How To Deal with Sunken Fireplace?

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Q: We recently bought a condo that runs the length of half a row house in Washington, DC. It's a very unusual layout, with the main problem being a sunken fireplace. The floor runs out and there are two steps DOWN into the fireplace. Any ideas on how to make this living room work? Thanks!!

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Regina is an architect who lives with her husband and children in Lawrence, KS. As a LEED Accredited Professional and longtime contributor to Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn, her focus is on healthy, sustainable living through design.