A Balanced View: Fireplaces and Symmetry

A fireplace often forms a natural fulcrum, a still point around which a dynamic and interesting room can be arranged. Not always symmetrically, of course, but there’s a wonderful aesthetic satisfaction in a design that uses exact mirror imaging–or at least the suggestion of it–by flanking the fireplace with echoing groupings of furniture, art, and architectural elements. Her are some skillful Designers Collaborative variations on a two-faced theme.

Fireplace in an Upper West Side living room designed by Barry Goralnick
Barry Goralnick: A gut renovation of this 1912 Central Park West apartment opened walls to take advantages of the park views. Neoclassical architectural elements, and the use of rather formal symmetry centered around a fine fireplace anchors the long light-filled space. 

A minimalist fireplace in a living room by Glenn Gissler

Glenn Gissler:  A pair of dramatically elegant Robsjohn-Gibbings Klismos chairs flank this most minimal of fireplaces. (While everyone assume you need to have stone or brick around a fireplace, Sheetrock is adequately fireproof to do the trick!) The arresting artwork is a drawing by Kenneth Goldsmith.

Fireplace in the entry hall of a Belle Haven, CT, estate by tim Button and Stedila Design

Tim Button: This is the entry hall of an estate in Belle Haven, CT. The fireplace is directly opposite the front door and needed a major piece of furniture to anchor the space, so we at Stedila Design made a seven-foot-square, four-sided pouf that acts as a pivot point since it faces in all directions. 

Fireplace in a Greenwich, CT, study by Bruce Bierman

Bruce Bierman: For this study in a Greenwich, CT, residence, the husband asked that it not be a mahogany library like the ones belonging to all his friends. So we designed a room that kept within the traditional feel of the rest of the house but painted the cabinetry a light taupe while the window treatments, carpet, and furniture are in a dark brown and taupe combination that’s calm and soothing. 

Carl D'Aquino living room

Carl D’Aquino: My architect partner Francine Monaco and I used strict symmetry in designing and decorating this large and airy living room.

Fireplace in a kitchen in Orlando, FL, by Susan Huckvale Arann
Susan Huckvale Arann: In this kitchen in Orlando, FL, we put recessed built-ins to enhance the aged brick facade of the fireplace. We upgraded the fireplace to a gas/wood combination.