Designer Snapshot: All Fired Up

By Paula M. Bodah

As the chilly season closes in, Boston-based designer Paula Daher and her clients are thinking about fireplaces. A blazing fire is the attention getter in any room, but Paula likes to make sure the fireplace holds its own no matter the time of year. “I try to make it the focal point of the room in unusual ways that can make the wall feel as if it is an art form,†she says. These days, she says, her clients like the modern, linear look of a ribbon fire.

Paula, whose work has been highlighted in New England Home several times, including the November/December 2009 feature “We’ll Take Boston†and the September/October 2012 special feature on kitchen and bath design, shows off a few of her favorite recent fireplace projects.

In a Boston home, Paula went for elegant simplicity, surrounding the firebox with granite that is later cut to create a pretty pattern reminiscent of leaves and vines.

Photos by Eric Roth

For a condo in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Paula designed three-tiered wall for the fireplace that feels as if it’s made of building blocks. “The asymmetrical hearth accentuates the building-block feel,†she notes.

Here, miter-cut brushed granite forms the nine-foot tall surround of a contemporary fireplace. Visual interest and a touch of warmth come from the horizontal strips of stained mahogany.

Although she says that most of her fireplace projects are trending to the contemporary, the traditional fireplace is still popular. “Here,†she says, “ is a traditional wood surround glammed up and made more contemporary by the polished black granite and overall size of the firebox.â€

If you can’t spend the winter in a warm climate, a comfy seat by a cozy fire is certainly the next best thing.

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