Because the fireplace always loves to be the center of attention, the way its mantel is decorated can have a dramatic impact on a room. The perfect perch for displaying everything from art to flowers to a personal collection of objects, the mantel can say a lot about a room's intended style - minimalist or maximalist, contemporary or classic - in addition to highlighting the interests and experiences of the homeowners.
In a London home, the living room's custom sofa is upholstered in a Bruno Triplet silk, a midcentury chair from Blackman Cruz is covered in an Etro fabric, the cast-terrazzo stools are by Maddux Creative, the mirror is by Marianna Kennedy, and the paintings flanking it are by Peter Lanyon.
In a 19th-century home, the dining room's pine trestle table is from Belgium, the settee and bench are from Finch, and the deconstructed English Regency wing chair is from Lee Stanton Antiques; the walls are painted in Benjamin Moore's White Dove and the mantel in Onyx.
In a London townhouse the custom chairs in the living room are covered in a Dedar wool, the cocktail table and wool-and-silk rug are custom designs, and the circa-1950 consoles are Italian; the side table is by Piero Fornasetti, and the wall sculptures above the mantel are by C.
In this English country estate, the kitchen island is by Plain English, the mahogany table is Victorian, the curtains are of a Bennison Fabrics stripe, and the walls are painted in Tablecloth by Paint & Paper Library; the 2015 artwork above the mantel is by Fred Ingrams.
In the living room of Patrick Printy and Dan Holland’s Arts and Crafts bungalow in Oakland, California, the custom sofa is covered in a linen by Peter Dunham Textiles, a pair of vintage John Stuart Clingman chairs is upholstered in a Ralph Lauren Home tartan, the bust on the custom cocktail table is by Oly and the rug is from Iran. The fireplace, repainted a high-gloss black, the bookcases and the oak flooring are all original to the house and the walls are painted in Benjamin Moore’s Smoke Embers.
In the living room of designer Ernest de la Torre and Kris Haberman’s home in Snedens Landing, New York, the custom sofa is upholstered in a Toyine Sellers fabric, the 19th-century Belgian cabinet was found at an auction in London, the bronze pendant light is by Hervé Van der Straeten and the Georgian fireplace is attributed to Robert Adam. The walls are coated in waxed plaster, the flooring is Indian sandstone, the silk rug is by Fort Street Studio and the painting over the mantel is by Ross Bleckner.
In a Long Island farmhouse, the kitchen’s marble sink has fittings by Sonoma Forge, the cabinetry is painted in Benjamin Moore’s Hearthstone, and a collection of 1930s Bea Evan paintings found in Europe are in new frames by Bark Frameworks.
In John Robshaw's Connecticut home, the living room sofa and its fabric are by John Robshaw for Duralee; the armchair, custom banquettes, and bone-inlay side table are all Robshaw designs, the cocktail table is from India, the table lamps are by Christopher Spitzmiller, and the dhurrie is a custom design; an Elliott Puckette artwork sits on the mantel, which is painted in Yukon Sky by Benjamin Moore, and the large painting of a perfume bottle is by Doug Wada.
In the the bedroom of one of two apartments that artist and designer Christian Astuguevieille maintains in Bayonne, France, the cedar bed, knotted-rope furniture, and sculptures are by Astuguevieille.
In an Ibiza retreat, local-limestone floors covered in custom Spanish esparto rugs from Antonia Molina, walls in a sandy lime plaster, and a wood-beam ceiling set a rustic tone in the living room. Custom sofas are by Atelier Tapissier Seigneur and curtains are made of a quilted Braquenié fabric; the Oeil cocktail table by Pierre Chapo is vintage, the lacquered-coral sculpture is by Maurizio Epifani, and the painting over the mantel is by Alex Katz.
The original marble mantel in the living room was specified by Maison Jansen, which decorated this Buenos Aires apartment in the 1930s. The circa-1940 chairs in the foreground, the console (left), and the side table (right) were designed by Jean-Michel Frank for the Argentine firm Comte. The 1930s Frits Henningsen settee is covered in a Holland & Sherry mohair, the chairs next to the fireplace are 18th-century Gustavian, the circa-1950 Sphere cocktail table and lamp are by Jean Royère, and the 1930s table (front left) and sconces are by Maison Jansen.
In the master bedroom of Steven Gambrel's Chicago apartment, the bed is upholstered in a Mark Alexander velvet, the bench in a Dune leather, and the club chair in a Stroheim fabric; the 1950s Tommi Parzinger chest (next to the bed), Ico Parisi 1970s cabinet, and vintage Jules Leleu side table are all from Bernd Goeckler; the circa-1930 English mantel is from Westland London, and the carpet is from Stark.
In the library of a New York home, the vintage Ward Bennett swivel chair in a Rubelli cotton-silk blend is from Wyeth, the circa-1960 Italian lounge chair in a Fermoie linen is from Donzella, and the custom sofa is in a Larsen fabric; the marble-and-brass cocktail table is by Brian Thoreen, the Claude Lalanne bronze chair is from Paul Kasmin Gallery, and the custom carpet is from Holland & Sherry. A sculpture by Maurizio Cattelan hangs over the custom mantel, which holds artworks by Elizabeth Peyton.
Hendrix, a Maine Coon, surveys the great room in Cathryn Collins and Gerald Imber’s weekend home in Millbrook, New York. An Italian Empire daybed is draped with a cashmere throw from Collins’s textile collection, I Pezzi Dipinti; an antique Italian bench is topped with a hand-loomed Moroccan textile; the 16th-century limestone mantel and antique wrought-iron candle stands were purchased in Florence.
In a California home, the living room’s sofas are by RH, Restoration Hardware, the 1950s chairs are Danish, the cocktail table is by Charles Hollis Jones, the end tables are from Lucca Home, and the antique stool was a Japanese rice box. The antique mirror is Indian, the mantel is original, the pendant is by Paul Ferrante, the floor lamp is by Visual Comfort, and the sconces are by Ralph Lauren Home.
“If no one had an army, armies would not be needed. But the same can be said of most lobbyists, PR specialists, telemarketers, and corporate lawyers. Also, like literal goons, they have a largely negative impact on society. I think almost anyone would concur that, were all telemarketers to disappear, the world would be a better place.”
― David Graeber, Bullshit Jobs: A Theory