• brownstoneboys

You Know Those Annoying Old Fireplace Bump-outs That Make Furniture Placement a Nightmare?

Updated: Apr 1


Our gorgeous master bedroom. Photo by: David Sauerhoff

We’ve spent the last year designing and restoring our brownstone. Most of the work is complete and we are going through inspections. That means we can finally kick the contractors out, but the work of making it our own has only just begun. We’ve been working on finishing the spaces and have enough projects left to keep us busy for another year!

Over the past few weeks we have been focusing on our master bedroom. In our original plan for the room we had to solve the problem anyone who has lived in this type of building might be familiar with.


A simple #DIY project is complete with our new custom wood shelves.

The original inspiration photo designed by Liz Lipkin. Photo by Sean Litchfield

Our place has old fireplaces that have long been bricked up. We would have loved to restore them but it just wasn’t in the budget. It also wasn’t in the budget to remove the bump-out that the old chimneys created. Not too mention that the mechanicals in the basement are using one of the old flu’s for ventilation pipes to the roof, very common in these buildings, but also not our scope to alter. The problem that this caused, as you might be familiar, is that the bump-out can create headaches for furniture placement. In our master bedroom the best wall to have the bed on also had an old fireplace bump-out that ended up not being centered in the room, and was not as wide as our bed. If we would have put the bed centered on that wall there would have been a weird space behind it on one side. No other wall made sense for the bed. We decided if we couldn’t easily remove the bump-out maybe it would be easier to extend it. So we designed a 48” wide wall to extend the 8” deep bump-out. We centered it in the room, which made it the backdrop for our bed. It extends about 2 feet on each side of the bed, which leaves room for nightstands.


The California Cloests make the room feel as though we have a walk in closet. It's a perfect length for the closet to open to the fireplace bump-out.


This room had original plaster molding that we wanted to keep, so we had the molding recreated and run around the new section of wall. It helped integrate it into the room


So that it feels like it belongs there. We also painted the entire bump-out a contrasting color, a dark blue (Many people ask for the color: it’s Goodnight Moon from Clare).

One of the finishing pieces was something that we planned from the beginning and it’s what really prompted this post since we just completed it. We came across a photo a year ago from a designer friend of ours, Liz Lipkin, showing some custom shelves in a niche next to a bed. The new section of wall we built created about a 28” wide niche similar to the one in Liz’s design and we thought custom shelves would be a great way to use that space and create a feature.


We took our Ikea Wood table and transformed into wood shelves.


Custom floating shelves can be expensive and after a year long renovation we were keen to save a few bucks. While looking though our basement with a fellow renovator friend, Pierre, we came across an old IKEA table top. The wood was unfinished but was pretty nice. There was enough to make the shelves we needed and we thought with a bit of stain it could work. So we measured, stained, and with the craftsmanship skills of Pierre our built-in shelves project is complete!


Even Zuko is liking the new master bedroom. We're slowly teaching him not to get used to our new bedding!

We finished the area off with a brass mirror, sconces, and nightstands. We feel that we turned what created a puzzle of furniture placement into one of the main features of the room. The bump-out, painted a dark blue, creates a backdrop for our bed and is a great contrast with the light grey bedding and warm leather headboard. The entire wall has a ton of character and although we took the less expensive way out we wouldn’t prefer it any other way.


If we don't get in touch before next week, we hope you all have a wonderful holiday season!


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