I like a warm fire but we rarely have need for one. What I actually wanted was the mantel so I could decorate it and switch it out for seasons. My husband thinks I'm nuts. He is also strongly opposed to the "Amish Fireplace" type of unit (I tried!).
I was admiring my friend's photo of her fireplace and mantel when the thought occurred to me that I could just hang a shelf and decorate it like a mantel. Duh. My original plan was to just buy a standard hanging shelf. But I began daydreaming and sketching and pinteresting and thought, hey, why stop at the fake mantel, when I could have a whole fake fireplace?
I was going to ask my brother to make me one but his schedule was full so on a whim, I searched Craigslist. I found a guy who makes them. He needed a website. So, we traded. He made me a fireplace, and I made him a website. He took my sketch and built it and installed it for me this week. I am so happy with it! Best of all, it didn't cost me any money, and he got something he needed, too! Win-win! And we gained a foot and a half of depth back in our living room and about a foot in length, too--big gains when the room is only about 12 feet deep and the wall it is on is only 8 feet long.
This is what we had before. The TV was on top of it too but I didn't think to take a "before" photo. It was pretty and sturdy but took up way too much space in our little living room.
Without further ado, here is my new "fireplace!"
All of the panels are actually doors that open so we didn't lose our media storage either.
And I just hung these letters last night--trying to decide if I like them.