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Deck the hearth this holiday season

FORT WORTH, Texas — As the holidays approach, home becomes where the hearth is.

To dress up your fireplace this season, start by deciding on a color scheme or mood. Are you more whimsical and light-hearted? Consider a woodland scene with greenery and trees dotted with animal ornaments and cute critters. Are you more interested in a scene that could translate into the New Year? Try decking the hearth with silver and gold.

We started with two fireplaces featured in this year’s Historic Fort Worth Charity Designer Showhouse. The detailed millwork was all done by hand by Hull Historical Architectural Millwork, a Fort Worth, Texas, company that specializes in restoration and historically accurate reproductions.

Use these ideas as inspiration to create your own family fireplace.

WINTRY WONDERLAND

Silver, gold and faux snow will look great through the holiday season and into the early months of 2009.

On the mantel: Use a mix of materials in silver, gold and white, including garlands, candles, ornaments and (if you like) stocking holders. We started with two silver and gold leaf garlands with faux acorns and paired them with silvery wooden reindeer. Add some gold or silver stocking holders and white pillar candles (these are available from Pottery Barn, $12 and $29). Stockings round out the look.

On the floor: Start with simple glass vases and bowls, which create an icy, frosty feel. Fill them with silver, gold and white ornaments and decor objects of your choice, including glass balls, glittery pine cones or branches with faux snow. Here we started with a trio of glassware from the Pottery Barn: Bosphorus extra-extra-large glass vase, $89; extra-large vase, $46; and Bosphorus glass bowl, $39. We stacked glass balls in the tallest vase, then put a couple frosted branches, $24 each from Pottery Barn, in the other vase. In the bowl, we put a box of gold-glitter pine cones.

WOODLAND ESCAPE

This traditional scene relies on rich reds and dark greens with touches of gold.

On the mantel: Start with evergreens, either in garlands or in a wreath. We used a faux-pine wreath bedecked with pine cones, feathers and frosty faux snow, $79 from Pottery Barn. Use gold filigree balls, and candles from Pottery Barn.

On the floor: Gold angels add a splash of color next to the fireplace.

A lit faux-pine tree and a standing Santa with a fluffy white beard add more red and green to the mix. Add rich red poinsettias to the nature scene. In an antique wine bucket, we’ve stacked sawdust fire-starter sticks and pine cones.

FIVE GREAT FIREPLACE FINDS

Deck your hearth with these inexpensive but useful and pretty objets.

1. Toss Rainbow Flame Crystals on the flames of your wood-burning fire and enjoy blue and green flickers for about 30 minutes. $14.95, set of two 1-pound containers. Each provides 20-30 applications. From Plow & Hearth, www.plowhearth.com.

2. Start your fires with Amazing Blaze pine-cone fire starters. Each is dipped in recycled wax, and one will provide the kindling you need to start a fire. Box of 6, $9.99, Target.

3. If you want to create a faux-snow look on your mantel but don’t want to buy pricey flocked evergreens, try a box of faux snow. $12, Pottery Barn.

4. Keep a stack of long-stemmed matchsticks on hand and looking good with this black metal holder. $7.99, Target. (11-inch matches from Duraflame, $1.99 for 75, Target).

5. These good-looking dark-chocolate suede gloves are thick, lined and designed for fireplace use. $9.99, Target.

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