Incorporating Entertainment Centers With Fireplace Design
There are many times when people ask me if they can have the TV above the fireplace.This practice is just fine as long as the design is intended for it initially.In this case, the entire design of the fireplace was meant to be an entertainment center that just happened to house a gas fireplace.Following some of the same design methods that I did will ensure a warm look and a professional finish.
Framing the Fireplace
One rule of thumb when framing a fireplace that has bookcases or will house electrical components is that there needs to be a clear separation between these areas and the firebox.It is important to keep in mind that the firebox will reach temperatures over 200 degrees and that the heat will have to find a place to escape or absorb into.You do not want the electrical wires being exposed to this kind of heat.Installing a sealed firewall using 5/8 inch type X drywall will act as a barrier for gas burning fireplaces and electric fireplaces.Maintain the proper clearances as specified in the framing instructions from the manufacturer for proper operation.
Adding Built in Cabinets
The design of the particular unit pictured above had electrical, coaxial, and HDMI inputs on each side so that the homeowners could choose which side their entertainment equipment was going to be installed on based on their furniture placement.In order to make the hook ups easier, I built each cabinet with a face frame that pushed onto the stone of the fireplace and would recess slightly for a more finished look.This gave me the ability to mount the component and electrical boxes to the cabinet itself. If maintenance ever needed to be performed or lines added, the cabinets can be removed by removing 6 screws that mount the cabinets to the framing.
Light Weight Materials
One tip that I like to incorporate is to use lightweight materials to avoid having to perform significant reinforcement of the floor and possible have structural issues in the future.Using cultured stone like the kind pictured above can give a very real stone look for less and with easier installation.Make sure that you use metal reinforced mesh to help support the cultured stone prior to installation.
Fireplaces are a great focal point in a room but can be shared with entertainment components successfully without taking away from the elegant look that everyone loves.
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