Design Question: TV Cabinet Hiding Fireplace


Ideally looking for someone who has done this before and can offer pictures or advice...
Because of my living room layout, the best place for the TV is where the fireplace is located. (I'm in S. Texas, and NEVER use the fireplace.) It's a brick fireplace with a relatively cheap, builder-installed mantle. The brick extends all the way up to the ceiling. There is a fairly typical brick base in front of the fireplace about 10" tall. It protrudes away from the face of the fireplace about 24".
The TV will be a new flat-screen type, so it won't be very deep.
I'm thinking of three options:
1) Remove the mantle and construct a small base cabinet (~18" tall) that sits on top of the brick base. The TV would sit on top of the cabinet. For this option, I would probably go with some type of stained finish. Advantages: Low investment in time and materials. Disadvantage: I have a feeling that it would look really bad.
2) Remove the mantle and construct a large cabinet to completely hide the brick. It would be ~8' tall and extend all the way up to the ceiling. The bottom of the large cabinet would wrap around the brick base. Construction would be hardwood plywood, which could be stained or possibly just painted white. I would do some shelves or something (mantle?) above the TV, so there wasn't just a big blank space up there. I could apply moldings, etc, to dress it up. It would not look like a simple plywood box. Advantages: Could look nice if done correctly. Disadvantages: Big time investment in both time and material, could look crappy if not done properly
3) Kind of a hybrid between options one and two. Build a medium-sized cabinet that wraps around (and hides) the brick base and fireplace. But leave it short, so that the brick will be exposed behind the TV all the way up to the ceiling. Advantages: medium investment . Disadvantages: unsure of how it will look.
I'm a fairly accomplished woodworker, so any of these options are within my skills. I really need some design input to give myself the best chance for success on the first try!
I think option 1 will be ugly. Option 2 will be a big job. Option 3 has potential to look good or look ugly.
At this point, I'm thinking of starting with Option 3, and then morphing into Option 2 if needed to make it look nice.
Thanks, Stan
ps: I could post a picture of the fireplace on the binary newsgroup if needed.
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if it's a plasma screen, why not just hang it on an appropriate bracket that's attached with tapcons into the mortar?
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I saw an episode of TOH where Tom built folding panels that when flat looked like a panelled wall. I searched but could not find it. I did find this though:
http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/knowhow/tools/article/0,16417,354932,00.html
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I konow you are in texas, but consider the effect on your house value of doing this. I would guess it is likely to decline. Even in texas, fireplaces add to the price of a house.
My advice would be to build over rather than replace the mantle. Make whatever you have removable.
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No Spam wrote:

room. I have seen TVs built into spaces above fireplaces. Should be easy with a flat screen TV. Looks like storage space above the mantel. Most of the time you don't even see the TV (and guests would not know its location) until the doors are opened.
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Hi Stan,
I have seen (tried to enjoy) plasmas above a fireplace. I think that it is the LAST place to put a HD TV. Imagine your head cocked at that angle for a typical film (2 hrs or so). It's like sitting in the front row when you were a kid.
We know better now.
Living in the NE (USA), we enjoy a nice fire to the right of a TV about 30 inches above the floor in our FR. Someday, we'll get one of those 62 inchers (DLP.)
I would put it a little left/right if possible.
(I have posted some pics of my project on ABPW.)
Lou
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My neighbor has a big, honking plasma screen hanging on the brick above his fireplace. It looks great and is fine for viewing if you keep the furniture moved back. Otherwise, you're straining your neck to look up.
Bob

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