Welcome neighbors, to winter’s snowy embrace. Here in the Hamptons we endured a fair dumping of the miraculous white stuff this past month and, despite our cold noses and low back pain, it was easy to stop in our tracks amid the quiet stillness of our gardens to wonder at the beauty and heavy calmness of a winter’s day under a glorious sky of periwinkle blue.
The nighttime scene pictured, outside a snow clad luxurious Hyatt, shows a wonderful fire pit surrounded by comfortable wicker armchairs—the perfect spot for a hot toddy. Outdoor fires connect with us on a deep level, reminding us from whence we came.
The importance of a warming fire cannot be underestimated in the design of your Hamptons home. Hearth and home are fundamental to the gatherings of family and friends. The fireplace as an essential feature in newly built homes, however, is in decline. Ironically, a fireplace remains a key selling point for home buyers, especially in the Hamptons as the nights become chilly quite quickly. My goal is to reverse that downward trend but, as I read recently that new fireplaces are regulated to have fixed glass screens, I might have a problem. Fires are great feng shui for our living spaces, though, and a home’s occupants benefit greatly from their presence.
The fireplace arrangement in the second picture draws together the Fire element colors of yellow, orange and red to create a welcoming seating area. The rattan furniture, representing Wood, supports the Fire element perfectly. This fireplace has a wooden mantelpiece with a green marble surround and hearth—elegant yet contemporary.
Another more contemporary Hamptons arrangement is shown next, with the simple, modern fireplace structure providing an excellent display area for a large, impactful work of art. The clean lines of the tile inlay are mirrored in the design and fabric of the two armchairs which, though a little austere, still look comfortable enough for the Sunday papers. The sturdy wooden legs nestle into the shag pile rug cozily and ground the furniture along with the dark slate hearth and grate. The gently lilting orange (Fire) tulips on green stems (Wood) with dark indigo centers are perfect against the dark opening of the fireplace. Logs always need to be set in place, or a fire screen, to camouflage the gaping hole. Tea lights and candles work beautifully here in the summer.
Mirrors over fireplaces usually work extremely well, as in the fourth picture, above. Above the natural wood mantel in this wood paneled room, the mirror provides depth and reflected light to enliven the entire room which could otherwise be too monotone. The small light at the right greatly enhances the whole arrangement balanced by the two white votives to the left. A most exquisite feature is the ornate metal fire guard depicting delicate leaves and birds. The design and femininity of this piece serves to lighten the more dense effect of the wood walls and flooring. Fire guards are an important fireside accessory for safety and enhancement, along with simple or ornate brass fenders surrounding the hearth.
Other options of warmth and glow from a real fire are becoming more popular. The old-fashioned standard of a wood burning stove comes in many sizes and styles these days, from chunky rustic brick and beam type models designed for country kitchens and dens, to elegant stoves at home in gracious living rooms and dining areas. Whichever type suits your home and purpose best doesn’t matter—the important thing is to bring fire, warmth and coziness into your precious home and sanctuary. Then locate the crumpets and long toasting fork and toast away happily in front of the fire, hibernating from the winter chill outside.
Helen Lind is an interior decorator, organizer and home stager working in Long Island and Manhattan. You can contact her at 516-922-3518 for a proposal or consultation, or visit her online at englishivyinteriors.com. Pictures from Period House, Period Living, The English Home, Elegant Homes, magazines and Color with Confidence.
Read the full article at DansHamptons.com.