I'm still amazed by our builders ingenuity. They placed piping in the wall to allow the cords to be hidden from behind the TV through to the entertainment center/ fireplace/ etc below. Requires some fishing, but it makes for a beautiful, cord free area. And to answer my hecklers (Nathan/ Justin) out there, Yes, I mounted the TV! and it's still hanging solidly!!!
We are sooooo copying our friend's brother's fireplace!!!! In fact, we have the tree we're using for the mantle "drying out" in the front yard!! Praying that this is what we'll be looking at next Christmas!