I'm going through that TV/fireplace business myself. The decorator I'm working with suggested mounting the TV above the fireplace, but have an articulated mount so the TV can be pulled out and lowered to proper height when in use, and then back above the fireplace when it's not. There's a place called Mantelmount or MountMantel, I forget which, and they specialize in these mounts. I've got openings, windows, and closet doors to deal with, too, and my apartment is 100 years old!
We contracted to build in North Texas and have the open design with 30’ plus ceilings and forget audio, or decent theater in such a room. The echo makes it challenging to understand simple conversation. Separate rooms are needed for audio and theater. We have a TV mounted high over a large modern fireplace, but with the floor to ceiling, wall to wall windows and poor sound, it isn’t ideal. Also, they love running lots of outlets and lights on one circuit.
Personally, I know there is real sonic tradeoff for doubling a listening space as a living space. However, I am a big fan of being able to use and appreciate my system as much as possible and with people when possible.
I could never imagine having a listening room where I'd sequester myself in order to listen. There is a huge sonic advantage for a dedicated space, though.
Good luck finding a house built in the last 20 years in CA without an "open concept".
I prefer actual rooms -- I like being enclosed within a discreet spaces. My idea of a living room is not simply furniture grouped on an area rug, like an island floating within a large, undifferentiated space. The "open space" concept actually results in less useable spaces, whether one is an audiophile or not. Walls are good!
Ask a contractor about feng sui -- how it feels to be in a given space and most will laugh at you. As to why architects are so enamored of Open Plans, I have no idea. For better or for worse, it’s become the rule.
Open concept seems to be the fashion though I’ve seen a couple articles that the tide is turning and rooms with a specific purpose are making their way back. I’m lucky that my wife let me set up in the living room.
Unfortunately kitchen cacaphony is easily heard so serious listening is done when she’s gone or in her craftroom. I believe we’re going to have to build to get what we want once she retires.
But best of luck!
I have no idea why someone would jack a TV up to the ceiling. Stairing up above the fireplace mante would become very uncomfortable after a while. What about a hard day after work and you want to strtch out on the couch and watch TV?
Maybe people think they are simulating some type of cinema experience - NOT!
@stuartk - unless I was hiring the contractor to be my decorator, why would I care the slightest about what the contractor thought about feng shui or anything else regarding home decoration? If he laughed at me, he'd be a contractor looking for another gig and I'll find a good one who respected clients.
Fortunately I've never lived in any house or apartment that had a fireplace...save one....and above a FP is the last place I'd want to put one....😣
Having a flat screen over a heat source seems idiotic....not to mention the nearly inevitable soot if you use the FP frequently enough....
As a 'fan-person' of architecture for the bulk of my existence, there's rare examples of current home design and detailing that even begins to give a nod to acoustics.
'Open plan' designs do pose a challenge that, for the most part, engender surrender...😒 The 'best' (🤷♂️) I can think of would be an 'alcove' with the 'back wall' non-existent....opening into the open plan general living space....
...that entry/living room/dining/kitchen 'barn'....*L*
The 'immersive option'.... ;) 😏😆
I've been struggling with the same scenario for years, and have come up with the perfect solution. @larsman is correct - MantelMount is 1/2 the solution. You add a Media Decor https://mediadecor.com/product-category/moving-art-screens/ piece of art to cover your television. When you want to watch TV, the art rolls away, and the MantelMount MM860V2 automatically lowers the TV to the correct height. Our company has been installing this solution for a year and it works great!
And this is exactly why I designed and custom built my current home (at least that's what my wife always says)
My solution to the TV issue involved a free standing fireplace between the dining area and living area. TV was on the far wall opposite the fireplace. Large windows on the outer wall. The room has multiple focal points that don't compete.
My house is a 1905 model. I am 50 years newer. My 3 systems are vintage as well. I solved the television problem by simply not having one. I watch a movie on the computer from time to time. I have 10' ceilings on the ground floor, a dungeon look-alike basement made out of stone, and 3 bedrooms up stairs with 9' ceilings, one is a library/listening room, another is my drum room/recording space, and the third has a bed. The living room is connected to a real dining room by an arch. Kitchen right angle to dining room. The electric service was redone by a previous owner, an electrician, so I'm at least up to NEC circa 90's. I miss the wood stove from my old farm house (Minnesota winter). My problem is the floors downstairs; not a level space to be found, and they are soft and springy. Many turntable experiments for the 4 in use, even bringing back my old sand box, but leaning toward three speaker spikes under butcher block cutting boards for leveling, various isolation feet in trials..... Sorry I couldn't help with the TV issue ;)
Didn't the grid go down when it was below freezing?
I have lived in Texas all my life and no the grid did not go down. They did rolling brownouts for several days and you would be without power every hour for 30 to 45 minutes. Our fireplace was what saved us as it has gas logs and we sat in front of it all day and read. The latest freeze last year was not the grid going down but many were without power for up to a week because of ice downing power lines or tree limbs taking down power lines. Luckily where we live our power lines are buried. Personally I would not be without a fireplace. I have a separate room for my listening.
There are few things I love more in winter than sitting on front of a mature wood fire with glowing coals, sipping a fine Bourbon and listening to my rig.
There is something primal and magical about a wood fire and the deepest, warmest heat there is. It's a lost luxury IMO. Add fine liquor and Hifi and I'm deeply happy.
@mhemusic thanks and great suggestion for getting the screen to a lower level but that still doesn't do anything for my media cabinet, wires, center channel, possible short throw projector.
I love having my main system in the main living area because it gets used alot. Others can envy, criticize, or enjoy it often. When I've had a "man cave" i rarely used it because it was so separated from everything and everyone.
@yesiam_a_pirate agree! I'm not anti fireplace, just anti most $400k-900k homes build the fireplace right in the main entertainment spot of the house, right where my system should go forcing me to work around it where it's totally unused 99.9% of the time.
A fireplace off to the side or out of the way is great., as long as nothing is too rattly on the doors and such.
I wasn't suggesting you should care, let alone hire such a person. I was pointing out that many contactors seem to be fairly oblivious about how livable various floor-plans are. At least, that's been my experience.
I guess that we all differ in terms of “should”. I would never place my primary two channel, nor home theater setup in “the main entertainment spot”. I understanding supporting video and audio in such a room, but talking, crowds and busy environments are not where I want to listen to music, or watch a movie. Room acoustics are critical, whereas an entertainment area has much different priorities. Also, expensive speakers and delicate turntable, arm and cartridges should not be exposed to such traffic and potential damage.
I rebuilt my home about 12 years ago and added a wood-burning fireplace before I got into hi-fi. Luckily, I placed it in the corner of the room (large rectangle family/kitchen plan). What I had planned in a 12’ space on the short front wall (9’ceilings), was a built-in entertainment center, which I never built (funds ran-out-thank God!). It was a godsend because that space is now occupied by a hybrid system for TV and music. The only fixed piece is the 77” Oled which occupies the center space, just a tad above eye-level. Below that is an low cabinet housing all the gear (you can have a look on my description). It’s certainly not ideal, but I was all HT at that time. The walls house 12g speaker cable all around the room for surround speakers. But my hi-fi odyssey didn’t really get going until 3 years ago, but eventually, moved from an AV receiver-centered system to a 2.2 stereo system of separates, adding all this to the cabinet. A pair of modified (gr-research), 1.7i Magnepans replaced flagship DefTech towers for the fronts, (I kept the DefTech center-used for movies). I use a PrimaLuna Evo 300 preamp with a HT pass through for multi-channel TV with the receiver, and the rest is pure stereo powered with a Parasound A21+. 9 ft from the system we sit on a plush sectional that’s centered right in front which sits on top of a thick shag area rug. Even with wood floors, the sound is good (though I will soon do treatments to the rear of the speakers. The fireplace is 5ft from all this, in the corner and on cold nights when I burn wood, I move the Maggies a bit closer together, away from the heat. The overall effect is almost (the Maggies can get a bit of unusual attention), conventional/modern looking open family room, not too gear centered. But I can certify everything works well together. Sometimes, when people are over they want to hear music, and they are floored. And with movies, same thing. When I’m alone, I have this incredible space to crank-up the sound and its truly blissful. Headphones help too late at night. Good luck on finding your way around that’s fireplace. My in-laws all have modern homes like what you have, but they ALL think it’s the cats-pajamas to have that TV perched way up on the wall over their beautiful gas fireplace. I just rub the back of my neck, nod and smile.
When we moved from NY to Texas, our original goal was a minimalist modern design- did not exist without a custom build that would have cost big money. A lot of expensive "modern" houses in town are just boxes that are cheaply made, with IKEA like finishes for a few mill plus. We wound up in a Victorian Queen Anne that had been restored by a preservationist over the course of 20 years- the quality of construction is unparalleled --
Though the house is "historic" downstairs- upstairs it is more like a modern loft and that’s where I put the main system. We put a small "home theatre" (flat screen) in the downstairs front parlor. On the TV mounting, my wife found an old heavy artist's easel- thing weighs about 200 lbs- made of oak. It required only minor repair- and the TV got mounted to the easel using a standard mount. It looks good, and is very sturdy.
I guess my experience, wherever you are house shopping, is to get the feeds from the multilist from your broker (good to have a buy side broker) and do your due diligence- many of the houses in Austin had unpermitted additions from back in the day. These don’t show up on the tax rolls, either. But the first time you need an inspection for, say a kitchen upgrade, they might flag you for that unpermitted garage/guest house/whatever. Our broker would pull the permit file on any house we were serious about.
FWIW, it is hotter than hell here right now--I don’t run the big system when the grid is under strain. You might use a furnace two or three months a year and most of the time, it’s not very cold in the winter. Summers, though, place heavy demands on your air-conditioning.
Where in Texas are you house shopping?
@whart currently in the Dallas area. Considering moving to Atlanta or maybe Nashville but it's really the same story there. Same cookie cutter style that my wife loves. We have young kids so we don't have the luxury of living just anywhere based on finding the perfect house.. It has to be in the right schools, in the right neighborhood, and all that.. that equals cookie cutter for the most part. And for whatever reasons, housewives have demanded this open-concept fire place where my system should go look. I swear it was by design by housewives everywhere.
I agree that when staging a house to sell, a lovely family portrait above fire place sells better than massive speakers a half mile of cables expertly hidden in the nooks and crannies..
Speaking of.... are you amazed at how many men come into your home and don't comment or even look twice at the system you're so proud of?
If I went into someones home and they had a pair of speakers as tall as me and a system with cool lights, I'd at least be attracted and give kudos! Makes it easy cull friends at least.
We had the exact same issue the last time we bought 22 years ago. A big factor in the house we bought was that it did not have this "forced" TV location.
A few years ago we decided we were ready to go and looked for a new house for a full year and never found anything we both liked, so I talked my wife into buying a nice, big, 5-acre lot and I got to work designing the house to go on it. Great room has the fireplace right in the middle of one of the long walls, flanked by double french doors on both sides that lead to a screened porch. I also don't like the TV being in a prominent location, i.e., it's the first thing you see when you enter a room, so I left one of the short walls (but only 4' shorter than the long ones) as a "blank canvas", meaning no doors or other interruptions and you have to be pretty much in the room to even see the TV. Pretty unique for an open concept (which we do still like after living in one all these years). I also have a dedicated media room (16'6" x 22'), designed just to my liking.
Covid, of course, made building nigh impossible for a while but we're within a couple weeks of getting started now, just in time to pay sky-high interest (comparatively)! We're just gonna have to suck it up and get this place built.
Another advantage of building is that you have control over how your house is built. The builder doesn't dictate to me, it's the other way around. I'm the customer. I'm doing lots of non-standard things including 2x6 exterior walls (virtually unheard of in the south) and geothermal HVAC. Yes, building can be quite an undertaking but it's the best way of getting what you want.
I agree with @larry5729. I have never understood why anyone would want to put a TV up so high that you have to crane your neck to see it. Not exactly comfortable for watching a movie or anything else. Good luck to you. In only a half jest, I'd say cover up the d*$#@ fireplace by putting the TV down in front of it. Especially if you live in Texas and wouldn't even think of using it in January.
@dtximages--best of luck on your move. Nashville was not booming like it is now when we were initially looking- we wanted no winter, a university where I could teach part time (I'm retired) and a good rowing culture-- my wife is into competitive rowing. Since we never had kids, we had a little flexibility but if you are patient and have access to the multi-list, targeted by zip code and price, you can exclude a lot of houses and maybe luck out. I was up in Dallas the other day to visit one of the known audiophiles here- it was 10 degrees cooler than Austin, but was told it was just an anomaly - they had a break in the weather. The hardest part of Texas for me is the summer heat- I like the people, I like getting out into Deep Texas and exploring.
I live in an older house that thankfully has walls and doors - large open spaces would drive me crazy trying to 'tune' a system.
I have a 65" wall mounted TV above the fireplace and like it - no issue at all. I suppose that it could be a problem if the mantel was unusually high.
I also have a similar TV wall mounted above my equipment rack in another room, and again, no problem viewing it.
Maybe get a recliner so you don't have to stretch your neck for viewing....?
@whart yeah we had a couple of days under 100deg and it felt great with no humidity!
Anyway, my angst about the fireplace isn't so much with mounting the tv too high, it's the total lack of options it allows.. No place for my "spread" if you will (media cabinet full of sparkling equipment, center channel, etc.)
I swear it all started with a magazine and a woman (or man I suppose so i dont get banned) saw it and had to have it.
Unfortunately, I can't say NO to a house based only on "theres not enough room for my stereo" haha.
When my wife and I built our current home we both knew that a floor plan with distinct rooms with walls and doors was preferable to the popular open space designs. 25 years later, I can say that we made the right decision. Much better utilization of space with separate rooms.
I have a finished basement with 8.5 ft ceiling that’s served as a wonderful listening space for my audio system. I can listen any time of the day or night without disturbing others.
@kennyc yeah you're right it's costly but many modern homes don't allow much wiggle room for this, not without damaging the overall value of the home. Many times there are staircases or other obstacles or it's already an open concept to begin with so you're just creating new problems. I agree there are many options if you want to do ALOT of work and spend a ton of money.
It's just a rant about a trend of "weird" living rooms that offer little options other than just a tv - often only above a fireplace. I know they're not thinking about my rig when they design a house, but it's almost impossible in 'many' of todays designs.
I’m my opinion, the open concept is good for a couple of reasons.
1. If the house is on the smaller side, the concept stretches the square footage a bit by not dividing the space too many times.
2. Many people like being able to cook, eat, socialize, listen to music/ watch tv as a family/group, rather than apart.
If I had choice, I’d take the open concept living area with another area for a stereo. But in the end, spending time with the people I love is a priority, I’m the CLO! (chief love officer)
Smart! When we built our current house, I’d just barely tipped my toe into audio and regrettably, didn’t give much thought to it when we were in the design phase. I seem to have lucked out, though. Despite the fact that the living room is the only room large enough to accommodate a system and that furniture inhibits idea positioning of monitors, I’m extremely gratified by the degree to which I've been able to refine the system.
I can’t argue with this -- it makes perfect sense, given your priorities!
Agree again. Absolutely depends on one’s objective and desires. I can easily see some people preferring an open floor plan design. Just not the better solution for me. With a separate 1st floor spacious two-story family room for TV/movies and a separate finished basement living space for audio all is good for my situation.
“Speaking of.... are you amazed at how many men come into your home and don't comment or even look twice at the system you're so proud of?”
You nailed it. 99% of the men who visit ignore the system, which is flanked by tall Magnepan speakers! You’d think it would be like bees to honey, but nope, they just join- in on the small-talk in the room. I think many of them have been threatened by their wives: “Don’t even think about it!”.