Brick is ordinarily an outdoor building material, but more and more homes have some exposed brickwork indoors as well. A wall of brick in a library or family room can give instant atmosphere to an otherwise ordinary space. A brick chimney can create a focal point in a small or badly-proportioned prior.
Brick floors can make a modern kitchen look for all the world like an 18th century etching. A patterned brick floor at the entrance door makes the whole house more important and individual.
In a small room designed bu its owner as the study, we decided on a brick wall to turn this tiny rectangle into a comfortable environment for a woman who works at home.
To house a large collection of books and records and to provide a nesting place for a stereo system, a television and a bar without using the usual storage components, I used square brick piers or columns regularly spaced across an entire wall of the room.
I designed the colums so that they were 12 inches in each direction, which is pretty easy when you're dealing with bricks, since they are four inches in one direction and eight in the other. The four-inch end of one brick plus the length of another makes the pattern that goes around to form a 12-inch square. Draw it on paper if you can't visualize it, or find four bricks and try it for yourself on a tabletop.
When working with bricks, the first step is always to lay them out before hand in a "dry-run" pattern to make sure that the joints and spacing will fit your needs. Leave an extra space for the mortar joint when rehearsing; this will help you work fast when you're doing the real thieng. Remember that concrete must be used within two hours or it will become hard and unworkable.
Once the columns were properly spaced by measuring them out on the floor. I drew an elevation - nothing more than a floor plan of a vertical space - of the whole wall, to show where the shelving would go. I used one-inch-thick oak boards, concealing the joints where boards meets board in the middle laying the brick, it was a simple matter to count bricks to decide when to lay shelves between them.
A simple oak Parsons table makes a handosome desk, teamed up with plants in big baskets, a small but elegant Oriental rug and a comfortable chair and ottman for relaxing or watching John Kenneth Galbraith on television. Combining plain furnishings with an elegant brick backdrop gives character and utility to this simple space.