Christmas Craft #27- The Fireplace Mantel

As readers know, I have an ongoing love affair for fireplace mantels. This one is in our dining room/library/guest room. A portrait, tied up as a gift, looks out over fresh pine & magnolia branches, antique brass holders with red candles, old books and a pineapple. Simple but effective.

(Photo- Martha Browne)


Getting Ready

For Christmas, homeowner Annabel Lewis loves using armloads of blue pine and apple boughs from her garden. She creates eye catching arrangements over the main entrance and balustrade. Adding to the festive mood, Lewis hangs faux tassels & ribbons for the farmhouse door and stuffs giant decorated baskets with firewood.

(Photo- Paul Massey for UK Home & Garden Magazine, 2017)

Metropolitan Home Magazine, 1984

English Country decorating was front and center in the mid 1980s. Large floral patterned chintz sofas, lavish draperies and lots of tabletop collectibles were all the rage. But there were those who deviated from the trend. Enter John and Janet Jay.

A business couple working in New York City, the couple dreamed of escaping the urban life for a weekend or longer out in the country. That answer came in the shape of a derelict barn. The Jays bought the structure in upstate New York, moved it to Connecticut and began the task of crafting a home. This was to be a “…real personal space. Not a party house, not a show-off space.”  It was just for them.

They decided to create two floors. The first floor was one giant space (living, dining and kitchen) divided by a two-faced fireplace. The second floor had an open master bedroom with guest rooms and two baths accessible by a floating bridge. The Jays kept as much of the original lumber except for those places they had to patch in with weathered boards. Walls and floors were painted bright white to provide a clean backdrop for the couple’s mix of modern furniture and antiques.

(Photos- Joseph Standart)