Design Decisions

Designing Our Living Room Finishes: Built-ins, Fireplace, and Beams

One of the best things about building your own home is being able to make it custom to exactly what you want. Well, that is within what your budget allows. I love planning and coming up with each room’s unique design and finishes. It’s always important, as I have stated before, while making each room unique, the look still flows with the remainder of the home.

For this build, we’ll be sticking with our style of clean lines with a mix of rustic and modern. But of course this house will not have the farmhouse elements of our current home.

Plan Layout

Our layout was designed with an open concept in mind. This will be great for entertainment and hosting lots of people. The living room/kitchen area is also where we spend most of our family time, so I wanted to make sure the rooms were a little larger. Tall ceilings and an open design were two must haves for this area.

We also wanted the entryway to provide an immediate view into the living room. This allows for a sneak peak of the living area and gorgeous view of the trees at the back of the house.

Beams and Built-ins

We love adding elements that add character to a space. With 12 foot ceilings, we will for sure be doing beams. Our plan is to save a little and do our own box beams, but with some type of reclaimed wood to add a rustic element.

We also will be doing built in bookcases on each side of the fireplace. Henry wanted to do these built-ins a little different, so he had the framers frame the wall and leave openings 1 ft off the floor. Then he will build the shelves inside of the openings.

Here is an example. This is a project by Robyn Madeline Interiors.

Photo Credit: Robyn Madeline Interiors

We will be staining them a light color to match the beams and flooring. This will tie everything together.

We’ve thought about doing full doors on the builtins or shelves and drawers. We’ll have to make up our mind on this pretty soon.


To add an element of texture to the room as well as a modern touch, we are going to use a cast stone fireplace surround. This will create the perfect contrast with the natural wood built in shelves on each side.

Here is an example. This home was built by John Bynum

Photo Credit: John Bynum


We also have three large windows on the back wall. The plan called for an extra large panoramic door. We new that we would never use the main feature of the door, which is to open it all the way. For that reason, we couldn’t justify spending that much money on it. They are quite expensive.

So we replaced it with all windows. This was a design decision that we are very happy with. I think the windows look better and we saved some money!

Since the ceiling is 12ft, we went 1 ft taller with the windows and gave them a 9ft header. This still leaves 3ft between the top of the window and ceiling, but much of that will be filled with the beams and current rod.


For the last and final piece, we wanted a focal point of elegance. We will be adding a black six light chandelier with off white linen shades in the center of the room.

I’m loving the way the black ties in with the windows and the off white shades are soft and warm. We’ll also have a light over each built-in.

Previous Post Next Post

You may also like


  • Reply yana

    Hi, can you share the dimentions of the concrete fireplace and the builtins?

    thank you!!!!

    April 15, 2020 at 8:09 pm
  • Reply Ashley

    Can you tell me the stain color you used on your built ins?

    January 26, 2021 at 11:01 pm
  • Reply Nikki Nguyen

    Would a black tv be an eye sore on top of that fireplace? I love everything about this design.

    June 26, 2021 at 7:36 am
  • Reply Alena

    What paint color did you paint the wall by fireplace?

    July 11, 2022 at 1:15 pm
  • Leave a Reply