WINTER BY THE SEA This is another of the five fireplaces in Clineff’s home. Floral designer Sandra Sigman noted remnants of blue paint on the original paneling and built a coastal vignette on a bright-blue mantel recently added. She layered seashells, bleached fern, seeded eucalyptus, chamaecyparis, and smilax. She placed a globe thistle wreath above: “There’s so much here, we didn’t need a bow.”
In vintage houses, especially, the mantel begs to be adorned with something festive and creative. Professional holiday decorators find inspiration in the room. No need to start from scratch; it is valid to incorporate elements that sit upon the mantelshelf all year—in fact, they give continuity to the festivities and keep it personal. Then, playoff hues and motifs in the wallpaper or rugs. If the room is already “busy” with pattern, focus on greenery only, or on a single minimalist theme. On the other hand, if the room is subdued in quiet colors, take the opportunity to add a pop of red, blue, gold, or silver. For bling, vintage ornaments shine, as do objects in silver and brass.
You’re not restricted to decorating only the shelf. Roping, garlands, beadwork, and strung cranberries may be swagged. If balance requires adding height, include a wreath, a platter, tall topiaries, or candlesticks with tapers. Other than incorporating nature, few rules apply. Even in a sparely decorated home, this time of year calls for a moment of exuberance.
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Any of these would be a welcome gift for an old-house friend or for an artful home . . . including your own.
Simple Craftsman Roots Revived
A “clean but sterile” 1914 kitchen is treated to bungalow-era design.
Changing energy markets and evolving technology make it possible to heat, cool, and ventilate homes of any age with (mostly) clean, all-electric power—and less of it. Heating home water, formerly an energy hog, is turning into an energy sipper, too.
The Rescue of Portland's FIREHOUSE 17
IN WHAT BECAME THE PROJECT OF A LIFETIME, THE REHABILITATION OF A 1912 FIREHOUSE IS ADAPTIVE REUSE WITH HEART AND SOUL. DECOMMISSIONED IN 1968, ALLOWED TO DETERIORATE AND LATER REMODELED, THE OLD FIREHOUSE HAD BEEN BUILT DURING THE DAYS OF HORSE-DRAWN ENGINES. THE PROJECT WAS SPEARHEADED BY RESTORAT ION CONSULTANT KARLA PEARLSTEIN, IN PORTLAND, OREGON. SHE NOW CALLS THE FIREHOUSE HOME.
Caring for Silverplate
Whether the design is Rococo, Aesthetic, or Art Deco, silverplate is collectible—and needs care.
MANTELS in a Holiday Mood
Pretty things from nature are always in style.
An eternal motif for objects around the house.
A Surprisingly Authentic Bath
The replicated, late-Victorian master bathroom is in an 1892 brick manse in St. Louis, Missouri.
A HOME FULL OF CHARACTER
Smaller homes like this 1920s Dutch Colonial so often get overlooked as worthy of restoration. Owners don’t think they’re special . . . or they add on or remodel until the original is unrecognizable. This owner saw the potential.
A Furnished Bath
This elegant bathroom has fixture panels fabricated from parts of a Victorian armoire.