What is on your mantelpiece? (posted 4th July 2012)

I was listening to a bit of Radio 4 on my commute into work one morning and they had a feature on a historical perspective gained by photographing mantelpieces. So I stole the idea....hope they don't mind!

So much info can be gained from seeing what someone has on a mantelpiece, so I thought I would take their concept but approach it from a design view point. Of course, from this perspective, we are clearly going to get frantic tidying and styling being undertaken (well I certainly did!), so bear in mind that these are 'for the camera'! As a note, there is nothing that a bit of Instagram can't make look beautiful and atmospheric!

In truth, people were very open about sharing images irrespective of how the fireplace looked. Laura Adkin is in mid renovation, so we have an opportunity for a before and after fireplace! Even in mid-build there are touches of loveliness, an attempt to deny that builders are taking over your house.

Kari Greaves, fashion stylist, fab blogger and mum-of-one, even manages to give childrens toys aesthetic appeal. Where my mantelpiece had to be cleared of bits of lonely puzzle pieces, broken arms of toys, lego bits, scrawly drawings and random screws and fixings, Kari manages to make toys a part of the whole look!

Debra Finn has photographed a home/gallery/showroom fireplace in the business place of Cavaliero Finn, which by the very nature of the business changes all the time (an opportunity for a regular feature 'What's on Debra's mantel piece today'?!).

Philip Blount has sent in an image of the office mantelpiece. Nice fireplace, shame about the lever arch files! But even in a busy working environment, thought has been put into what goes above the fireplace (a lovely textural bright piece of art), it is just that after that, everyday life catches up and you need somewhere to pile your papers! (Philip, if you need some new shelves, then I know of a great interior designer who can help you out.....)

I love that we have the element of the ever-changing element as much in a designers mantel piece, for different reasons, as a standard mantelpiece would because of new everyday clutterings, post, toys, pictures, childrens drawings etc. A design savvy mantel piece owner will be adding and taking away items constantly. The first place a new purchase might end up is pride of place on a mantel piece, before being slowly relegated further and further from pole position (would be an interesting study to GPS an objects movement through a designers house, from mantel to under the stairs, and all positions in between!).

Anyway, here are a few more pics, many thanks to all who contributed.