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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Kennett Square, Pa (chester county)
    Posts
    476

    Default How to make it look centered

    I need some suggestions.
    I'll explain it the best I can without a photo. I have a customer who wants two bookcases built. One on either side of a fireplace. The room is roughly 12ft wide. There is a fireplace close to center of the wall. The fireplace is about 3' wide with 1ft of marble on each side and above. Outside of that there is a wooden surround with wood mantle. The legs of the surround are about 6" wide and the overall width of the mantle is about 6ft. From the corner of the wall to the left side of the furthest point of the mantle/surround is 38". The right side is only 34". What I have to do is find a way to build the left bookshelf in the 34"space and the right bookshelf in the 38" space and have everything appear to be symmetrical. Eventually the fireplace surround will be removed and I will build a new one that ties into the bookshelves I am building now but that won't be until an unknown date in the future. There won't be any fancy profiles or detail into the bookshelves so I am figuring on possibly making the left one slightly larger than the one on the right. But I don't think I can build it 4inches wider without it being obvious. I think I want to try and lose at least half of the difference in the bookshelves and make up the rest of the difference in the surround when I get the go ahead for that but I don't want it to look odd until then. Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Northwest Indiana
    Posts
    5,576

    Default Re: How to make it look centered

    If you did not know/notice/see there was a difference until you measured the openings, you will not notice it in the bookcases.
    http://chicagocraftsmen.org/2011/06/261.html

    Check with the AHJ, what we say doesn't matter.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Clifton, NJ
    Posts
    2,385

    Default Re: How to make it look centered

    I would design the entire project first. Build the bookshelves and tell the HO it'll look even better when you do the fireplace surround.
    Other than moving the fireplace or walls, it's gonna be "off " somewhere.
    You're probably better off "losing it" in the bookcases than the surround legs.
    JMHO
    SteveC
    The improbable takes time, the impossible takes a little longer.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    717

    Default Re: How to make it look centered

    I agree with Steve, show a rendering of the complete project including the new surround and sell the whole package.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Berwyn, PA
    Posts
    766

    Default Re: How to make it look centered

    Is it possible to build out one of the outside walls? Even if it just built out to the 4" a little deeper than the bookshelf. Gnarly sketch attached
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Josh O.


    "If people knew how hard I worked to achieve my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful after all. "

    - Michelangelo-

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Kennett Square, Pa (chester county)
    Posts
    476

    Default Re: How to make it look centered

    I would love to just sell him on the whole project but ive worked for this guy in the past and if he says he just wants the bookshelves for now, thats all he wants for now.
    Josh, I hadn't thought of that idea but I have done something like that in the past. I did it on both sides though. One was 10" wide and the other was13" wide. I'm not sure I'd like it the way you have it drawn there. (nice sketchup too, I may need you to give me a crash course on sketchup sometime)
    It does give me an idea though. Maybe I can do a recessed filler instead of the protruding wall. I'm going to have to give that some thought. I think I'm going to take a bunch of pictures on this build so I can get some constructive critisism on my techniques.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Boise, Idaho
    Posts
    558

    Default Re: How to make it look centered

    I'd build them with uneven widths and when filled with books, or decorated, I bet there's not one person in 10 that would notice. It would stand out more to me if you try to make them the same width - a filler of any kind is more noticable to me than a few extra inches of shelf. If the area isn't normally seen straight on there's even less reason to try to make them look exactly the same.

    If a client was just driven crazy with symetrical shelves that aren't the same width I'd run asymetrical shelves by them - perhaps a pattern - various width spaces - you get the idea. Too often we get caught up in trying to make one side mirror the other and really the best solution, both to the eye and for just good design is an asymetrical one. How many pictures do we like where the subject is centered? If symetry was that important we'd have much less interesting spaces and photographs. Having said that it's harder to have good designs that have different sides that compliment each other.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Berwyn, PA
    Posts
    766

    Default Re: How to make it look centered

    I agree with the ones who say just build them to the openings and move on. It will look fine. Recessed filler is conspicuous, the drawing I made is conspicuous, messing with mantel is asking for trouble. Can you move the fireplace?

    cheers
    Josh O.


    "If people knew how hard I worked to achieve my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful after all. "

    - Michelangelo-

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Central New Jersey
    Posts
    789

    Default Re: How to make it look centered

    I too would loose it in the bookcases. You will notice it more in the fireplace surround.
    Rich

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Kennett Square, Pa (chester county)
    Posts
    476

    Default Re: How to make it look centered

    Thanks for the suggestions. I think I am going to lose it all in the bookcases. After further thought I think I may run with an abstract idea like Don suggests. Recessed filler idea only lasted about 10 minutes before I ax'd it.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Near the Burgh, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    3,322

    Default Re: How to make it look centered

    I'd just build it as is too. I always try and hide discrepancies in the widest place possible. We can't make everything perfect and we need to make compromises at times. Not many will see the difference in the book case widths.
    ~Kent~

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Arlington, Texas
    Posts
    295

    Default Re: How to make it look centered

    One side of this fireplace is wider than the other, but you really cannot tell for just looking at it.

    http://forums.jlconline.com/forums/s...ad.php?t=59739
    Lamar

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Berwyn, PA
    Posts
    766

    Default Re: How to make it look centered

    Quote Originally Posted by Lamar Horton View Post
    One side of this fireplace is wider than the other, but you really cannot tell for just looking at it.

    http://forums.jlconline.com/forums/s...ad.php?t=59739

    Yeah, but that's just a bunch of smoke and mirrors...
    Josh O.


    "If people knew how hard I worked to achieve my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful after all. "

    - Michelangelo-

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    San Gabriel, CA
    Posts
    408

    Default Re: How to make it look centered

    Make up the diff by the face frame

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Clifton, NJ
    Posts
    2,385

    Default Re: How to make it look centered

    Quote Originally Posted by Lamar Horton View Post
    One side of this fireplace is wider than the other, but you really cannot tell for just looking at it.

    http://forums.jlconline.com/forums/s...ad.php?t=59739
    I looked and I can. :)
    SteveC
    The improbable takes time, the impossible takes a little longer.

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