Fireplaces and TVs, Oh My!

Russ and I agreed that I would be in charge of the fireplace. It didn’t take long and this rabbit hole went deep fast. Now we have a file about 3 inches thick of information, drawings, pictures, etc. Plus we are watching TV at our current home with our TV on top of a stool on top of the TV cabinet.  Craziness.


It all started with a visit to the Fireplace store, the local one our builder likes to use. After viewing several natural gas fireplaces in the store, I casually mentioned we plan to put a TV above the fireplace as low to the ground as possible, so the fireplace would start at the floor. Then, he said, “you will be surprised how high the TV will end up.”   I wasn’t completely paying attention but I asked why.  He talked real fast about fireplace heat, codes, and TV installation rules and I glazed over.

We walked out and I wondered, HOW HIGH and what defines that height?  Then I started obsessing about it. I printed installation manuals from the fireplace companies websites and read stuff.  The funny thing – I had no idea what they were saying. Then I found mantel height information, 13 – 19 inches above fireplace top, depending on the brand.  I got distracted by questions and answers and chats online about the trend of TV over fireplace.

Russ finally engaged, for his own sanity sake, in the conversation with me; maybe I was a little consumed. The wall we plan to put TV and Fireplace in some combination (stacked or next to each other) is 20 ft, but 4 ft is window – that leaves 16 ft.

The next weekend, we visited 2 more stores, talked with sales people and put our TV up on a stool. I learned the mantel height info was for “combustible” mantels and we will put up a NON-combustible mantel. We made the assumption that the NON-combustible mantel could go a few inches above the framing height for the fireplace. Of course, most installation manuals don’t really address non-combustible mantels related to framing height, we have more work to do.

I’m calmer now because I made a chart:) That always helps me, and now I’m free to concentrate on other important details for building the house. My current favorite is the Regency P36 with louvers (the P33CE is a few inches shorter but the fireplace is pretty small). That decision happens a little later, thank goodness.

Fireplace Framing Heights


DSC09601“The earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.” — Chief Seattle


This month the land chose us (Russ and me).  We know we belong to it, the land by the Allegheny River. It is really an amazing story.

Three weeks ago we finally articulated our common wish to live by the water as we entered into empty nest life – a few years out.

Two weeks ago, Russ saw land along the Allegheny River near East Brady that was being developed.  We hadn’t known about it.  He called around until he learned of the developer.

Only one lot was left, no view of the river, but river access.  We decided to see it and met Angie.  We instantly knew she is special.

As we talked with Angie about the land in her development she was excited to tell us that two other lots had come available.

Together they were perfect and claimed us immediately.  I don’t know how to explain it.  We visited 5 days in a row, trying to understand what we felt deep within.


Each visit, each touch, each walk around the trees (oak, maple, sassafrass, birch, cherry and tulip), near the river, and along the property lines roots us deeper.

Now we ask the Universe to support us to claim the land with monetary exchange, because we know we belong to it, but there is the current societal norms to adhere too.

In deepest gratitude for us and the generations that follow us.

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity…” 
— John Muir