Transform Your Mantel into a Holiday Focal Point
Three designers create whimsical designs around the hearth.
By Nancy Erdmann| Photography by Mark Lipczynski
To transform your fireplace into a festive focal point this season, try something new. Thanks to three local creative forces who turned their own mantels into holiday fantasies, we have plenty of ideas to spark your creative imagination.
Three-dimensional objects are the centerpiece of interior designer Sujaya T. Reddy’s contemporary mantel vignette. “I wanted to create something out of the norm with crisp square and rectangular objects arranged in an organic shape,” she says. Small silver and gold gift boxes and iridescent glass balls set atop green moss form a crescent-shaped wreath, which is accented by white twinkle lights, creating an organic work of art that is the focal point of the design. On the mantel, glass bowls filled with crystals are nestled among branches painted gold, silver and white. The finishing touch: gold ornaments gracing the ledge. To replicate the look, Reddy recommends using objects that are meaningful to you. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a paper box or some expensive ornament, as long as it conveys a beautiful memory or feeling,” she says. “With organic shapes, you can be free with your composition. There is no right or wrong way to decorate.”
Interior designer Denise Milano mixes classical holiday ingredients with regional elements for an updated Southwest vibe. “I use green lemon leaf as my foundation because citrus has played a big part in Arizona’s agriculture,” she explains. “I added red berries, succulents, sedum and natural organic elements, including rosemary, dried ram’s horn head and basketweave spheres to create texture.” The rattan orbs, she says, remind her of Native American baskets. Hand-carved wooden vases and a basket, both accented with ferns, sit in front of the fireplace. “Keeping it simple with a green and red theme and battery-operated LED lights makes for a traditional Christmas theme,” she remarks. “Use elements that are personal to you, and create a natural flow with your existing home decor.”
Boho Desert Dreams is the theme for interior designers Monica Sullivan and Michelle Pierce’s clever presentation, showcasing artisans and utilizing Southwestern elements for an ethereal and unexpected holiday setting. Hues of white found in birch branches, dream catchers, cholla skeletons, lights and a floating manzanita branch create the foundation for this desert winter wonderland. “My creative take on traditional ornaments is to suspend glass globes filled with cotton pods, air plants hanging out of sea urchins, and mini dream catchers handmade from upcycled vintage materials to emulate falling snow,” says Sullivan. The one-of-a-kind handmade metal prickly pear is forged from galvanized steel with a patina finish. “Don’t be afraid to step outside the box, play with ideas, and make it a fun experience,” she says. “Sometimes unexpected items can be used to create a truly unique setting.”