Nov 212013

Winner of Fifth Avenue Style by Howard Slatkin is Lisa McMillen.  Lisa please email me your mailing address.  You are going to love this book, congratulations.

The focus for this post is on antique and stone fireplaces as our inspiration.  Decorative artists and today’s wonderful faux products make it possible to get the look without the price tag of the real thing.






Tartaruga - Love the simplicity and the wonderful cartouche.




Daryl Carter


This is so fabulous.


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2. Manolo-Blahnik-at-home



Totally over the top, Villa Stibbert, Florence

Villa Stibbert Dining Room




 November 21, 2013  Posted by at 12:33 pm Fireplaces, Interior Design Tagged with: , ,  3 Responses »
Nov 192013

Even though we are having 60 degree temperatures, fireplace weather is just around the corner.  I have an amazing collection of great fireplaces.  Too many for one blog post.  Whatever the season a fireplace is a focal point for the room and all of these images have outstanding fireplaces.  Whatever your decor I am sure you will find plenty of inspiration.

This one is very unusual with the over mantle built out the same depth as the fireplace.  Love the cornice on the top.


For a less formal fireplace this design has interesting proportions.


Decorators Supply has a wonderful fireplace piece very similar to this.

#27092 Flemish Plaster Shield 35-1/2″ x 12-5/8″ $223.37


Simple panel above a gorgeous fireplace.  Effective use of wall color with the furnishings.



The mirror, fireplace screen and candelabras really make this fireplace stunning.




The Fireplace and Mirror combination offers endless possibilities.



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Paris Apartment Thomas Pheasant


Maurice Fatio

If you have a plain fireplace, adding swags is a great addition.


This is a fireplace and cabinet makeover we did using composition ornament.


More swags.




I love the fireplace but the over mantle treatment doesn’t work for me.



8. bill blass new preston ct

7. champeau and wilde paris

3. studio ko paris

Lonny Hotel

2. lonny hotel du marc france

Champagne and Wilde, Paris

2. champeau and wilde paris elle decor


Benjamin Dhong

Living Room



In my next post I will continue great fireplace inspirations Part 2 with stone and antiques that have some great ideas for adding ornament and faux finishes to existing fireplaces.  In the meantime, Thursday, November 21st is the last day to qualify for my book giveaway of Howard Slatkin’s wonderful Fifth Avenue Style.  Here is a link to comment and like it.












 November 19, 2013  Posted by at 7:37 am Fireplaces, Interior Design Tagged with:  7 Responses »
Apr 042013

Since including white marble and stone in our predictions for 2013 I began collecting images of both.  Without going out looking for examples this is what has come my way so far.

White Marble



Feb 202013

Not sure I agree with this list, but here it is with pictures for your enjoyment.

  1. Catherine Palace, Russia
  2. Sleeper-McCann House, Massachusetts, US
  3. Castle Howard, York
  4. Powerscourt, Ireland
  5. Marble Palace Mansion, Kolkata, India
  6. Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, Malaysia
  7. Werribee Mansion, Australia
  8. Villa d’Este, Italy
  9. Falling Water, PA
  10. Chateau de Chambord, France

Catherine Palace

At the top of my list as well.

Exquisite floor, ceiling, walls and doors.

The amazing Amber Room.  In a class all by itself.

Love this wall of individual panels for the artwork.

Sleeper-McCann House

I disagree with this choice.  Not in my top 10.


Castle Howard









Marble Palace Mansion

Because this is a private residence no photography is permitted.

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Jul 122012

This month’s issue of Architectural Digest announced the September 7 opening of “Doris Duke’s Shangri La” traveling exhibition at the Manhattan Museum of Arts and Design.

Shangri La interiors are a hybrid of Islamic tradition and 20th Century modernism. In 18th and 19th Century Syrian homes, internal spaces were privileged rather than exterior facades. The homes often featured rooms where were arranged around an interior courtyard (just like Shangri La). Room interiors were treated with a great deal of attention. This historic interior was purchased in Lebanon in 1954.
The Damascus Room

Bill Willis Interior Design for Yves Saint Laurent

Architect and Decorator Bill Willis spent four decades redefining high-end Islamic architecture and Eastern design elements.  I love everything about Orientalist design.  All the craftsmanship, color, shapes and textures.  The room itself is a work of art with beautiful designs on the walls, ceiling and floor.

Love the Lantern and inlaid furniture.

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May 082012

Inspiration images for adding something fabulous that grabs your attention as soon as you enter the space.

A fireplace always commands focal point status. From the sublime to understated elegance, take advantage of this room feature.

Love the simplicity of this fireplace with a gemstone cabochon.

This is too fabulous. With something this grand you wouldn’t need anything else.

Interesting art and artifacts. When it comes to birds peacocks are at the top for decorative.

Bold Art

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 May 8, 2012  Posted by at 2:46 pm Fireplaces, Interior Design, Wall Treatments No Responses »
May 012012

Decorators Supply was originally founded as a carving and gilding company in 1883. The World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 provided the catalyst for their early growth and prosperity.

Over the next two to three decades, Decorators Supply employed dozens of European artisans who hand carved the beautiful designs that they sell today. The original carvings are preserved in their vaults to make the exact mold impressions used to produce their “compo” ornaments today.

Composition ornament originated with the Italians during the 1500′s. By the mid 1700′s the formulation and techniques of compo had spread to workshops in England and France and from there found their way to North America by European artisans immigrating to the New World. Few modern carvers can match the beauty and detail found in the composition ornaments that they hand produce from their “exact impression” molds and none can match the value.

horizontal design

Horizontal Design 17″W x 7-3/4″H   $58.31

Here are some beautiful examples of their composition ornament installed.  Love this trumeau mirror.

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Sep 142011

The credit for this classical design goes to my husband and partner in Beaux-Artes, Stuart, or Art (as in Beaux-Artes), who designed and built this handsome built-in. It all began with finding the Griffin at a roadside garden statuary place on a return trip from Buffalo.

We fell in love with him, but they only had one. So, Art made a mold and cast him in cement.  He then made the base and top followed by the mantle and a great fireplace began to take shape.











I asked Art to fill in some details.

Art:    I have always thought that a big decorative fireplace “makes the room”.  In the case of our family room, the fireplace was designed and built before there were flat screen TV’s.  The TV placement was always in an awkward location, either to the right or left of the fireplace on a cabinet.  When we finally got a flat screen TV we put it on the fireplace mantle.  It looked terrible with wires and cables everywhere.  The sound system with tape deck, VCR and CD player was to the right on a cabinet.  In short, the electronics made the fireplace mantle look messy.  I knew the solution, recess the TV into the wall, and consolidate the audio visual equipment to a minimum.  I tossed the VCR, DVD player and 5 CD changer, in favor of an iPod, a home theater sound system and DVD/CD player, a satellite receiver with DVR and of course the flat screen TV.

To recess the flat screen TV, I measured the equipment and designed a box to fit everything.  Then I cut out the drywall, cut away a few 2×4 studs.  The box fit neatly into the hole in the drywall.  Then I covered the seams between the drywall and the box with some nice chair rail type molding.

Next, I turned my attention to the areas to the left and right of the fireplace.  For balance I designed equal sized built-in cabinets with shelves above.  I have always loved thick shelves with a big piece of molding on the front.  They can hold oversized books regardless of the weight.  The cabinets are basic, but I made flat panel doors and then added some bolection type molding to the front of the doors.

Thanks Art.

 He also cast the antique corbels we had acquired many years ago so that we had enough for the family room and kitchen.  I love their simple lines.  Not too overdone as many corbels can be.

The composition ornament we used on the blocks and over mantle are from Decorators Supply.










For the cabinet doors he used compo rosettes for the blocks and a molding which complimented the fluted trim he used on the fireplace.












Another detail we love are Beaux-Artes decorative trims for recessed lights. We chose the Tuscany style which looks great with our architectural details.

There aren’t a lot of traditional ceiling fans to choose from. This one from Horchow has fairly nice details. The light kit makes it.

Like the ceiling but it needs some decorative painting. Add that to my to do list.
The last classical detail, we chose Beaux-Artes’ Venetian Rope decorative grille in the stone finish.

 September 14, 2011  Posted by at 4:31 pm Fireplaces, Interior Design 3 Responses »
May 232011

The fireplace is always the focal point for the room.  It’s impact is huge.  So why not make a statement with it.  It has great potential.  I particularly like when the fireplace is combined with the wall above (over mantle).  It adds height and sets the tone for the room.  Tartaruga has the most fabulous collection of stone fireplaces with over mantels.


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 May 23, 2011  Posted by at 4:22 pm Fireplaces, Interior Design 3 Responses »
Dec 082010

The fireplace is a natural focal point for the room and as such it alone can make your room fabulous.  In a Classical room with panels it determines the layout of the panels and the design of the overmantle.  The use of an overmantle calls attention to the height by visually connecting the ceiling and floor, particularly if it includes a mirror.  This works extremely well in today’s Great Rooms with two-story walls.   

Fireplace Before Makeover

Two-Story Great Room Fireplace before our makeover

 In this example, the client asked us to redesign their standard fireplace to compliment the mirror they purchased.  

Fireplace After

Fireplace After

 We painted a faux marble around the hearth opening and mantle duplicating the marble in front of the hearth.  We painted  the finish on the mirror on the fireplace and added composition Ornament from Decorators Supply in the same gold as the mirror.  Our very special touch was a faceted quartz cabochon to the central feature of the ornament.  

Fireplace Closeup

Composition ornament with Quartz Crystal in the center.

Fireplace After  

Fireplace Before

Fireplace Before

The client wanted a new design for the overmantle and to change the finish on the fireplace and attached built-in to compliment their furnishings.  

Fireplace After

Fireplace After

We designed a beautiful overmantle using an antiqued mirror built into a classical panel design incorporating a combination of our French Renaissance corner ornaments with a handsome focal point ornament and narrow side panels with coordinated ornament.  To antique the mirror we used Antique Mirror Patina Solution.  We chose a neutral color for the finish to create an elegant palette with an aging glaze and subtle pale gold highlights.  

Fireplace Before

Fireplace Before

The client wanted us to add ornamentation to the fireplace and built-in cabinet transforming it from ordinary to extraordinary without changing the color.  

Fireplace After

Fireplace After

We chose appropriate ornament based on the function of the room and the architecture of the home.  The ornament on the top of the cabinet is a plaster piece from Decorators Supply.  The ornament used on the cabinet doors and fireplace was all composition ornament from Decorators Supply as well.Fireplace After Closeup  

Fireplace AfterWe also added ornamentation to embellish this fireplace.  Notice we found the same ornament that is on the andirons.  

Fireplace After  

Fireplace Closeup of Cabachon  

We love using cabochons with ornamentation to compliment the stone used with the fireplace.  In this case the granite was accented.

 December 8, 2010  Posted by at 10:33 am Fireplaces 1 Response »