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Thursday
Mar132008

Fireplace Mantles Part IV



This mantle is from the Oval Office. I think it is very well done. What makes it work, that is different from the Cabinet Room and the Green Room? The portrait of George Washington, hung above the fireplace, is a good size and proportion for both the fireplace and the wall. It is not hung too high or framed too small. The greenery overlaps the portrait just enough to have it all tie together. The office was re-decorated when the Bushes came into office- the Presidnet delegated the responsibility to his wife- Good job Laura!

Thanks again to Architectual Digest for the photo!

Thursday
Mar132008

Fireplace Mantles Part III


I think what people sometimes struggle with, is having balance with fireplace mantle, and balance with the wall at the same time. This was probably the thinking that went on when poor Benjamin Franklin was hung too high (see part II). That is, no doubt, a very large room. My advice? When the item is hung over a fireplace mantle, the most important relationship to keep in proportion is that between said item and the mantle itself. By this I do not mean to disregaurd the proportion of the wall- but it is of secondary importance, and in many insances, can be treated separatly. See this picture, for instnace (I wish I could tell you where I found it, but I am afraid I clipped it from a magazine forever ago, and could not tell from where). This is a very good example- for several reasons:
1. The mirror is a good size and proportion to the fireplace. The fireplace is not large, and a heavily framed mirror, even if the overall dimensions were the same, would probably have come off feeling "top heavy". The wall is large though, so it is good to have the mirror as large as will look good.
2. The flower overlaps the mirror a bit. This may seem like a small thing, but it is not. It ties the look together, rather than keeping the items separate and detatched. It makes a huge difference. This is not a hard and fast rule; there are exceptions, but oftentimes it is the best way to do it.
3. The sconces, added to either side of the mantle, are a terrific move. These not only add light and ambiance, but their presence adds visual weight to the wall. This helps the wall decor have a relationship with not only the fireplace, but the wall itself. This same look can be achieved with candle sconces, wall shelves, or wrought iron decorative pieces. This would have been a good move in the Green Room. :) Can you just see the portraint hung lower, and sconces added to the wall? That is what I will change when I get the White House job next time. :)
- P.S. One thing to keep in mind when hanging a mirror above a fireplace, is checking to see what it reflects. Is it art from the other side of the room- great! Is it a ceiling fan or a dirty kitchen? If that's the case- go for one of those "antiqued" mirrors where you can't actually see the reflection very well- or skip the mirror idea altogether.

Thursday
Mar132008

Fireplace Mantles Part II


The Green Room (again from the White House) has a 1767 portrait of Benjamin Franklin above the fireplace. Don't you think we owe it to this great man, one of the FOUNDING FATHERS of our country, the inventor of the lightning rod, bifocals, and the odometer, the man who started the first lending library, and the first fire department, do we not owe it to him to not hang his portrait too high? I think it is the least we can do! :)
My thanks again to Architectural Digest for the photo.

Thursday
Mar132008

Fireplace Mantles Part I


Everyone has a fireplace mantle to decorate. This post is for those of you- and hopefully you know who you are- who need a little help with yours. Let me start by going over some common but not so obvious mistakes people make.

1. Do not hang your art (or clock- or whatever you are hanging over your fireplace) too high. It's hard to get it too low. In fact- it can lean on the mantle in many cases. This example, from the cabinet room in the White House, is hung too high. (yes- I am using the White House as a poor example - that does not make me unpatriotic!)

2. There is more than one correct way to put accessories on your mantle- in this case- (the cabinet room again)- I would say that the urns are too small. They would look better a bit larger and overlapping the picture a bit. When the accessories overlap- it brings everything together, as one cohesive display, rater than four separate distinct items, as seen here.

3. Don't select art for the wall above the mantle that is too small. This is VERY common, and again, the case here in the Cabinet Room. I am sure that this picture has great importance- but it can be framed larger if that is the case. Probably the most common reason (for the public in general- not the White House) for this is the larger the item- the larger the price- but hey- save up and do it right :) The art should have a relationship in size with the fireplace.

Picture this area with a larger frame (much larger)- the urns- (larger also)- or if they are of some great sentimental importance (given to the presidnet at the signing of a peace treaty or something)- they could be put on beautiful wood boxes or lovely books, or something to give them more height. Then- have the picture hung lower- I would say only 4-6 inches above the mantle.

Shoking that I wasn't consulted on this job, huh? Thanks to Architectual Digest for the photo :)

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