Question: I am so glad you just discussed fireplaces because maybe you'll have some ideas for my question - which is basically the exact opposite: How do you decorate a living room without the fireplace as the focal point? I need some sort of focal point, but I don't want it to be the television. How have you handled this for clients?
Phoebe's Answer: Rooms don't necessarily need a focal point,
but will benefit from one - A view out a large window, a profound piece of
furniture or artwork. What room needs is spatial harmony and
rhythm. Rooms are an opportunity to create something. While an
extraordinary mantle or a great window can be stunning points of
interest, there are far more rooms with no features at all. In
those cases we try to arrange furniture in interesting ways to draw the
eye in and help you in overlooking those missing features. Rooms are
rarely bi-axial which is a symmetrical arrangement that can be quite
lovely. A decorator usually immediately sees the obvious solutions, but a
little cerebral effort can help re-imagine the way a room might feel. If the sofa has always been on the big wall, try floating it in
the middle of the room or perhaps angling it in a corner. If the room has
always been a living room, maybe it can be multi-functional by adding a few
etageres loaded with books which add enormous visual
interest, etc. Here are some of our living rooms with various focal points:
an antique secretary is the focal point in this room
The windows at the end of this room are the focal point, as well as the bookcases on the opposite wall (below)
This credenza has a lovely piece of art above it.
An armoire is the focal point in this living room.
Here, a collection of prints above the settee.
The artwork above the sofa is large but calming and simple - just the way the homeowners wanted this room to feel.
Art on an easel behind the sofa makes a corner something to really look at.
The big, beautiful window in this living room was an obvious choice.
Here is the porch for our client in Bermuda. The doors from the living room fold back completely to open up on to the porch. They client wanted plenty of comfortable seating (there is more you cannot see in this photo) as they have family that visits a lot and they spend much of their time out there. With mild winters, a firepit is a great addition. And what a view!
We have some beautiful new watercolors in our Jacksonville Beach store. We love using them in large groups, or even individually in small spaces. For more information, pricing or to order, please contact Mrs. Howard in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.
Mrs. Howard Jacksonville Beach, FL 2400 Third Street South Suite #304 Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250 904-241-1980 email@example.com
Question: What is your preferred material for fireplace surrounds?
Phoebe's Answer: We love mantles - Jim and I often buy antique mantles when abroad, and we also design mantles for clients. The type of mantle dictates whether you need a surround. If the mantle is wood, you have to have a stone surround for fire safety. If the mantle itself is stone, you can skip the surround, which we sometimes do. The other time the surround material is not important is if you are designing a non-working fireplace. Often, but not always, we design surrounds to be eight inches on the top and on each side. For the actual surround material, we like to use slate, marble or another kind of solid colored stone. Every once in a while, we use brick, too. Here are some examples: