Monday, June 9, 2008


After the cold and darker days of Winter....after the last blazing fire of the year....after the embers have cooled and the ashes have been cleaned out during Spring Cleaning, it's time to figure out what to do with that empty space where the firewood used to be. you just put some new wood in and call it a day? Or do you get more creative? It seems that many are "scaping" their fireplaces these days.

House Beautiful, July 2004, Photo by Charles Maraia, Home of Chris Madden

It used to be that a fern in the fireplace was the expected solution during the warmer seasons. But you would be hard pressed to see a fern in a fireplace these days. The options are only limited by one's imagination. I have collected a few photos that caught my attention.

Domino, December/January 2008, Photo by Annie Schlechter

The style team at Domino got creative using wallpaper to line a non-working fireplace, then added some fuchsia painted logs. The wallpaper is "Summer Palace" by Osborne & Little. Andirons by Lyle and Umbach, who are kinda known for cool andirons btw.

House Beautiful, June 2008, Photo by Eric Piasecki

Christopher Maya used art to enhance this fireplace. The vibrant colors of the Picasso above the mantle are balanced beautifully by the metal shield sculptures in the fireplace.

Elle Decor, May 2008, Photo by William Abranowicz

Art collector Beth Rudin DeWoody collaborated with her designer friends Randall Beale and Carl Lana of Beale-Lana Interior Design to create this fantastically artful display with the tortoise shell front and center.

Elle Decor, March 2007, Photo by Simon Upton

I love this stark white castle against the black interior of this fireplace. Simple and very striking. It is small wonder I discovered that this house was also put together by Beth Rudin DeWoody (socialite, philanthropist, and real estate executive). A woman after my own heart. A collector of art and and anything else that suits her fancy. This house is her Southampton retreat, and this single photo is far from doing the whole article justice. So please do check out both stories (this in the Elle Decor March 2007 issue) to get a picture of this very interesting woman.

House & Garden, May 2007, Photo by Pascal Chevallier

Perhaps a set of extremely cool andirons is all you really need. Children's wear designer Cordelia De Castellane put this pair to great use in the fireplace of her Paris apartment. Sorry, no source information on these, but do check out Lyle and Umbach.

House and Garden April 2007, Photo by Jeff Riedel

This one I love because it so perfectly captures the personality of it's owner, Douglas Little. Mr. Little has a fascinating past, and his present is no less so. In 2003 he launched D.L. & Co.: Modern Alchemists and Purveyors of Curious Goods. To find out more about this eccentric and his candles scented with poisonous plants, check out his website here. But back to this fireplace: the red coral hints at flames licking the backs of these black owl andirons. Wicked fabulous!

AD, April 2008, Photo by Tim Street-Porter

Jewelry designer John Hardy simply places a huge piece of rock crystal in front of a beautiful metal fireplace screen. It also is reminiscent of flames as it catches the flickering light. Very effective in it's simplicity.

Domino, June/July, 2008, Photo by Paul Costello

And, yes, there has been much buzz about Katie Lee Joel's apartment in the June/July issue of Domino. But what hasn't really been discussed much is that Nate Berkus is behind the design here. From the article, I am not sure how much is Nate and how much is Katie, but for the sake of argument, let's assume this fireplace "scape" is Nate's brainchild. It does have his look about it with the tailored crisp black and concrete color palette. Again, I love the simplicity here. Each element is the stronger for it. The concrete garden urns, though perhaps not inspired on their own, are certainly beautiful in combination with the glass domes and olive branches creating a very pleasing whole.

So, you might be wondering where the photo at the beginning of this post came from? Well....maybe not, but in case you were, it is my own living room where I got really creative with a can of white spray paint and some fake concrete logs that I got for free at a garage sale. Although perhaps not as wildly creative as some of the photos above, I like 'em. They are sort of my own DIY version of the KleinReid Porcelain firewood, which you can read more about here on Apartment Therapy.



maison21 said...

your solution is brilliant! i love those klein-reid logs but the thought of spending 400.00 on something white to stick inside a sooty fireplace has always kind of bothered me.

i have a chinese screen in front of my own fireplace, because i'm too lazy to clean out the ashes and too guilty to ask the cleaning lady to do it for me, so i just hide it. but you can bet i'll be stealing your idea for a client (or two).

your living room is lovely, btw- cheerful and casually elegant. good job all around!

bill said...

I'm having this problem now so I'm excited to see what everyone's doing! I threw in a bunch of birch logs but I'm not thrilled with the look. I did have a fern but it wasn't getting enough light. Yours looks great!!

brookegfunk said...

I have to say I just found your blahg after googlin' Tony Duquette and I LOVE it! You have a lovely fireplace scape and amazing taste! I just got through checkin' out Katie Lee Joels pad in my Domino and it was cool but kinda uninspiring-oh well I look forward to future posts!

Topsy Turvy said...

Love your living room, and your fireplace idea!
Sometimes I just have logs stacked in mine, but right now, I have a bunch of branches with twisty shapes placed in there. They are interesting looking but don't show up well. Maybe I should borrow from you and paint them white ...


Style Court said...

Katie --

Hats off on the original post. So many thought provoking ideas here! I like Domino's take -- at least for a cool photo -- but I have to say your idea is pretty great :) Looks perfect in your home.

chriskauf said...

I hope you don't mind but I posted a photo of your porch , I linked back to you , if you mind please let me know I will remove it .

Mrs. Blandings said...

Katie - I love the urns! My non-working bedroom fireplace remains empty, know why? It's often a soccer goal. Someday.

Easy and Elegant Life said...

We have a bunch of nonworking fireplaces here in the 101 year old manse. They used to have "summer doors" (like John Hardy's above), but they were sold for scrap or melted down during a scrap metal drive during the war years. Now, like m21, we use Chinese screens to hide things.

My Notting Hill said...

Great post - love the red coral and the wallpapered fireplace. You've inspired me to do something with mine.

Marissa said...

love the post andlove your room.

Pigtown-Design said...

Great room, Katie! So cheerful.

katiedid said...

Hi M21! I love a beautiful firescreen, and I bet yours is wonderful. I think the only thing that saves me from an ash-y fireplace is that we can't use ours until we have it repaired.

But I want to find out the best way to paint the interior black without first having to scrub all of the old soot off first. Anyone have any info on this?

katiedid said...

Thank you all for all of the kind comments...I am blushing!

Topsy, I love the idea of twisty branches. I was searchin everywhere for a fireplace a remember that had alot of twisty antlers in it, but couldn't find it.

Mrs. B- And what else would one use an empty fireplace for? This is so funny. I have a perfect mental picture.

katiedid said...

Chriskauf...Please! post away! I am very flattered and thank you for the link.

Pigtown-Design said...

Katie! How could I have forgotten about the fireplace in my office! Beautiful white marble fireplace surround, black brick insides. I put a big cream-coloured urn with loads of dried hydrangea in it. It makes it look not so much like a huge gaping maw.

Congrats on being in the Washington Post's blogwatch today!

coco+kelley said...

what a completely creative little post! it's the strangest thing here in LA - so many apartments have fireplaces, and we use them maybe two months out of the year? it's much more fun to do something like this! a wonderful collection of images. well done! :)

Melissa @ The Inspired Room said...

Great job, Katie! Love all the solutions!!!

Happy day!

Anonymous said...

I have a stove insert now, but in a previous house in the San Francisco Bay Area, I kept my worm bin in the fire place. I never did decorate it before I sold the house, but behind the screen, it wasn't that noticeable.

katiedid said...

Hi Meg! I remember your fireplace and I love it!

Thanks Coco! I remember growing up in Pasadena and using our fireplace at Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was kind of a "treat". :)

Thanks Melissa!

And to Anon...what is a "worm bin" and what was it doing in your fireplace?

Anonymous said...

Too bad about the generic Warhol print--everyone has seen it a thousand times. What about an original painting, or a print that isn't so common?

katiedid said...

Why hello anon!
It's always a pleasure. You may have seen this image a thousand times, but let me assure you, it is no "print". It is a signed and numbered screening. In other words, an "original", handed down to me by my mother who purchased it in the day. And while it may not be one of the million dollar one-of-a-kinds (different size), it is certainly not a poster. My mother happened to be the curator for both Ace and Cocoran Galleries in LA and Hills Gallery in Santa Fe and was lucky enough to acquire quite a few pieces from various artists from the 60's before they were out of sight price-wise: Larry Bell (I also have a small piece from him), Lichtenstein, and others. So, although I realize this image is seen alot,it has alot of meaning for me because I grew up with it and another companion piece. I will always like it. Oh! I promise to post the companion sometime just for you.

maison21 said...

ha! so take that, anon!

i'm pretty jealous here, katie- i've literally had a fantasy about owning a warhol since i was a kid. lucky you!

katiedid said...

Hi Maison 21!
I always love a visit from you! :)

mandco said...

Brilliant post! Love the pictures! Such an inspiration :-)

Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates said...

I stopped by from the Inspired Room; glad I did!

Wow! Very creative ideas - hadn't ever thought of all the possibilities. Actually, I do like your fireplace the best, though!

katiedid said...

M&Co Thanks so much!

And Lisa- chocolate is one of my very favorite things. So glad you stopped in! Thank you for your sweet words....always a treat. :)

Courtney said...

Hello there! I came by from The Inspired Room as well, and I'm loving your blog. I, too, have to admit I like your room the best. It's awesome! (I just loved reading your response to Anon!) I'm adding you to my blogroll. :-)

Cote de Texas said...

i must have missed this - your fireplace is gorgeous! gosh- you are soooo talented girl!!!!! ok' I'm surfing your blog looking for more photos of your house - I love your accessorizing ability - Ive told you that before, but I'll tell you that again!!!
love it!!


Linda/"Mom" said...

* Katie~ The first space showing just a "peak" of your home is SOOOO CHARMING~~~ might we see MORE, please??? (Prettty please, w/ chocolate on top?)~

I liked Chris Madden's pic too~ it's my second fave here. It's always so interesting to see n' hear how we all have our own tastes~~~ I just couldn't really "identify" w/ the rest of the photos, and others can, which makes me look TWICE to see what I've overlooked~ and that makes it even MORE fun & MORE interesting!!!

I appreciated reading your very gracious response to "Anon" ~~~ you showed GREAT STYLE, GRACE & RESTRAINT, just as in your charming design & decorating tastes!!! KUDOS, kiddo!!!

Linda in AZ *