A Red-hot Attraction


January 24, 1993|By BETH SMITH

Who says a fireplace can't be funky? Not Harvey and Jackie Shugarman. They knew they wanted something contemporary and stylish, yet fun and colorful to update their family-room fireplace.

The basics were in place -- a simple white brick, raised hearth firebox without a mantel.

They turned to friend and architect J. H. Eccleston Johnston for a design.

"Excy had worked collectively with me designing my restaurant," says Mr. Shugarman, owner of Harvey's of Green Spring Station. "We had used some art deco, lots of angles, gold balls and diamond designs. Excy played off those when he planned the fireplace mantel for my house."

Enter Susan Witman and Carol Siegmeister from the design firm of Taylor-Siegmeister Associates. What they found for the Shugarmans was a great contemporary wood mantel, anchored

by two wood balls contacted by a series of raised wood diamonds. The fireplace was surrounded by two built-in angled storage units, designed by Mr. Johnston and built by local cabinet maker Harvey Niblett. Everything was painted white.

Although the designers knew they wanted to make some changes with the fireplace, it was not a top priority.

"Actually, it was absolutely the last thing we did," says Ms. Witman. "Our first concern was designing a package for the entire room that was contemporary, colorful and bold. And, because the Shugarmans have children, the room had to be childproof and comfortable."

First choice was an abstract Robert Allen fabric in aqua, blue, green, raspberry and other vivid colors. It was used to cover high-style contemporary side chairs from Swaim.

Then Ms. Witman turned her talents to designing pieces for the room, including a large chaise, a sofa covered in six colors of cotton duck, and a two-part coffee table. When artwork for the walls was required, Mr. Shugarman pulled out his own abstract paintings.

With the fireplace design, Ms. Witman and Ms. Siegmeister knew they had to make a very strong statement. Playing off the raspberry of the carpet, they chose raspberry paint and had decorative artist Jaime Kraft sponge it with blue and black to create a red granite effect. The diamonds and balls were gold-leafed.

The result is a contemporary fireplace that remains the focal point of the room even with intense competition from strikingly bold furniture, fabrics and finishes.

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