Wonderful Winter

BY Shannon Darrough

The chimney where Santa Claus arrives the fireplace where New Years toasts are made the hearth where families and friends gather on winter weekendsits brrr outside and nothing warms the spirit like a roaring blaze.

Majestic Masonboro Christmas

Follow us as we steal inside a majestic New Orleans plantation an English tavern a Colonial kitchenformal and functional fireplace and hearthall beneath one roof for an old-fashioned Christmas celebration.

Do it yourself like Cynthia Dugan who adorns her own mantels each year.

With eight fireplaces located throughout her home we chose three mantels that ooze with holiday charm.

How did you decide what look you wanted for each mantel?

The color scheme of each room varies; therefore each rooms decorations have a slightly different theme and feel.

The library for example is very masculine with dark wood; therefore the decorations have a natural hunting theme with greenery pine cones holly with berries pheasants and their nests real feathered balls and other things you might see in the woods.

In the formal living room the decorating style is light and airy because this room is on the waterside of the house has big Palladian windows and I wanted the dcor to reflect that light so I feature magnolias and lighter jewel tones giving it a warm inviting feel.

The kitchen always has been my daughter Alexandras favorite room. The theme is very child-friendly. She likes to make gingerbread houses each year with my father. She calls him PaPa makes place cards candy and candy canes. The kitchen features nutcrackers that Alexandra calls toy soldiers and her favorite Santa in my great grandmothers rocking chair. Some of my decorations have been passed down through my family.

Do you come up with different designs each year?

The decorations have varied slightly from year to year but have always stayed with the traditional natural theme with real greenery and real magnolia leaves from my property. My daughters decorations in the kitchen vary from year to year depending on her tastes.

How long would you say you spent on each mantel?

On each mantel probably about half a day or 4 to 5 hours.

What materials did you primarily use?

I use a great deal of real greenery from my pine trees and my magnolia trees pine cones holly leaves and their berries. I chose them because they are from my property and give my home a fresh fragrant and warm feeling.

What was the biggest challenge?

The most difficult part to implement is keeping 40-plus strands of Christmas lights on the Christmas tree working and keeping my 3-year-old boy John from taking apart the toy train that surrounds the bottom of the Christmas tree or keeping him from taking Christmas balls off the tree.

What inspired you to take on this project all your own?

The love of my home and the joy my family has while decorating.

I love when friends and family are enjoying themselves. Christmas music is playing and the feel of children and laughter.

The home of Cynthia and Peter Dugan and family was featured in the March 2008 issue of Wrightsville Beach Magazine. Please visit our website www.wrightsvillebeachmagazine.com for more about this fabulous Home of Distinction.

Its a Wonderful life

Architectural designer Pam Macior designed every last detail of this fireplace renovation in a local Wrightsville Beach home. The eight-foot wow-worthy element is composed of Jerusalem gold limestone to complement mahogany ceilings. Macior added artistic flourishes like classic niches and bespoke glass doors to this fireplace.

What materials did you use primarily?

The entire15-foot fireplace wall is hand-crafted by Sellers Tile. The custom art-glass doors were made by Susan Tharin of Airlie Art Glass. I drew a series of French curves freehand on a piece of paper in her shop chose the glass and framing. She transferred my sketch to a life-sized pattern and made it happen.

What is the purpose of the art glass?

To reflect light for fluidity and to create ambiance at night with incidental backlighting. I had to cover the audio equipment and the doors needed to be a sculptural element that also allowed the audio equipment to breathe.

Why did you use all stone for this space?

Because it was not expected and my homeowners asked me to surprise them. This limestone anchors and balances the room perfectly. It looks great in the harsh beach daylight and is comforting at night.

For a scaled down seasonal look we invited The Three Divas to create a warm and cozy place to gather the family for holiday countdowns.

What theme were you trying to convey here?

From the moment we walked in this home the feel of the house was warm inviting and family-friendly. Thinking of a family with children or grandchildren at Wrightsville Beach we wanted an ocean inspired dcor that had sophisticated sparkle as well as a sense of whimsy.

What is your favorite part of this dcor?

The turquoise and aqua mermaid bust found at New River Pottery along with a sequined starfish globe and glittered turquoise sea grass. We went to Fishermans Wife to find the refined elements for the mantel and ottoman dcor.

We are a family of designers with a sense of humor and we always like to include elements that reflect that. Beautiful things can also incorporate a sense of lightness and happiness and laughter!


When it comes to style design and detailing Pam Macior has a portfolio full of stunning projects. For a fireplace renovation at a Figure Eight Island home Macior collaborated with interior designer Katy Delaney to create a striking eight-foot-tall fireplace with Porto beige honed limestone from Portugal with a mantle of rain forest brown marble from India. A 48-inch firebox is filled with birch-finished gas logs.

How does this fireplace fit and enhance the overall look of the home?

In both sophistication and scale. The living room is 31-feet wide. The space is grand with outstanding views of the ocean and the bay so the fireplace needed to be grand but not dwarf the surroundings and furnishings that Katy had planned. (Delaney adds “We wanted sophisticated and sleek but not too dressy because were at the beach. It should look like the sandy beach at low tide.”)

How was the marble selected and assembled?

(Joe Sellers of Sellers Custom Counters helps answer this question.) The limestone slabs are huge pieces cut from the same lot book match cut with precision and no room for error. Each slab was hand-carried upstairs to the top floor then carefully installed vertically with very exact separation lines. The lines between the slabs are not grouted. The mantle envelops a steel beam that was integrated into the chimney structure.

At this fabulous Figure Eight Island home Maciors custom fireplace was styled by the Divas into a glittering focal point perfect for ringing in the New Year.

What theme were you going for with the dcor?

The After New Years Party look extends the fiction of a couple returning home from a New Years Eve masquerade to savor a private moment before the clock strikes midnight. The mantel styling is anchored with a black clock and hourglass. The tableau is staged with a vintage ladies coat and holiday accented shoes on the ottoman. The silver tray is arranged with glass espresso coffee cups a lotus bowl of whipped cream and his-and-hers cakes.

What inspired you to pick these items?

When we think of New Years we think of silver and gold with touches of black sparkle and candlelight. We have a collection of mercury glass we thought would compliment the New Years scene. We added the hand-painted porcelain masks and vintage masquerade dolls then completed the look with accessories from Pottery Barn that include the clock and hourglass mercury glass pillars and candles pillows trees and the mirrored star.

How much time did you spend on this mantel?

We recommend decorating in stages. First select a theme then gather the design elements. Prepare the florals and confections the day of the event. It only took two hours to assemble.

Get these looks

Its a Wonderful Life page 61

To compliment the warm color of the stone mantel The Three Divas created arrangements of amaryllis succulent red flowers and berries in the homeowners vases. The materials were used for an outdoor arrangement on the deck with white twinkle lights.

On the ottoman is a Vietri reindeer bowl filled with popcorn and mugs of hot cocoa with Chocolate Praline Ganache cake bites.  

A cozy throw a book and a beachy glass woody with a surfboard cant top that timeless classic “Its A Wonderful Life.”

Homeowners: George & Gayle Mast

Building Contractor: Chambliss & Rabil

Building Designer & Interior Designer: Pamela Macior LLC

Fireplace Limestone: Sellers Custom Counters

Fireplace Box & logs: Diversified Energy

Custom stained glass: Susan Tharin Airlie Art Glass

Accessories: The Fishermans Wife New River Pottery

Masquerade page 63

The mantel styling by The Three Divas is anchored with a black clock and hourglass.

The tableau is staged with a vintage ladies coat and holiday accented shoes on the ottoman.

A silver tray is arranged with glass espresso coffee cups a lotus bowl of whipped cream and his-and-hers cakes. The recipe is the Dessert Divas signature Italian buttercream decorated with ivory sugar paste flowers.

Picasso calla lilies ivory roses alstromeria and seeded eucalyptus accented with peacock feathers are arranged in mercury glass vases.

Homeowners: anonymous

Building Contractor: David James and Company

Architectural Designer: Pamela Macior LLC

Interior Designer: Katy Delaney Design

Wood Floor Restoration: Newsome Hardwood Floors

Cabinet Mfg: Hollingsworth Cabinetry

Cape Fear Riverwood Countertops: Martin Restoration

Fireplace Limestone: Sellers Custom Counters

Fireplace Box: Todays Fireplace

Fireplace Logs: Coastroad Hearth & Patio Supply Company

Painting: GA Coates Painting

Ottoman: Wesley Hall

Chandelier: Visual Comfort

Accessories: Pottery Barn