built in fireplace niche
Photo: Michael Luppino
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Fireplace Niche

A chimney bumpout naturally creates recesses on either side that are ideal for built-in bookshelves and entertainment centers. For this niche beside a fireplace in a newly constructed home, architect Jay Haverson designed an open display case with a closed cabinet underneath. A neoclassical arched top is reminiscent of details found in early American interiors. The main difference is that the backs of those old niches were often curved like the inside of a barrel. But Haverson's clients wanted a squared-off back to hold books and other standard-size items. The cabinets below hide objects, like a box of long fireplace matches, that the homeowners wanted to keep handy but not out in the open.

IDEA: Construct a platform to raise built-in cabinets 2 to 4 inches off the floor so doors will swing freely on their hinges. This is especially important in old houses with uneven floors that can cause doors to stick.
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