I recently was asked my opinion on what a homeowner should do with her brick fireplace. She felt it was dated and she was looking for ideas. This got me thinking about how we can deal with these architectural features.
There are many different types of bricks, including concrete bricks and fly ash clay,  burnt clay, sand lime, and engineer bricks. According to, bricks provide aesthetic, strength, porosity, fire protection, sounds attenuation, insulation, and excellent wear resistance.
Here are some ways to work around brick from a design standpoint:
1.  Leave the brick as-is and add a chunky mantle. Sometimes I love brick, sometimes I don’t. If it lends itself to the history of the home or building, you may want to keep it. Can it be cleaned? Can you add a mantle to bring more attention to the fireplace, but yet play down the brick?  
2.  Paint it. Can the brick be accented or down played by painting it a deep color or white? What about a white wash enabling the brick to peek through? We once had a client who hated her 1950’s white stone fireplace.  It was in a midcentury home and I felt it added to the architecture of the home. In this instance, instead of painting the stone, we painted the walls an icy blue, which made the stones stand out, she found a new appreciation and now considers this a focal point of her home.
3.  Drywall it. Another solution is to drywall over the brick and start fresh. Sometimes it just doesn’t work with the decor or lends itself to the space, and this can be a solution to start fresh. Once dry walled over, you can start fresh with tile or ledger stone, or just paint it.  Adding an mantel and artwork is a must as well! fireplacedrywall
A fireplace facelift can refresh your living space with a much needed updated look and feel. These are just a few ways to transform your hearth to become the heart of your decor! 


Most of my design time is spent in the remodeling world, specifying products and project managing remodels of bathrooms, kitchens, whole homes and partial homes, which I adore doing!  While I may not be decorating a room with furniture as often, I still know the importance of furniture and how it can set the tone for a room or a home.

I also believe that our homes, like our growing families, go through different phases, and different furniture and or arrangements also occur in our homes during those phases.  I have been in client homes before that don’t seem to have a hang out space, and it will leave me wondering “where do they hang out?”  I have teenagers, and love for their friends to be at our home.  I was noticing that my 20 year old couch that I loved, seemed too short for more than one person to sit comfortably, and that our club chairs were worn and not well liked. The furniture desperately  needed to be replaced despite my best efforts to hide the fabric tears in the chairs with duck tape and hidden with pretty pillows, and the couch was terribly faded! The family room we hang out in just didn’t seem to fit even four people comfortably especially when a dog and two cats join in!

While I had my eye out for some new couches I am a picky buyer, and would rather do without until I find the perfect piece.  I also believe that the perfect piece of furniture can happen along when least expected. I found my husband when least expected 23 years ago, too!

Favorite couchOne day recently after a quick trip to the mall, my daughter and I happened to be walking though Pottery Barn on the way to our car. She pleaded we not walk though since I “always have to go through there”. Even though I wasn’t going to look at furniture, I couldn’t help to instantly fall in love with this couch my daughter happened to sit on.  It was Memorial Day weekend, a great furniture sale weekend, and I LOVED this couch.  It fit all the ‘wants’ I had on my imaginary list; grey, fit 2-3 people comfortably, cushy, price, and they had two!

It didn’t take long to start the  process of renting a box van to transport my new finds to my home. My family room is now the happy recipient of two of these beauties flanking each other. They have been a hit, as family asked why I didn’t do this earlier. And I LOVE walking in and seeing my family, animals and friends happily sprawled out on the furniture. It makes my heart happy!  Who knew furniture could help bring a family together?

Do you have a great story about how furniture has brought your family together?  I’d love to hear about it!


Doors: Opening Design Possibilities

April 26, 2016

By Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger Windows and floors and doors, oh my! Windows and floors and doors, oh my! We all remember a similar rhyme from childhood (lions and tigers and bears, oh my!), but now that we are adults, this revised version is probably a more accurate depiction of what scares us. Of these three design […]

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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…

March 15, 2016

By Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger We all know the line, ‘Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?’ No matter what the answer returned by the all-knowing reflective oracle is to that question, the unmistakable effectiveness of a mirror to add detail, form and function to a room is a sure thing. Mirrors can […]

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