Fireside Chat

Project: Jones Street living room

Principal: Lauren Hetzel, Timber & Tide

This little living room is in a historic William Remshart row house that hadn’t been updated since the 1970s. Still, it was in great shape and just needed a little modernizing. We wanted it to have that feel of being on the coast, but not in a kitschy way. 

Photo by Richard Leo Johnson

The fireplace was beautiful and meticulously maintained, so I wanted it to pop. We painted it a royal blue — a bit brighter than traditional navy — and paired it with clean, white walls.

Because of the layout and needs of the space, the television had to go above the fireplace. The black backing inside the fireplace and a black TV screen created a harsh, dark hole in a space that was otherwise soft and relaxing. To combat that, we added a natural element using birch logs. You always find birch trees by water, which played well with the coastal inspiration. We created an insert ourselves: It was an easy, doable project using wood glue, plywood backing, moss and birch logs. It’s very much something a homeowner could recreate. 

In spring or summer, you’re not going to have a fire going, but you want to have a focal point. Painting the fireplace blue was helpful, as was choosing a lucite table for an unobstructed view. But adding those birch logs is what really finalized the room. —AS TOLD TO SARA WATSON

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