Category: Home & Garden: Home Improvement
No doubt, fires are romantic. The flickering flames add warmth, a special glow, and an ambiance to a room no other feature does as well. Have you made the most out of your fireplace? Looking for tips? Read on.
An empty mantel over a fireplace is like having no eyebrows over the windows to your soul. Besides, the whole area looks much less generous and cozy without some much-needed weight. A row of small objects strung across the mantel is not the answer either - it’s too much.
You could group the smaller items altogether, and add a taller, totally different object placed among these things to give the whole look more balance. A pair of beautiful candlesticks, any type of mantel clock, or a shapely vase would look fantastic with a smaller collection.
In traditional homes, a Staffordshire cat or a pair of pug dogs add fun to a mantel; or a stack of old, venerable books are nice.
Old sconces flanking either side of a mantel add romance, glow, and dreamy shadows - giving other possessions an aged, mystic look.
If you were planning on adding an extremely valuable painting to tilt across the top though, you might reconsider. No matter how well-ventilated, the canvas will still be subject to drying temperatures and drafts, a hazard that any type of stretched material with medium cannot weather. Instead, why not opt for a distinctive mirror? Tilt the glass to reflect the room rather than the ceiling. Candles on another nearby surface will be magnified by the mirror and the danger of blacking the ceiling, or of smoky chimneys directing soot and dust upward will be limited by using the reflective power only mirrors or sterling can afford.
Fire screens are not only decorative but they make good sense. The mesh helps keep any sparks from igniting nearby materials, and, should the logs take a tumble, you’ll have a partition to keep them from traveling too near a precious area rug or onto flooring.
Some advice just recently provided by New York designer Bunny Williams for a winter issue of House Beautiful magazine is for passing on. Williams suggests that logs be cut to a uniform length, which presents both a neat woodpile and makes fuel easier to store in a nice container. In the past, I have used many different containers for wood but sturdy baskets are one of my most favorite. Pick a hearty style that can take a lot of wear and tear.
Never clean the firebox completely. I have learned my lesson. In my exuberance to clean, I vacuumed the firebox and couldn’t jumpstart the next new fire with pitch and a torch! So do you want a paper and kindling mess such as the one I had, or would you like your start-up to be easy and efficient? The only way to assure fire-starter success “the first time out” is to make sure that a small bed of ash is left behind.
Be extra careful about any upholstered furniture too near the fireplace. Expensive wing chairs and overstuffed cocoons can get cooked if you’re not wary. It would be a shame to lose your favorite haunts; heat combined with light and lack of moisture are natural enemies of fabric.
And, finally, don’t leave an ugly old, black box staring back at you. If you don’t use the fireplace often, or have no doors or beautiful object with which to contain a fire - invest in a decorative fan or a terrific wrought iron candle holder that is made just for that purpose. There are lovely selections at most major decorative outlets. I think I saw a fine example in a Lillian Vernon catalog and I’m sure Brookstone is bound to have a candle holder as well.