At first sight, I knew that the weird murphy bed cutout in my little apartment was really meant to be a fireplace. Alas, my landlord wouldn't even let me paint, so I was afraid to ask about ripping the wall out and installing a chimney flue. So for the next few months, my eyes were on the lookout for a mantel piece that fit my budget (broke college student). Craig to the rescue (his list anyway). Someone the next town over was offering this lovely little piece for $35. It need no more effort than a couple of screws. The paint and molding fit seamlessly in with that of the unit. Serendipity.
Since then, my apartment has grown up around the 'fireplace'. A satin curtain hangs behind in an attempt to disguise its shallowness against the wall. Twigs gathered on a hike were lovingly painted white and arranged in imitation of a firescreen (which I couldn't afford). Shelves were erected above the built ins to add a bit of library grandeur to the wall. Also my books spore like little gremlins. I blink and then there are 50 where 10 had been.
All in all, that weird useless little nook became one of my favorite things about my apartment.