Before he visited....
Well, I told my dad about my little problem, and also how we had been using the fireplace for a library storage area... and look what he did!!
You'd think that after 30 years of him as my dad the beauty of a thing created would be old hat. Not at all... Everytime it catches my eye I am warmed by the thought that he made this. Granted he has made us many things... a laudry room, a bathroom, and a wrap around deck included, but this latest addition is right in the center of our house, right it would seem where a father's love belongs.
A friend's mom has suggested a cushion for that whole hearth area, and painting the inside of the fireplace black.. I have no idea about what type of fabric to choose, but am enamored with the new look!! Thanks dad!!