Tuesday, February 22, 2011


marble mantel and layerd mirros
Michael Bruno's Paris apartment

I grew up in a house with five fireplaces.  While we rarely used more than the largest one in our family room throughout the farily mild Virgnia winters, it has become tradition at Christmas to have fires burning in all four of the fireplaces on the first floor.  After the presents are opened over two pots of coffee and slices of my sister's homemade gingerbread, we prepare for our mid-day, three course Christmas meal.  Our family changes out of pajamas and assumes our posts:  mom and sister in the kitchen, dad bringing in firewood by the armload, and I take to tidying up the gift-giving aftermath.  I'm the OCD organizer in the family and my inability to leave messy spaces drives me to consolidating and compartmentaling boxes and bags into perfect piles by the places each of us sat.  A few hours later, the house filed with mouth watering aromas and fires crackling in the kichen, living room, and dining room, we sit down to feast.  The warmth and coziness of the fires in my parents country house is a comfort I want to bring to my first home.
English country great room

One of the best features of our apartment in Charlottesville is a wood burning fireplace and lucky for me, my husband loves to make fires.  Here is our collection of oversized matches (perfect for lighting our Orvis fatwood and really getting the fire going.)  We keep left over Wall Street Journals and large matches by the hearth.

When my husband and I sat down to make our must-haves and our would-like-to-haves for our first home, working fireplace is high on our wish list.  Most of the homes we've seen built anytime before 1940 have beautiful fireplaces in the living rooms and we immediately ask our agent if it is a working, wood burning fireplace. More often than not the answer is in the affirmative.  In our first home I'd like the fireplace to be the focal point of the living room (not the tv!).  This can be accomplished by the way we paint (contrasting colors of black and white or dark grey and white are always a sure way to draw the eye) and by placing a statement mirror above the fireplace's mantle.  I have a gorgeous French antique mirror currently being stored in my parents' attic because of its size.  I cannot wait to debut it in our first house.  Depending on the size of the mantle, it can be another palate just waiting for decoration.  A statement mirror, perhaps some silver candlesicks balanced by an urn in a bold color.  But no matter what I decide to place on the mantle, I will let the fireplace truly light up the space.

farmhouse fireplace
(Avery Design Interiors)

dark wood floors and bright white fireplace
plush purple sofa and a cozy fire, perfect apres ski spot
(Elle Decor)

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