No architectural detail of the interior is of more individual importance than the chimneypiece or mantel. Its proportions should be as generous as the size of the room allows, and the design suited to its setting, thus adding a feature not only homelike and inviting but dignified and decorative. The position the fireplace holds in the room should also be well considered. Where possible, it should face either the most important opening to the room or its best vista.

Given a mantel of distorted or over-elaborate design set in highly glazed tile, mottled like castile soap, a room, good in other respects, is conspicuously spoiled. Where an architect is employed, the designing of the chimneypiece, suited to the several rooms of the house, would naturally be left in his hands, but it is often the case that plans are worked over by builders or carpenters, and changes made to suit the requirements and ideas of the owner without the aid of the architect.

No Architectural Detail is of More Individual.

Plate XIX. No Architectural Detail is of More Individual Importance than the Chimney-piece or Mantel.

It is to such cases that mantels which can be purchased ready to set in place are adaptable. Among these are the all-faience mantels, or those with a shelf of wood like the standing woodwork of the room. The tiles which form hearth and facing are beautiful in color and dull in finish. These may be used in plain color, or friezes showing designs appropriate to the other decorations of the room may be selected. Particularly decorative effects are shown when the design of the tile is repeated in the stencil about the upper wall of the room.

Such mantels will be found suitable to rooms where dark-paneled wainscoting is used, or many of them fit perfectly into the scheme of decoration appropriate to houses designed along the so-called Mission lines. All-brick mantels, quaint in form and of good proportions with spacious openings, are made from dull red, tan, and gray brick in various shades. These look well in rooms patterned after the old New England type, or the bungalow or simple country house.

In mantels of wood a wide choice is offered. Those of good lines and simple ornamentation are acceptable in rooms where white paint or enamel is the finish to be used on the woodwork, though the architectural detail of the room may suggest no particular period. These mantels may be obtained treated with a priming coat only, or when two or more coats of flat white have been given them, the final finish to be added matching the color or tone of the paint used in the room. Mantels after this style are a safe selection to make for the chambers of the home where the standing woodwork of the room is to be painted. The tiles used about the fireplace should reproduce some color in the wallpaper or the ceiling tint.

The selection of lighting fixtures and hardware should next be considered. Here, too, the finished effect of the completed house must be kept in mind. Fortunately, it is possible to-day, even in purchasing stock fixtures, to avoid the regulation and wholly unattractive combination of gas and electric burners with which the house of moderate cost has for some years been afflicted.

In rooms where a central fixture seems essential, this should be straight electric, the sidelights showing the combination. We are, however, in house decoration, departing largely from the old idea of central fixture, and, except in dining-rooms, it is not regarded as necessary. In fact, in a long living-room, much better effects are obtained by the use of ceiling lights at either end of the room. These, in combination with the sidelights and plugs placed in the floor by which table lights - candelabra or lamp - may be used, make a much more attractive effect than the conventional treatment. As so much of the family life is spent by artificial light, one feels well repaid for any amount of trouble taken to insure their proper placing. A diagram of the room showing the various pieces of furniture as they will be placed will be found a great assistance in arranging the lighting. If a wide window-seat or davenport is to be the feature of the room, a light should be placed somewhere in its vicinity, to make it available for reading. Sidelights should be placed in regard to book shelves or bookcases so that the light will fall upon the titles of the books, for convenience sake.

The table light is an essential feature, both from the viewpoint of convenience and decorative effect. If but one light is used, a lamp of goodly proportions and spreading shade should be selected to hold it. If a room is suggestive of the Colonial, the idea should be accentuated in the fixtures. The selection of fixtures of this character is extensive, and some really beautiful designs are obtainable at reasonable prices. All bulbs should be frosted, and where there are a number of lights to be used in the room, eight candle-power bulbs are preferable to those of sixteen candle power, as the light is softer and better diffused.

The Completed Color Scheme Holding the Eye as would a Beautiful Picture.

Plate XX. The Completed Color Scheme Holding the Eye as would a Beautiful Picture.

A single central light may be selected for a hall; where the rooms throw well together, this will be found all that is necessary. Where the Craftsman idea is dominant, a lantern, the frame of which is made from beaten copper or wrought iron, enclosing dull amber or frosted glass and hung by a chain, is a good choice. Some reproductions of the hanging paraffine lamps of Colonial days may be found appropriate for the house in which mahogany and white enamel are used for the finish of the standing woodwork.

For the drawing-room, sidelights are advised. These may be found in sconce designs. Electric bulbs shaped like candles look well in these, and, with the addition of small silken screen shades, . may be rendered very attractive. A room of this character should be formally treated in all respects, as it is distinctly the withdrawing-room, and not the living-room of the family.

For simple bedrooms, inexpensive sidelights, - a drop light near the head of the bed and others placed over the dressing-table and desk will be found adequate. These may be brought into the general scheme of the room by the introduction of silk shades of suitable color.

While we are all more or less familiar with some of the guises under which the brass fixtures appear, such as polished, dull, or brushed, and the old smoked brass, there are many varieties of treatment producing results in which the brass is quite unrecognizable, and which are artistic and interesting. Among these is the wrought-iron finish which is so well suited to many rooms of to-day's designing. This effect is obtainable on any metal fixtures.

The hardware used in the room should always bear relationship to the fixtures, and be of the same material and show similar decoration where such appears. The lines of hardware offered by the best makers are so complete that there is no difficulty in finding precisely the style that would best fulfill the requirements of every room. In selection of both fixtures and hardware for houses such as we are describing, where no period idea is dominant, designs which are of good lines but simple, unobtrusive, and in complete harmony with the general scheme should be chosen. In the perfectly schemed room no single detail of its fitting should be more obtrusive than another; each feature must complement the other so entirely that, as a whole, it pleases.

The dominant color used in a room, and the contrasting and combined effects of other shades employed, are not to be reckoned with lightly. Where contrast is used - and this is often a desirable point in arrangement of color - it should be agreeable and interesting; one tone should melt softly into another, the completed color scheme holding the eye as would a beautiful picture.

The Richly Colored Stain and Dull Finish.

PLATE C. The Richly Colored Stain and Dull Finish Given the Wainscot and Standing Woodwork, etc.

See Specifications, Chapter XXI (The Importance Of Working Specifications).