The worst thing about it was the fact the mantle was made out of concrete slabs that were just affixed to the wall with metal brackets. One of the panels had been lean ever since i moved in, and i was always afraid of what was going to happen to it or the floor when it eventually broke away.
Now, i would have loved to taken out all the concrete, and remodelled the whole thing. I had a few ideas while we lived there--like may cut out the walls around it, open up both spaces to each other, and finish the walls in the beautiful peach coloured brick like what was in the dining room. I also thought maybe it would be best to leave the walls intact and just focus on a very dramatic facade for this side in the living room--something reminiscent of the wooden mantlepieces of the late 1800s/early 1900's with the columns mirrors above a thick mantle, fireplace opening with a tricked out tile surround and a tiled hearth underneath. There are so many things you could do with this.
And while i would have loved to finish this project, there was no way we could budget it, especially with our intent to sell.
So we asked for a rebuilt mantle to at least make the area safe. Unfortunately, it's not as big as it needs to be to keep the design's scale looking right, but at least it is safe. But these days, it's all time is money with contractors...and you really have to put your foot down with them. Which we did...but for a project that was much more important that i will show you later. :)
I can't get over how much it looks like a dance hall in there now. :) The house really did have a ton of space that i wish i had a fraction of now. But truly, i couldn't see it for all the stuff that was "in" the house, because of lack of good functional storage. That wall around the fireplace should be flanked with bookcases and cabinets. It should hold things like magazines, books, toys, phone books, a craft basket or two. All the things that just laid on the beautiful wood floors before. There is a lesson to be learned here. And it can be implimented at my new little house. :)