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Mountain Fixer: Family Room Fireplace UPDATE Notes from Readers

Well, earlier this week we revealed the family room fireplace design and plan and you guys had some notes, suggestions, comments and criticisms. And since we live in a democracy, I have no ego and I actually LOVE feedback, we decided to explore a lot of them. Some of them we absolutely agreed with and others we didn’t. On Wednesday, I read a ton of the comments then called Julie in to discuss. She immediately said, “already on it” and she had changed a ton of the renderings because your suggestions were either really compelling, worth trying out or totally right.

Below (and above) was the final design plan, prior to your comments.

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Family Room Fireplace Render 091

The below rendering shows all your notes and concerns that we felt we needed to address.

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Family Room Fireplace Original Notes From Readers2

  1.  “The TV is too high.” We don’t agree. It’s only 4 1/2 feet off the ground, and I think you are responding to the height of TVs typically above fireplaces, but this one isn’t high, I promise. There is no hearth so it sits much lower than you might expect. No one will be awkwardly staring up and putting strain on our necks…pinky swear.
  2.  “The mantel is too deep to see the TV.” We agree!! You are absolutely RIGHT.
  3.  “The windows feel small.” We don’t agree. They are 2-feet by 4-feet and allow for storage. Also, outside of one of them is a staircase to the upper deck that we were trying to avoid seeing. As much as I love windows, we have floor-to-ceiling scenic doors on the left, so we are good in the way of light.
  4.  “The black bookcases feel too heavy.” We are split on this one. I know that they’ll tie in with the kitchen island and the firebox, but I do suppose that they would be visually lighter if they were white and blended in more with the walls and fireplace surround.
  5. “The logs are unnecessary, can be dirty and full of bugs.” HA. We agree, but we LOVE the look. I actually had forgotten to put in the renderings that Julie did with baskets for storage. We will likely have the option of either and maybe for shoots, we’d do logs because they are just so pretty, but for life and other shoots, we’d do bins for storage. Brian loves the logs and we do need them in the living room fireplace.

We LOVED your feedback and notes, so thank you so much. You guys had way more and other suggestions, so we rendered them all out to show you. (there were even more versions than the below options).

Emily Henderson Mountian Fixer Upper Family Room Fireplace Notes Considered Option 011

A few of you wanted no bookshelves to keep it feeling open, but as you can see here (above), it’s just so long (more than 6-feet on each side) and you lose so much function. We also added storage at the bottom, so it’s wood and bins for toys but frankly, we don’t like how it looks when it’s divided up like this. We also bumped out the back wall above the TV, which we agree would make it easier to see. THANK YOU.

Emily Henderson Mountian Fixer Upper Family Room Fireplace Notes Considered Option 021

You can see in this design we continued the entire fireplace up to the ceiling but it reads more modern than what the house is turning out to be. We also tried white shelves with white backs like some of you suggested, but it felt like…why not do something more interesting? A good rule is that IF you are customizing, you should make sure you are actually doing something that looks custom and special, and not something that looks readymade.

Emily Henderson Mountian Fixer Upper Family Room Fireplace Notes Considered Option 031

To rectify, we added black reclaimed wood to the back of the shelves like others suggested in lieu of black on the fronts, but it felt so stark. Again, the divided log/storage even on a smaller scale looks too cluttered and silly.

Emily Henderson Mountian Fixer Upper Family Room Fireplace Notes Considered Option 041

Many of you suggested doing the shelving the same height as the fireplace, but it’s just such a waste of space and the middle feels so unbalanced.

So those were all the nixed ideas. Let’s head back into the ones we tested out and kept.

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Family Room Fireplace Notes From Readers Option 11

As a reminder, here is the original design (above).

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Family Room Fireplace Notes From Readers Option 21

Next, we bumped out the fireplace wall above the mantel so that it comes into the room 8 inches. Thank you all for suggesting that. The TV honestly isn’t too high for this room and trust me, I HATE a high TV.

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Family Room Fireplace Notes From Readers Option 31

Another option we tried as a jumping off point to the previous design was dividing the bench opening to function both as storage and logs. Honestly, we don’t really like this. There are so many boxes and nooks now that it feels pretty cluttered.

Next up, we further explored the white idea but with some more detailing to feel more special.

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Family Room Fireplace Notes From Readers Option 51

Here, we wanted the cabinets to be white with a lighter wood in the back and sides and vertical lines on the faces which we decided was too busy because of the shadow lines. Hot tip: Shadow lines on a dark piece of furniture doesn’t show up nearly as much as white.

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Family Room Fireplace Notes From Readers Option 61

So we chugged along and kept going with another option. Here is the same idea but with a cleaner version of the cabinets, like we ultimately did in the kitchen (that post is coming soon)—just a classic shaker.

FINALLY, we are down to two NEW options for you guys to choose from.

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Family Room Fireplace Black Cabinets Gif

FINAL OPTION #1: The original design WITH the mantel bump out so the TV is a bit closer. We like the black, we do. And we can be flexible with what goes in the bench nooks—wood or storage.

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Family Room Fireplace Final Design White Gif

FINAL OPTION #2: White cabinet fronts with wood on the back and sides of the interior (with the wood or storage option under the benches).

OOHHHHH, I forgot to mention. The reason we aren’t doing wood front drawers is because we really like the idea of the plaster continuing from the fireplace, working with the fireplace in the living room. It just felt more special and appropriate for a mountain house.

So again, with both options, you can have wood OR storage underneath the benches, not both but either.

As you can see, at this point it really comes down to black cabinet fronts and shelves or white cabinet fronts and shelves. Remember that the black cabinetry ties in with the black island in the kitchen which opens to this room. However, the white would help it feel more open and fresh.

I honestly love BOTH, but might be leaning more to picking the white. Brian hasn’t seen this yet, but I think he would go for either. So what say you???

[SBEH_POLLS poll_id=”164066″][SBEH_GIVEAWAY_ENTRY id=”164066″]


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208 thoughts on “Mountain Fixer: Family Room Fireplace UPDATE Notes from Readers

  1. Is there a reason for the cube shelves/splitting each shelf in two, instead of just one shelf running straight across at each level? (not explaining very well, but hopefully you get what I mean!)

    1. Are you referring to the tall cabinets? It looks like those have glass doors on them to me.

    2. Agree. I think adjustable shelves would be more functional. Also, Emily said she wanted custom work to feel unique, but the box shelving really looks like those IKEA cube shelving units. Maybe that’s just me, since I have IKEA at home….

      Aside from that, my vote is for final option 2. White shelving all the way!

    3. Yes! This is my exact issue with them too. I LOVE everything about this design except the extra board splitting the side cabinets in half. There are a lot of long clean lines in this design, except these shelves that are broken up into many small squares. It makes the black ones look especially heavy and busy. It’s probably too late at this point, but I’d love to see a rendering without the split shelves.

    4. First! Thank you for doing this – it is incredible! I love these kind of posts. I recall when my neighbors used to give their two cents about what to do to my house, it was equal parts hilarious and frustrating.
      And agreed. A wide single shelf on the tall side shelves would calm the eye more than all the squares currently in the side cabinets. (ditto ikea comment below) I love the black (special!) Wondering why it appears they are not flush with the window seats? It is smooth from the mantle wall to the bench seat, but not to the tall shelves – adds another “visual stop”. Does that makes sense?
      LOVE LOVE LOVE you Emily!!! So fantastic- I look forward to your posts every day!

    5. Off topic but are you Irish? The reason I ask is I am and Sadhbh is my daughter’s name!



      1. Hi Áine! Yes, I’m Irish and I love hearing about other Sadhbhs – when I was little I only knew/heard of one other person with the name! Seeing your surname – did you know Sharon Horgan, the writer/actor, has a daughter called Sadhbh too?!

  2. I still am wondering why you don’t have deep drawers instead of doors in your BLACK side storage. Way more functional I think. Thanks for considering all the ideas. Mountain Home probably more modern in the aesthetics than what I would have done but it’s going to be beautiful!

  3. Remember that the reason for black cabinets on either side was so that the back of the fireplace wasn’t this big black hole in a sea of white. I vote a very strong vote for the black cabinets. It’s balanced. It’s special. COME ON PEOPLE! I usually like both options on the “I design, you decide” (and they are usually both special) but this choice is just deciding between interesting and generic.

    1. This is exactly what I was going to say. The black cabinetry balances the fireplace. With the white everything fades into the background and my eyes just go to the black box in the middle.

    2. I hear what you’re saying about the dark cabinets balancing out the black box, but I feel like that can be accomplished with darker throw pillows (currently white in the renderings) and some darker decor in the cabinets (dark-spined books, art with black frames, a black vase, etc.). I think with darker accessories in the white cabinets the space will ultimately feel more balanced than with the tall black cabinets. But I’m sure either would be lovely!

    3. I agree 100%. The black cabinets are more dramatic and more interesting. The white cabinets look typical while the black ones look fresh and balanced.

    4. Agree!! The black cabinets are so perfect for this house. Maybe if this house is in say Orange County, sure go with white (maybe), but this is your Mountain house and the white is just so bleh. Side note for the TV, can you do a back mount with short arm (we have this) so the TV is either up against the wall or pulled out slightly when needed. I feel the extra bump out might look a little bulky?

    5. Yes, white cabinets are everywhere. The black just looks so much more special and balanced.

    6. 100% agree. I love the black cabinets. White is what everyone else is doing and this is supposed to be custom and special.

    7. I agree completely. The white looks so much more generic. This is probably the first time I have actively disliked one of the choices in a “you decide” post!

    8. I’m SO with you. I can’t believe white cabinets is in the lead.The black makes so much more sense visually. It feels intentional and designed in black. The room goes Millennial-SoCal-vibes-generic.

      1. EEK. ok i’m going to do another push for the black OR a color. I do kinda agree with you about the white feeling more suburban!!

    9. Agreed! I couldn’t figure out why I liked the black cabinet option more, but you’re right.

  4. I really love both options but I was so excited to see you bringing in more black accents into this house since you usually do white! Either way will be beautiful but I voted for black.

  5. Yes to the black. It’s bold and beautiful and ties in the kitchen cabinetry. Perhaps you should also included a refresher photo of the kitchen plans so that people can see how the two tie in together? White cabinetry would just be such a missed opportunity!!

  6. I think the white is a bit suburban, but the black is a bit too stark. Just to throw a spanner in the works, and since this is a family/play room, how about painting the cabinets a colour – NOT GREY, or any shade of grey. But an actual country colour like Robin’s Egg Blue, or Kelly Green or something like that.

    1. This is what I thought too. Maybe the same colour that the bunk beds are? Black is too dominating with all the white.

    2. Yes!!! Please paint the cabinets a fun color. Otherwise I think white would be pretty. It’s okay to have pretty and pleasing even if that’s not super exciting.

        1. I’m team fun color! Gray, green, anything! Also would love to see a rendering of shelves going across instead of cubes on the bookshelves.

  7. I LOVE the black cabinets, I’m sad that they’re currently losing the vote.
    They do make the room feel a little less open, but that’s what I love. It makes the space feel cozier around that fireplace vs a big white wall- but then again, I always love more visual depth on walls vs minimal because that’s what feels homier to me personally.

    I’m also just so torn on the logs/storage debate.
    Functionally the storage makes more sense because the logs aren’t actually needed in this room, but ughh the logs just look sooooo much cooler and mountain-esque. (It’s a word now)

    So excited to see how this turns out regardless of what wins!

    1. Is the fireplace just decorative? I live in Texas and have used our fireplace exactly one time in 20 years, so I’m not an expert on these things 🙂

  8. love the new renderings.

    Would it be wrong to slightly step back the upper portion of the cabinets to mimic the setback of the fireplace/tv? I love me some symmetry!! In either case though, I love the black and the white! so pretty!

    1. This is a great idea! I’m not really partial to the stepped back mantel but it would look much better with stepped back shelves too.

  9. Instead of benches under each window, how about bookshelves that go up to the window and run the length from the fireplace to the wall?

  10. Just a couple of quick thoughts – the design is meticulous but for me it is too formal and static for the landscape where it’s located. Nature is messy and organic, contradictory and awesome. Since the focal point, ie the fireplace is in the centre of the wall it would require some creative design to make it more informal and relaxed. For me, nature should be the focal point. At our summer lake house 3 of the 4 Walls ( not north wall) have large windows framing the magnificent landscape. Who needs tv?

    1. Marlene, You articulated exactly what I was trying to say in my comment:

      ‘nature is messy and organic, contradictory and awesome” I love how you say that and I know exactly what you mean. I love the sound of a screen door and the breeze from open windows, furniture that looks like it has been there from the 60’s but super functional and cool.

      I think it would be extremely difficult to create a ‘feel’ of a lake house/ mountain house that I have experience- that quirkiness that evolves over time is hard to just ‘design’. I almost wonder if you should just wood panel the whole thing. I really don’t know what is missing but I agree it feels too formal and perfect.

    2. I agree totally. While the black is very beautiful, to me it gives the room a very stark modern vibe and I thought at one time the direction was to go more rustic. Could the cabinets be pure wood and not painted?

      At any rate, keep the wood interiors no matter which color the cabinets are painted as they warm things up a bit.

  11. Yay so glad the full fireplace will be bumped out! The original plan looked like one of those Amish electric fireplace kits.

  12. I love both, the white cabinets feel like a safer option (and since I’m boring I love safe options), but the both look like they would work (this is no help at all)

  13. What about the idea of softer edges around the fireplace since you are using plaster? That feels more unique and scandinavian to me and less minimal/modern/new. And if you did that what about making the cabinets really look like 2 pieces of furniture built-in as opposed to the more Room and Board style look? I recently saw on Amber Interiors a photo of a kitchen with what looks like a piece of furniture built into the wall beside the fridge as opposed to perfect cabinetry and it kind of takes your breath away when you see it. I could see 2 pieces like that in this room creating something truly special and unique. They could be really simple pieces. I also like the idea of many tones of wood layering together in a cozy moutain den- and could add that little bit of ‘off’ that creates energy and tension in a space. There is still something that feels too ‘new build’ to me, as opposed to the energy you experience in something unexpected- something that feels almost a little off but in a good way. The black for sure does that more than the white but this fireplace compared to the stone one in the main room seems to almost feel of a different style. The room needs some quirkiness IMO like you often would find in a tucked away mountain house den.

    Of course it goes without saying its a beautiful space compared to the original house so you can’t go wrong regardless of what you do. I am just always interested in what makes a space have a certain ‘energy’ that I have experienced in certain spaces as opposed to just beautiful spaces. I dont know if I’m making sense. 😉

    1. YES. I agree so much with this whole comment. The fireplace would feel so much more organic and special if you just slightly rounded the corners of the fireplace. It would definitely make it all feel more Scandinavian cabin and less new -build. I voted black cabinets because it feels less suburban than the (also beautiful!) white. I think this whole post was genius because it showed everyone just how good your first design was. Also I love the birch. Who cares about bugs when it looks that good?

    2. yasssss soft edges like the cozy scandi cabin inspiration pictures from when she was trying to decide on the main fireplace! it would tie in with the german schmear so much better and be cozier. genius!

    3. Yes, great ideas! Given these two options I like black better, because white looks boring suburban or coastal to me and black, though I’m obsessed with it, doesn’t look quite right for the mountain aesthetic. I was wishing for a rendering that had the cabinets in wood, but they’re so large that I wondered if they would compete with the floors unless you matched them perfectly. I love the idea of the cabinets not trying to match, but being their own special thing. Something that looks vintagey, like it has a story and has lived there for hundreds of years. That would only work if you pulled the fireplace in a less modern direction. Normally I am anti-curved lines but having seen some of the plaster fireplace ideas from the stone one, I think this has serious potential! Now I have an itch to go look at Pinterest for vision! Hah!

    4. I AGREE. Such a good idea re softer edges and yes, we are hoping that the cabinets feel like a piece of furniture and not built-ins necessarily.

  14. I feel like the cabinets are a tad too narrow. Hard to tell in the renderings, but is there equal space between the fireplace/window and window/cabinet?

  15. What if you closed up the bench storage and had that accessible from the top? To store kids toys without the cluttered look of the bins?!

  16. PLEASE do the log storage by the fireplace where you will use it! You will never carry wood from this room to another- you will wish it was right by the fireplace where you need it. For this room i like the idea of rounded corners on the fireplace to soften itup. Maybe you could plaster the front of the benches as well and have a top that lifts or is hodden under cushions for drop in storage. That would make this wall less “busy” as some have commented.

  17. Absolutely love the white. I know this is being used for content so it should be editorial but since you’re also living in I think the white is much easier on the eyes. It’s beautiful, calming and less busy. Can’t wait to see!!

  18. Still worrying about the height of the TV. It might be 4 1/2 feet from the bottom edge of the TV,but the center of the TV would be 5 1/2 feet from the ground. Given that most people will be sitting on furniture or the floor when watching the TV, I still worry about neck strain. But every room has it compromises and perhaps this is your best option here. Overall, it’s looking great!

    1. Bob Vila says (and come on – who could you trust more than Bob?) that the tv should be 42 inches on-center—that is, so that the center point of the TV sits that far above the floor. Forty-two inches factors in the 18 inches above the floor at which a traditional sofa seat is raised, plus another 24 inches above that to reach the eye level of the average adult in a seated pose.

      If the bottom of your gorgeous Frame tv is at 4 1/2 feet – that means the bottom of the tv is 54 inches off the floor. The center must be another foot at least.

      Obviously you have make choices and not everything is ideal, but I think we should just all be transparent that the tv is likely going to be higher than conventional wisdom and that’s ok.

  19. Please not the white option. It’s FINE but so boring and looks like it would fit right into a suburban tract house. Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with that, but this is supposed to be an elevated design – bolder and more editorial. More special. Black all the way.

    1. Agree!!! The black is so beautiful. White washed everything has had its moment and now it simply looks uninteresting. Pease do something more forward thinking instead of the outgoing trend a lot of your readers are apparently still loving! WHITE cabinets really would be a missed opportunity!!

  20. I typically like more open, light and airy looking designs but surprisngly I’m leaning toward the dark cabinets here because they seem to add some coziness to the space and keep it from feeling too stark.

      1. Please, please, PLEASE bbbblllllaaaaaaaaack!!! I almost want to cry at the thought of those cabinets not being black… I know our eye gets used to a design trend and can therefore find it challenging when it encounters a contrasting idea but this is a Mountain Fixer Upper people! And as much as I love the images of all white interiors that are saturating our Pinterest and Instagram feeds, this is a Mountain Fixer Upper people! One needs to spend only a moment exploring The Woodhouse Lodge from Megan Pflug to understand the power of black -enthralling, cozy, inviting, comforting and yes, possibly challenging to our complacent eye. I simply cannot fathom these cabinets not taking the leap from generic, seen-it-a-million-times-before white to this-space-is-begging-for-the-intrigue-of BLACK. At the very least, the Mountain Fixer Upper’s kitchen island needs a friend, right?

        ps. I am finding The Mountain Fixer Upper “I Design You Decide” process to be sooo educational but also, unexpectedly affecting..?

        1. Seriously, I NEED black cabinets to happen! I loved the original plan, and I won’t be able to cope if all you people picking apart the design kill my DREAM! And the TV height is fine! It’s a rec area. The kids will be playing wii tennis in there someday (or whatever the kids do these days) and will need to see over all the activities happening!

  21. Try not centering the fireplace. It’s more interesting, and you could put the TV to the side of it instead of above, with windows closer to the corners of the room. Also, 4. 5′ off the ground is indeed high, especially since the center of the TV will be even higher. Stooping for heavy logs gets old. Perhaps raise up the log storage and keep it next to the fireplace instead. Basically, consider asymmetry. Do people actually sit in window seats? They look really uncomfortable. They seem like wasted space if they aren’t truly going to be used and are just to achieve a particular look.

    1. Second this all the way. As Marlene above was talking about the “messy, organic” qualities of both nature and mountain homes. (and I voted for white before… I changed my mind).

      1. Kimmy, I just looked at your mockup, and it looks so good! I’m not sure if the fireplace is able to be moved at this point, but if it is I think this is such a great idea. And as Emily mentioned above, the room already has huge slider doors, so I don’t think losing one of the smaller windows would affect the light too much. Great plan!

      2. Oh, nice, Kimmy! I really like the black one. The asymmetry is definitely a strong contender to my eye.

    2. I’m fairly certain she showed us that fireplace is already roughed in. I doubt the placement can change. Not to mention, an asymmetrical fireplace make furniture placement so difficult.

  22. I just love the black so much! Why do I feel so emotionally invested in whether it wins? Like I want to call all my friends and demand they vote for the black to splash the pot here. It’s just so balanced with the black fireplace interior. And it will look stunning with the kitchen!
    Also, we have stacked wood in our house and no bugs. Just make sure it’s nice and dry before you bring it in.

  23. Is there any merit to adding a wood slab mantle to the top of the fireplace to match the back of the bookcases? Architecturally it feels like the fireplace jut out should terminate into something and/or have a “cap”. Just a thought.

  24. Hi Emily and team! Architect and long time reader here, enjoying watching your process at the mountain house. 🙂

    While I agree with many of the previous commenters that the wall looks busy, I think it’s driven mostly by a muddled hierarchy that could be improved with a few small tweaks.

    A few things I would experiment with:
    – making the benches ‘of’ the cabinetry rather than the fireplace, e.g. painted wood finish, align the leading edge of the seat with the cabinet, continuing the toe kick underneath, etc.
    – alternately, you could continue the plaster benches to the perpendicular walls and set the cabinets on them…the cabinets could be shallower @ 10-12″ deep; In this case I might try making the cabinets and the adjacent wall surface around the windows wood paneling (!) in the same species/finish as your window trim
    – adjust the plaster surround on the fireplace so it’s not ‘equal-equal’ all the way around; making it narrower on the top and sides will help the fireplace feel more weighted; also lowering the mantle elevation would allow the TV to move down
    – trim out or soffit above the tall open cabinets to lower the top of opening; I’d also try nix-ing the vertical in the open shelves
    – Smaller TV. Even The Frame needs breathing room. 😉

    Keep up the good work!

    1. YES! I’m an architect and long time reader as well:) These excellent suggestions are spot on and would make a real difference imo.
      I’d stay away from all the “squares” as well – square fireplace surround, square fireplace box and square bookcase grid. Square is uncool – rectangles are where it’s at.

    2. These suggestions are so compelling! I very much think the TV size and the plaster surround of the fireplace could be experimented with, and the other ideas are worth considering.

    3. I agree! These are great ideas. Proportions are the key in here to make the room feel interesting and balanced. I also suggest making the fireplace more special, it needs some character like the stone fireplace has in the living room. Maybe a wood mantle, interesting shape or stone? I know you are going for plastered look, but it’s the focalpoint of the room and needs to be more special.

    4. Nicole now THAT’S some talk about details. Great suggestions that I would love to see fleshed out by the EHD team 🙂

    5. Not an architect, but totally onboard with Nicole’s comment above. I said something very similar to her first suggestion on the last post, but she articulates it much better than I did ?.
      I’d love to see renderings of the cabinets as closed storage , as well as of the back wall of cabinets & wall around the windows in the same material (wood paneling, wall paper, etc)

    6. Piggybacking on Nicole and PiperLou’s suggestions, and some of the comments that the cabinet configuration looks too “new build”, I think that the cabinets and the adjacent wall space around the windows could be more integrated. Paneling the wall to match the cabinet interiors is a great idea – especially if the interiors of the cabinets and the back wall are somehow clad in a more rustic wood (instead of a fine grained wood). They could even be clad in painted wood – like the green in the bunk room. And somehow tie in the window trim so it reads as one cozy wall.

    7. I also love Nicole’s ideas and want to mention that I am not a fan of the symmetry. It’s almost there!!

  25. This was a tough one because both designs are beautiful but I have to agree with you on custom cabinetry. It should look custom and white cabinets are so overdone.

  26. DEFINITELY the dark cabinets! Much more cozy and cabin-y, especially in that more cave-like room (I say that because the ceiling is much lower than in other rooms in the house). It’s more unique and edgy, while also being cabin appropriate, and I think it pushes the boundaries more than the white version–and I know pushing your boundaries is something you want to do with this project. ALSO, the white version just looks like it would be found in a new build in the suburbs–zero personality to it.

  27. Why not put wood on one side and baskets on the other? (Instead of making each side 50/50?)

  28. What’s the plan for window treatments on those windows? If the plan is to leave them without window treatments in order to feature a view, they’ll be two big black rectangles at night and make the black cabinet option even darker. Could be dark and cozy. Could be grim.

    1. I have tall black cabinets on either side of my fireplace! I LOVE them. Especially at night! I installed LED tape lights (behind the “lip” along the sides of the shelves) and at night they glow like lanterns. Beautiful and they light up the objects inside. The lights are on dimmers. I voted for BLACK and am seriously sad that it looks light white is winning.

  29. Ikea Branas woven storage bins used to come in a large rectangular size – not shown online but available in the store. Two per side would be much less busy looking than the 4 per side that you are showing. Or…..One large bin per side with log storage and it’s still a cleaner look that nets you storage AND your beloved logs.

  30. What about the pinball machine? This room is going to be super fun and filled with laughter and gleeful shouting, not zen and calm. The white is beautiful, but not the energy it feels like you’re going for in this particular space. I still love the black! It’s so much more interesting, it balances the fireplace, and it was your original plan after, no doubt, lots of time thinking about alternatives.

    1. I don’t think the issue is black vs. white. I can’t get my head around a pinball machine with this symmetrical/formal design. I feel it is a missed opportunity to create a really fun room.

      1. Yes, THIS! The symmetry is definitely reading very formal to me too, so it’s hard to envision it as a cozy family room right now. I’m sure it will look more “warm” in person all styled out in comparison to the computer renderings, but with all of this talk about figuring out the balance between the firebox, shelves, windows, wood/bins below, I can’t imagine it will very easy to add a bulky pinball machine as well. Perhaps you should get two! One for each side of the room 😉

  31. Looks great! I generally opt for black accents, but I voted for white this time — just feels more peaceful. You could always really lean into the black in accessories on the shelves!!

    Would you consider doing more organic lines between the fireplace box mantel and the built out TV backing? It feels quite modern the way it is, and I wonder if a slight slope would help it feel more rustic/traditional.

  32. Just wanted to potential fix for a high tv in case you didn’t know about this product- we bought this amazing tv mount on amazon that you can easily pull the tv down & in front of the fire place- I can do it with one hand. It makes for less neck strain, then pops back up when not in use.
    The birch logs skeeved me out too- all I saw was bugs hiding in there when you first posted it and I LOVE baskets for hiding my toddlers toys.

  33. The birch logs are beautiful. Don’t compromise on that design element. Just visit Etsy and choose one of the vendors that advertises kiln dried logs. This process kills the bugs. Loved the original, but love the white version too!

  34. Yes so much better. Fireplaces always should extend to the ceiling.
    I think the dark cabinets frame the room better and make the whole space more cozy and like a mountain house Not to mention i think people dont fully picture the entire space who are not designers as these cabinets relating to the island will be really great to tie the two together.
    But both options now would be fine.
    The only thing ill say is the millwork is a bit fictional you will have some sort of trim header at the top. Maybe a flat 1″ wood piece because you ceiling will never be completely level with the floor they will have to build it about 1″ shy to get it through the door and erect it into place. so if you dont do trim up there you will have about a 1″ gap. then the same goes on the sides typically most walls in existing homes wont be completely square and plumb. So you have a little trim piece there as well.
    I might delete the boxed upper and make it rectangular shaped rather than boxes since you now have storage boxes underneath i think with those it feels a bit too ‘boxy’. bot it will look good either way you go.

  35. Normally I’m all for white and bright and airy, but between these two options the black cabinets are definitely my favorite.

  36. I think someone asked this last round, but is there a reason the bench and the cabinets are not the same depth?

  37. Can you make custom doors for under the bench that have log circles on them? I know it’s fake, but it would give you the look you want without compromising for bugs and lack of storage. It would be sort of like what Katie at Bower Power or Kristen at Hunted Interior did on their fireplace inserts

  38. The white cabinets feel more integrated and spacious. The black cabinets on their own are beautiful and probably more interesting but it looks a little checkered or striped with black cabinet/white bench/black firebox/white bench/black cabinet. The black cabinets matching the island maybe takes away from the specialness of the island since they are visible in the same space. I also think the white cabinets keep the focus on the fireplace. In every single other room in this house I’ve preferred the darker color scheme but in here the white cabinets seem to work better.

  39. Just a note on the logs – we have this design at our farmhouse (with the bench seats on top) and have never had issues with bugs, dirt, etc. We love the look and of course the convenience as in the winter we tend to start a fire as soon as we get up there each weekend.

  40. The key differences are, black is bold, full of personality; it absorbs light and commands attention. White is safe; it blends in, creating a uniform background. White is lazy, it will work no matter what. I voted white since I went with the background effect. But I prefer family rooms with more personality. Can I change my vote?

  41. I have a fireplace that looks a lot like your newest rendering. I wish I could send you a photo, but I don’t have anything posted online! (email address to send to?)
    Anyways, in short, I LOVE IT! But I have a complaint that I think you’d want to know about: the shallow mantle ledge is really hard to style! you can’t layer things or put any big bowls or vases. Maybe you will keep that ledge completely clear to prevent the TV from be blocked, but it’s really annoying to shop for a vase that’s less than 4″ diameter, and things look kind of lined up in a row on the ledge (even very minimally styled). Also if you go with this design, I will certainly look to you for styling advice.

  42. What rendering software does Julie use on her sketchup renderings? I’m an interior design student and these kind of questions rattle around in my curious brain when I see posts like these.

  43. I voted for the white, but mostly because I really dislike the black. I think the cabinet itself is a rather boring design, so highlighting it felt more like a ’70s throwback (I’m waiting for the shag rug). At least with the white, my thinking was the focus would be on the warm wood and maybe ANYTHING ELSE besides those cabinets. I was thinking of how awesome the railings are at the Portland fixer, and how it’s such an opportunity to use beautiful sculptural items rather than a purely functional, kinda boring piece. Aren’t there cool rustic options, even if not built in? Also, the “wasted space” comments seemed off to me… what about opportunities for art and/or sculpture in those spots??

    This from someone who voted for the black island counter 😛

  44. Ugh, please don’t let this vote sway you to the boring side. I don’t think people are looking at the big picture, black makes more sense with the kitchen.

  45. The black looks more special. It’s bold, but it definitely still works. You seem to be incorporating the black elements in many rooms. It all ties together and gives it the cabin edge. BLACK!

  46. So. many. thoughts. FIRST, this page reloaded three different times on my iPhone, and the voting wasn’t working, and my comment didn’t show up. Couldn’t view the page enjoyably or vote until I switched to a PC. Not sure if others are having this trouble or just me.

    SECOND, I’m team white cabinets. I liked the black ones fine (I’m actually trying to incorporate more black into my own decorating) until I saw the white ones, which just make so much more sense for this space if you want it to be beautiful online (when people can’t see the kitchen island).

    THIRD, the wood logs – here’s where my feelings get super strong – if you want to store wood, this is not the way to do it. You’ll probably want it to be closer to the fireplace where it will actually be used (so, the fireplace in the other room), and you’ll probably want it to be more of a vertical wood stack rather than a horizontal stack in order to avoid time spent down on your knees loading and unloading that wood storage area (unless, maybe pull-outs?). Also, wood burns faster than you’d think – that area could have to be restocked every couple of days if you burn fires regularly (a pain in the neck if you have to get down low each time).

    FOURTH, could this possibly look better if the built-in bookcases didn’t go all the way up to the ceiling? Maybe they could go up to window-top or door-top height instead? Not sure – just throwing it out there as another option to visually lighten them.

  47. Love both designs but I voted BLACK!! I absolutely love the black touches and it feels so much less safe. I agree on the TV height. We have a TV over the fireplace in our family room and it’s at least 5 feet above the floor. We set our sectional back far enough that we don’t have any neck strain. I do wish the windows were bigger to show off more of the view and bring in extra light, but better smaller ones than no windows at all.

  48. The black firebox stands out SO much with the white option. If you went that direction, could you change the firebox to white?? Sounds easier to keep the cabinet color black, ties in with the island, feels a bit more “trend forward”, and ties in the black firebox. i also think keeping it black it will help the TV disappear a bit more; not be so stark on that wall (even with your lovely Samsung Frame, it’s still a TV. LOL)

  49. Oooh, this is such a close decision! I voted for the white for 3 reasons:

    1. The kitchen island is SO special. I almost feel that having another large piece – 2 large black pieces – in that close proximity may actually compete with the island.
    2. White storage/shelving is classic. I have had both white and black wood bookcases. I found that the black tends to make the room feel smaller and darker. The white definitely opens up the room. I still have my white bookcases, and the black are long gone.
    3. White will be much more versatile to style. Black accents can always be tied in and will look special and gorgeous against the white.

  50. Oh come on people, the black is so interesting, custom, location-appropriate woodsy, adds contrast, balances out the black fireplace hole, this is no contest! The all-white could be a Billy bookcase hack and is more suited for a house in LA than a mountain cabin. This is not Studio McGee california casual, remember! It will be so sweet in context, in the house in the woods with a matte black textured wood island in the next room over.

  51. Repeating my question from yesterday because I’m genuinely curious and didn’t get any response:

    I’m curious how people live in real life with the Frame. Do you come home and turn it on to art mode as soon as you enter? Or do you leave it on constantly in art mode around the clock to always avoid the “black box” look? Does it not glow at night if it’s left on in art mode? As much as I love the idea of the Frame, I’m so perplexed at how it is to live with every day. Or is it mostly for people who want to hide their tv for instagram or when hosting a party or something?

    1. Hi Kellie

      The Frame has a motion dectector that turns it to “art” when someone walks in the room. Otherwise, it is off.

  52. Hi Emily!

    Off topic but what happened to the post you mentioned on your Instagram about art? Not using prints of famous pieces (Mona Lisa etc)


  53. LOVE the black cabinets and have from the start. The white cabinets definitely look amazing too, but I can see the black cabinets providing a more cozy feel to the space. If this were a beach house, I would vote white all the way, but a mountain house just seems to demand a cozy and warm vibe.

  54. If this was my everyday living room I might choose the white cabinets for a clean, elegant look. But this is a mountain cabin and I think the black cabinets add a great vibe to the space. They’re cozy with just the right amount of rustic.

  55. The problem I am having is in the rendering the tops of the slider, cabinets, windows, and Frame TV do not line up or relate to each other. Also the line (top) of the benches, bottom of fireplace and cabinet doors do not relate to each other. Previous posters have mentioned changes in materials that could help with this second problem. Things like this really bother me in my own home.

    The piece in the middle of the shelves is also a busy distraction now. I am sure Emily’s styling would take advantage of this or camouflage it.

  56. Is there a reason you have to have a vertical stile on the upper portion of the bookcases? I think they make the bookcases look a little busy.
    PS: Just as I was getting ready send my comment, I noticed that SADHBH is asking the same question.

  57. Definitely prefer the white. The black is giving me a 90’s asian-inspired feel that I’m not a fan of. I’m also wondering if the shelving would look less “collection boxes” if you got rid of the middle divider and had longer shelves instead of pairs of boxes all the way down. And I like the wood log storage. You can always switch to storage bins if the wood option ends up being too messy/buggy.

  58. 100% love the white! So much more calming feeling. The black (while I absolutely love black) feels too heavy- like something dark is looming in the corners. Just my opinion!

  59. I like the drama of the black, but I think the white makes the room feel more spacious. So hard to choose!

  60. It’s fun to put our two cents in, but we are only looking at drawings. You are living in the house and seeing the relationship between rooms and finishes. You are leaning towards black so I say paint it black! This house is going to be stunning!

  61. I am all for option #1. Yes the white blends in better – but the black IMO has more style. The black cabinets and the fireplace box play SO WELL off of each other. It just goes so much better with the aesthetic you’re going for. The white to me feels very blah. If all else fails and you get sick of the black then just paint them white. Emily I also think that painting the cabinets a dark navy blue would be stunning! ? Oh and I love the logs! You can’t have a mountain home without logs! Just give them a good cleaning first. Also I think those little baskets under the benches look a little too suburban IKEA! 😉 It seems like everyone has them.

  62. The black cabinets are what I voted for. The wood storage, with the woods’ natural dark shadows inside the storage area, relates to the fireplace and links to the black cabinets. The spiders and bugs relate well to life in the mountains!

  63. I love the black option but ultimately voted for the white ones because I feel like it makes the fireplace pop. The black ones made my eyes jump back and forth between the fireplace and cabinets. Can’t wait see this house finished (as I’m sure you are too!) It’s been so fun watching the ideas/vision develop!

  64. Even though I voted black and would be happy with that outcome, I wish I commented on the previous post of what was going on in my head… which was why is this SO symmetrical!?! Is there a reason for this I missed? There could be some really creative layout against the wall that I feel is a missed opportunity here…

  65. I think it is a little bit too symmetrical. I would try to make one side long bench and other side shorter bench and high wooden shelf.

  66. The black cabinets (even tho black is my favorite color of all) look like they are left over from another job & just slapped in this cabin because they happened to fit. If there are more black or dark accents in the room which are not visible in this rendering it could work. Moulding on the black (or white) would make them look more custom & less modern. Also I agree with ditching the cubby hole look in the tall side cabinets. Colored pillows (but not bright) would be good I like the contrasting painting. Before it looked like a third window. Love the logs too. Lighter color bricks in the firebox would help counter the black hole effect.

  67. I love your original design! You can always get “sterilized” wood so there aren’t any bugs. I watched a home tour of Patrick Dempsey’s house recently, and he had walls filled with logs to help with sound dampening, which I think is a wonderfully creative way to help reduce sound amplification in large spaces.

    Since you are showing fireplace designs, I am curious if you have any tips on how to find “affordable” gas fireplaces? I have an angled fireplace in my current home and would like to redo it to make it feel more modern, but the fireplaces (without install) are 5-15k! I’m not sure if you are doing a gas fireplace under the tv, but did you consider tv exhaust units that release the heat above the tv, rather than below it?

  68. I voted for the black, even though I think I actually like the white better, because not only does it relate to the kitchen but it better relates to the solid black of the empty fireplace plus the black of a turned off TV. Unless you’re using that legit amazing Samsung Frame TV you had sponsored posts about a while back, TVs are a BIG block o’black and this will hopefully tie that in better? ??‍♀️

  69. I love the black! I feel like it really ties in with the kitchen, and like you said, makes the custom cabinets feel more special. Plus they are gutsy and bold and will be gorgeous once other furniture is in there and it is not just a rendering of an empty room. Think of the finished product!!! Go bold!!!!

  70. I love the white cabinets and like the open area under the bench but think it could be styled with something other than the wood logs. Wood logs, here in LA, are synonymous with black widows to me. Very buggy. What about a longer, woven basket and some books leaning up against the ends?

  71. I understand why the black cabinets should work, and I love black, but I think it chops up the space too much, so I voted for white……….you could bring in some black/dark/heavy-ish items to put in some of the shelves to get your black in that space to balance with the kitchen.

  72. I MUCH prefer the black cabinets. It frames the area and gives it more character. The white cabinets look generic and builder-grade.

    I don’t care how low the fireplace mantel is, I hate a TV over the fireplace. It’s always too high for me.

    My only other quibble is regarding the benches. Are they always going to be plain wood? Because I’d never sit on a bench like that other than to maybe tie my shoes or something. My butt (even with all the padding I have!) gets sore on a wooden bench after about five minutes. I also don’t care for loose throw cushions on a wood bench, because they will always slide around (and off).

    1. I love the changes to the white cabinet here ^^. It brings in more of the warm wood mountain element. Though I know your focus was the layout and black ;).

      It doesn’t seem that white has to mean boring builder grade – it can still be special and custom. I also love Nicole the architect’s suggestions above that could apply to either color.

  73. I LOVE how special and textural and grounding the black cabinets are, and I have another idea: what if the bench were also black?? I think it could feel more balanced, as the tall black cabinets wouldn’t be jarring compared to the rest of the finishes, and it could make the white fireplace the focal point. What do y’all think??

  74. Now that I see these two final choices, I am clear on what I didn’t like about the black cabinet option from 2 days ago. Though the black may tie in with the kitchen island well – and generally it is nice to have hits of black in a room – the black cabinets made everything look too chaotic to me. It’s like between the fireplace, tv, windows, ground level storage and all those cubbies in the tall cabinetry, my eye was just jumping from place to place and feeling confused. Once you showed it in white – which makes the whole wall look more cohesive and therefore calm – well then all the elements made sense to me. White may be boring as hell and a missed opportunity, but in this case I think it just works.

  75. I love both, but I voted for the dark cabinets because it feels a little more rustic/mountain-y to me. The white cabinet look is beautiful, but it almost feels a bit too modern. The dark cabinetry will look so beautiful with the kitchen, and I think it’ll feel a bit moodier/cozier on crisp nights when you have the fire going (then again I’m no design expert, I just like looking at pretty rooms!).

  76. I hate to be totally high maintenance but I really want to see an option 3 where the cabinets are a natural wood with a really warm/neutral grass cloth inside. Wood on wood on wood is so cozy!

    1. OHHH.. and with the grasscloth on the wall surrounding the fireplace. Nice rustic grasscloth or other nubby type woven cloth.

  77. I am very conflicted. I love and prefer option 1. However, I voted for option 2 because, at least in the composites, it draws attention outside whereas the black feels more focused inside. I hope I didn’t make a mistake!

  78. I voted for the black because it seems to balance the black box that is the fireplace better (and is more masculine) – but both are nice options.

  79. Love this process as I’m learning lots about WHY some design works or doesn’t work. Leaving aside the colour scheme, what jars for me is that the benches are separated by the fireplace. I’m imagining people sitting on them having to lean out to talk to one another. I think it is making the space look disconnected and uncozy. I love this kind of seating just not in this divided way in a family space. Form follows function and all that…

  80. OK…here goes. The built ins look quite pinched and traditional with the matching pair. I would bring the bench all the way across with under the bench log storage on one side, bins on the other or sliding doors for storage This gives it a more causual open look. Above the benches could be a wall hung open boxes or floating shelves which would stay within the same color as the wall.

  81. I had a bench/firewood holder built on one side of my fireplace and love it! No more bugs/dirt than a conventional firewood holder….frankly keeps it in check!

    1. Right! And some cooks are STILL trying to change the recipe. I don’t know how EHD does it.

  82. SO TORN. I love them both. I voted for white because I think you could do some dark funky pieces staged on the shelves and have more options there!

  83. The black cabinets balance the fireplace. The all-white looks too stark, though once the shelves are filled there might be enough visual interest.
    Will your black island stick out like a sore thumb if it doesn’t have the black cabinets to play with?

  84. Choose black! It was your original design, the most interesting, and will tie in so we’ll with the kitchen. White is winning and although it’s pretty, it’s a custom design so go for it with the black!
    I follow your blog on the REG, but rarely post a comment ?. You’re awesome FYI!

  85. I’m shocked no one has mentioned this, but they make tv mounts for over fireplaces. I typed “tv mount for over fireplace” on amazon search and a bunch of tv mounts came up in the search. Looks like you can raise and lower the tv when not using the fireplace.

    Also, I like the black with the wood benches stained a dark brown. Actually, I would like the shelves to be also a dark wood stain. When going custom it would look so much richer.

  86. Great breakdown! Learned a lot. The black feels too heavy to me. A black kitchen island and black fireplace are enough black for me and I think it provides enough counter balance to the white. It’s almost like you can’t do this mathematically (like by saying we should have x number of black elements to
    Balancr the room). It has to be done by feel and intuition if that makes sense.
    I really don’t like the logs. It feels really fake and inauthentic to me. Like when decorators put out books but you know no one has read and treasured those books. Just for show.

    1. I agree about the logs. I love how they look but unless they are being used for the fireplace in this room I think they will bring an inauthentic feel to the house. It depends on if your priority is Instagram etc or the actual experience of being in the house. I’d switch the fire to wood burning or ditch the logs!
      Also, I have a woodburner and don’t have any issues with bugs or mice in wood stored by the fire. I don’t live in the US though so maybe it’s different there.

  87. Well y’all are going to think I’m crazy for sure but I think the whole problem is trying to make this wall work with those windows! To my eye they are just too much on that wall with a TV. Seems like you could do amazing things if not for them. Don’t get me wrong I love windows but I’ve been reading all this and I’m thinking it shouldn’t be this hard…

  88. We have a wood burning fireplace and store some wood inside. We use a trug to keep some inside. It’s not messy and I’m extremely fastidious. There are several options in wood. The light birch with brass nails is soo pretty.

  89. The black option has personality. The white option looks like “staging to sell” – neutral to allow anyone to imagine themselves in there. AND YOU PROMISED, EMILY – you promised to use more black!

  90. You can have decor logs that are not full of bugs. I’ve seen it done loads of times. They clean the logs first. It’s not a big deal, just don’t throw them in the fire.

  91. Am I the one who thinks the black is just too dark, and the white washes out?? Why not a charcoal gray or something??

  92. WHITE!
    SO MUCH happening on this wall…windows, tv, fire, seating, storage, PLUS styling.
    there is plenty of visual interest.

  93. White for the win – love it! Also I cannot believe this epic competition. Reading this in rural Ireland – my in laws’ place – would LOVE this prize!

  94. I was team “bench all the way across” and I honestly like how that looks. You can break up the space above it with art. Something as simple as cords with little snapshots attached to them. Every time you stay at the mountain house, you could take a pic, write a little note on the back, and pin it up.

    Another idea would be to make the 2 windows circle windows (nod to Mason Peter). That would take it to a whole notha level.

    What’s bothering me about the 2 choices here: boxy, mcbox, box, box, box. The entire wall is a series of rectangles/squares. To my eye, the only way too do this well is to be very rigid about the sizes of the shapes, or to go very English bespoke casework. Do all the shapes share the same measurement and/or dimension, e.g. 24 x 36 or 24×24? It seems like there are a couple extra sizes, little ledges and things that are distracting from the symmetry.

    On the other hand this is only a rendering and you and your team are crazy talented and know what you are doing. I’m sure it will look amazing IRL.

  95. Such an interesting process! I like the logs and black cabinets because It creates a moody, cozy vibe, which seems perfect for a cabin. The white (especially with the baskets) feels light and airy, which would be perfect with a very modern beach house. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

  96. Hi Emily!

    Why the toe-kick on the cabinets? Is anybody really going to be standing right up close to them? Might it look more seamless if they were flush to the base of the log storage?

    Would love to know why this detail got included! Thanks!

  97. Hello Ms. Henderson,

    First, congrats on using things medium in a fun, creative and community way, you’re a good example to many.

    Secondly, congratulations on having created a life where a Mountain Home is a possibility. The joy and exuberance with which you do so is contagious!

    As a seasoned professional AV Systems Integrator (a fancy, though accurate industry term for Home Theater Designer and Installer) for over 28 years in Los Angeles, Portland and Austin (just retired and living in France now) I do have something to add, which doesn’t have a major impact on the aesthetics, though should at least be considered before any wood is cut:
    Infrastructure and Ergonomic Considerations.

    I don’t have a problem with where you have the TV, as some in my field might, but I urge you to consider the following:
    Plan now for a accessible (min. 2″ diam.) tube to run from the lower half of the TV mounting area to one of the lower cabinets, preferably the right one. This is where your cable or satellite box sends maybe a blu-ray player (and ideally an AV reciever/amp) will be.
    This tube should not have any hard angles in it because it will be the conduit for things like a couple of HDMI lines and a CAT-6 cable.

    You may also want to consider locating a pair of bookshelf-type speakers (preferably a beefier grade to avoid the need for a subwoofer elsewhere) and the wires for them homing back to the cabinet where the aforementioned AV gear will reside.

    Lastly, plan on doing something to occasionally black out the two windows. There’s nothing more straining than trying to watch TV with bright daylight in your eyes at the same time.

    That’s all I’ve got for now. Of course I have more ideas, but I’ll share them with you privately if you’d like.

    All the best,
    Radames Pera
    (And you can google me!)

  98. I normally don’t comment on blogs, but I just can’t help myself here!!
    1. Great change with the tv depth
    2. The wood in the lower area looks amazing. Do not let anyone guilt you into removing it. Why do we put anything beautiful in our homes? Because asthetically we love it! Who cares if it’s practical?! It’s beautiful and textural and a critical organic component in a sea of geometric shapes.
    3. Have you tried to store toys on shelves in a cabinet? It’s a PAIN. Don’t do this to yourself. Swap out for drawers and you’ll be able to chuck all the toys in without them rolling right back out onto you.
    4. I see the comments about the top of the black cabinets looking too “cubby” with the seam the doors create. I don’t mind it as long as your lower area is NOT storage baskets. But a way to create more of a linear look while still having glass doors would be to mimic those old Library bookcases with glass doors stacked on top of each other that lift up instead of having side hinges. I’d attach a picture if I could. They would be very interesting still and custom and would eliminate that vertical dividing line.
    5. Black side cabinets. All the way. They’re a wow factor and so special.

  99. While I love the white, one needs to remember that when the TV is off, there will be a lot of black in the centre (TV + fireplace) so to balance it, I think the black cabinets are needed.

    1. “when the TV is off, there will be a lot of black in the centre” – no it’s a Frame (aka Samsung Frame) 😉

  100. I voted white because in isolation, it seems to be the cleaner choice. I’m picturing it styled out with some cool black objects. But in the context of the broader house design, the kitchen island in particular, I can imagine that the black would work really well too.

  101. Any reason the cabinets couldn’t be wood? If these are custom made, why not try out a gorgeous wood? I think it would also be a compromise between the opposites of black and white.

  102. Please the black cabinets, but change it from cupboards to drawers and from squares to shelves! It will look much more sleek and custom and I think you will be shocked how it changes the room!

  103. You can always paint the cabinets white if you don’t like it – so try black first. Also, any other storage options besides those baskets? They look like Ikea . . . there has to be something functional and interesting/beautiful out there.

  104. I voted for black cabinets but I also like the white cabinets backed with the black reclaimed wood. Anything you put there would really stand out against the black (couldn’t bring myself to say “pop”). What looks busy to me is all the storage bins. I would do drawers under the benches if it’s possible with the plaster surround.

  105. What about opening the shelves (top part) and not dividing them in half into cubbies. I think that would add realistic storage space and make it visually less cluttered.

  106. What window treatments are you planning for the two windows flanking the TV? Take it from someone who lived with sun glare for far too long, you need SOMETHING. Roman shades, maybe? Also, the windows look a bit off-center with the built-in cabinets; like there is room for them each to be wider towards their respective cabinets (and 24″ seems a bit slim in my honest opinion).

  107. I’m just now catching up on the last weeks worth of posts, so I didn’t see the orginal. The white is what I voted for b/c it will keep it more open looking, but I love the black. If you go white, do something fun in the pillows or on a cushion on the bench. Bring black in with lighting or some other accents otherwise it will feel so airy and not grounded. I tend to go for plain front doors. I’m thinking dust and grime. I agree with all your other decisions. And I LOVE the wood. It is buggy unless you have it heated in a kiln to kill all of them. If you do that, the wood will be ‘for looks.’

  108. Maybe I missed this from an earlier post, but wouldn’t the TV on the fireplace be black and not the light artwork that is showing? Does the artwork cover the TV when the TV is not in use? If it doesn’t, there will be an awful lot of black and very dark with the black bookcases. In that case, I would definitely go with white. If there truly is light artwork over the TV, I like the black bookcases because it relates to the black kitchen island, which would bring nice flow and continuity.

  109. Both options are lovely; the white cabinets read more “coastal/beachside cottage” whereas the black cabinets have more of the rustic feel I beiuve you’re going for.

  110. We are planning on putting logs in a cabinet next our our fireplace in the mountains – do LOGS really equal BUGS?!? I love this look!

  111. I think the success of either choice will depend on how it’s accessorized, for sure. The white looks a little plain now, but with striking accessories, and the texture/colour of whatever cushions etc are displayed in real life will make all the difference. The vibe can be totally changed up with the black or the white option.

    I do agree that the cube shaped shelving is rather Ikea-esque, but I don’t hate it.

    Also, the idea of colour for the side units is awesome. Benjamin Moore Caldwell Green, perhaps?? Or a deeper, darker, sprucier green, maybe… And then I’d want to do black and white plaid cushion covers, because it’s a cabin and that makes me want to plaid it up, but I can’t recall what colours you’ve already got happening in the rest of the place, and if that would work.

  112. Do the black!!! I just read the post on the kitchen cabinets and I think there will be too many white cabinets between the kitchen and this shelving. Do the black!!!

  113. Just one thing I would add, is a wood top on the window seat. It would tie in with the insides of the black cabinets.

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