Good Questions: Hiding an Ugly Duct and Water Heater

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Hi AT:SF,

We just settled down in a 1920's flat in Oakland and it's great except for one problem. We are now hosting our first dinner party / house warming / graduation celebration and we'd like to get some ideas on how to cover the water heater [pictured below] and find out if we can take off that ugly duct?

Thanks!
Sanriofreak

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Anyone?