Give your fireplace its summer makeover

  • Designer Abbe Fenimore designed this colorful living room in Dallas with unexpected touches including selenite logs in the fireplace. (MUST CREDIT: Melanie Johnson Photography) Melanie Johnson Photography

  • Designer Marika Meyer’s fireplace in Bethesda, Maruyland, is filled with standing birch logs and flanked by seasonal plants in large Italian urns. (MUST CREDIT: Angie Seckinger) Angie Seckinger

  • Designer Abbe Fenimore designed this contemporary sitting room in a 1940s Dallas bungalow. The white ceramic balls in the fireplace can sparkle on their own, or can be illuminated with gas. Melanie Johnson Photography

  • Designer James Wheeler blurred the lines between indoor and outdoor in the design of this covered terrace for the 2015 Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Home for the Holidays Showhouse. It features an antique lion’s head fountain in the fireplace that is mounted on a stand. (MUST CREDIT: Emily Followill) Emily Followill

Washington Post
Friday, July 07, 2017

Bringing summer to your fireplace could be as simple as putting away your tool set and wood holder. Just looking at that stuff can make you feel hot.

Or you could cook up a new look for the focal point of your living room.

Whether you’ve got a wood-burning or gas fireplace, you’ve got three areas to decorate, or not: the mantel, the hearth and inside that big hole where the logs go.

Designer Marika Meyer always keeps two big blue Italian pots from A Mano in Georgetown on the hearth in her 1949 brick Colonial home in Bethesda, Md. “I change out the plants seasonally,” she said. In the summer it may be peace lilies; in the winter, she might switch to evergreens. Inside the fireplace, she likes to keep a big stack of birch logs, which she buys at a garden center and has custom-cut so she can stand them up. For clients, she has filled the fireplace with big bowls of dried hydrangeas, and in one house, a collection of antique metal balls.

“The balls look almost like a sculpture,” she said. “It feels textural and very interesting.”

As for mantels, she changes her own every few months, displaying groupings of different accessories or bouquets of flowers. “I have a lot of fun doing my mantels; I look at flea markets and consignment stores for interesting objects,” she said. She’s used small paintings, collections of candlesticks and Chinoiserie items such as pagodas. “Right now, I have a vintage silver urn on my mantel filled with oyster shells that my sons and I picked up in Bethany Beach,” Meyer said. “It’s perfect for the season.”

Abbe Fenimore of Studio Ten 25 in Dallas thought of the perfect thing to put in the ivory and cream sitting room she designed for clients. “I wanted to create something in the fireplace that looked serene in the summer,” Fenimore said. She found several websites that sell ceramic fire balls (an alternative to traditional gas logs) and ordered them in white. In the summer, they look great, but in cooler weather if you have gas, you can turn it on for a show. “The balls flicker and shimmer as the flame floats across,” said Fenimore. One source for the look is woodlanddirect.com.

Fenimore has also used selenite logs (available at jaysonhome.com) that are what she calls “a shimmery white mother-of-pearl color.” The natural crystalline columns of North African selenite give an icy, frosty look for summer, and can add a bit of sparkle to nonworking fireplaces during the holidays as well. She likes using the decorative logs better than putting candles in the fireplace, something she thinks is overdone.