with a gas fire instead of a wood burning fire, has no ashes that can fly out into the room. It’s very clean.

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