Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Countdown – Day 5

Marvelous Mantels!

At the holidays, one of the architectural features, of which we tend to turn our decorating attention, is the fireplace mantel or chimneypiece.  Due to today’s building codes and the creation of well-vented, gas burning logs, the mantel, (if used at all), has become more of an aesthetic architectural addition, as opposed to its original function.  In medieval times, they were created as a hood piece, which went over the grate, to prevent smoke from pouring into a room.  Up to around the twelfth century, rooms were heated by a fire placed in the middle of the room, under the flooring area, called a hypocaust.  (Think of a complex, ancient version of a heated tile floor.)

History lesson aside . . . let’s look at some marvelous, holiday mantel embellishments!

ss_BHROOM_B-59 Dwarf Alberta Spruce,a mixture of greens and berries, along with sugared pomegranates make for a fabulous mantel line-up!  (Courtesy, Better Homes and Gardens)  PS – I sure would be happy to receive this mantel from Santa!  Think it would fit in his sleigh?

Christopher Hyland, a NYC interior designer, and creator of a couture home-furnishings line, showcases blue and white antique porcelain on a stately mantel from Chesney’s.

IMG_20101130_164858I recently helped a client get her home ready for holiday entertaining.  We had an extra garland so it was brought to the master bedroom where some French-wired ribbon and metallic ornaments added a twinkle of light.   A very romantic touch, don’t you think?  (Interior Concepts by Wanda, Arcadia Custom Homes)

topiaryNO08 A stand of tin trees dance across the mantel where a pair of topiaries rise up to greet them.  When bookcases are flanking a fireplace, it works well to carry the decorations over to them, as well.  The focal point becomes broadened.  (Courtesy of Canadian House and Home.)

vintage-stockings-de A mantel doesn’t always have to be over a fireplace.  In this dining room, the wall shelf provides for garland and vintage stockings to be paired with the homeowner’s collections.  Brilliant!  (Courtesy of Country Living)


A piano also becomes a lovely substitute for a fireplace.  The verdant green and a peak of turquoise aren’t too shabby for a chic display!

Mantel, mantel on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?  I would love to hear how you decorate your mantel for the holidays!  Thanks for leaving a note!

21 Days and Counting! ~ All my best! ~ Wanda


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