Straight from the Hearth

Above photo: The antique brick firebox surround was treated to create a patina that is well-suited to the casual elegance of the room’s design. A French limestone hearth that is both functional and beautiful brings warmth and sophistication to the fireplace. A touch of greenery adds life and color to the mantel; the taller the stem, the more you accentuate the room’s height.

As the weather gets colder, you likely are giving more thought to spending evenings curled by the fireplace with a great book, a single malt scotch – or both! A fireplace is not only a spot to gather, it is an opportunity to show your unique style. Often a room’s furniture layout is planned around the fireplace as a focal point, and with the tips below your fireplace is sure to provide high style and charm well beyond the winter months!

  1. Surround yourself in Beauty – Whether you’re a fan of marble, tile, brick, limestone, or a vernacular stone, the material you choose for your fireplace surround can provide a sense of timelessness and highlight a home’s history and tradition.
  2. Make your Mark – Beautifully detailed architectural moldings and millwork can accentuate a fireplace surround and convey traditional character. But, if it’s a contemporary aesthetic that you desire, keep the architectural details to a minimum.
  3. Matters of the Hearth – The hearth, the area immediately in front of the firebox, should relate to the aesthetic of the room and doesn’t have to be made of the same material that is used on the fireplace surround. It is best to speak to your designer/installer about making the hearth flush to the surrounding floor before you start planning your fireplace design. A flush hearth keeps the area safe and the appearance streamlined.
  4. Lights Up! – Lighting is an essential design element that allows the beauty of any room to shine. Consider wall sconces above the fireplace flanking each side for classical symmetry and abundant style. The accent lighting will also “put a spotlight” on your fireplace design.
  5. Layer upon Layer – Your mantel is a great spot to display items that tickle your fancy. Apothecary jars, candlesticks, and vases are quotidian objects that convey your unique sense of style. Layering objects, a tall mirror or artwork at the back, and mid-sized and smaller objects in the front adds visual appeal.
  6. Take it Personally! – While family photos, heirlooms, and meaningful objects convey your personality and style on the mantel, the objects associated with tending a fire are also a moment to flex your style. So, explore whether andirons are in your future, but certainly select a woven basket or a metal container to keep firewood at hand, an enchanting fireplace screen, and a fashionable poker to stoke the flames as winter approaches.

Holliswood, NY

Forest Hills Gardens, NY

Like so many design decisions, planning your fireplace style before your project begins, ensures superb results. It’s the details that make all the difference; please be in touch if I can be of assistance with your fireplace styling. All the best for a peaceful holiday season, and a joyous New Year!