A 19th century architect at the drawing board
Image via Wikipedia

Building a house is a romantic adventure.

As we learn and become educated in time, quite likely, chatty sentences embracing “detail”, ” influence”, “style”, will fall tripingly from our lips.

Gradually the difference between concrete and cement will become established in our reluctant minds.

We will learn to turn coldly away from cast iron (it must be wrought); eventually we will read a blue print as lightly as though it were a best seller, and check up a specification as easily as a bill from the electric company.

To our  neighbors we will speak of tile, expanded metal lath, of trim, of valves, of classic hoods, airily, yet as to one having authority.

By and by, we learn to support this weight of knowledge with quiet grace, eventually it slips into a useful background, and then we awaken to the real romance of building a house, with the realization of all the wonder.

Photo of a stone fireplace.
Image via Wikipedia

And the fascinating importance of the fireplace is born in upon us.

Early in the development of home architecture, the fireplace became the center of decorative interest. In time it was ornamented from ceiling to hearth, richly carved pillars supported its lintel, the chimney breast of the French fireplaces carried the finest examples decoration.

Then the design ideas began to change  into famous furniture periods, settles and great couches were placed in front of the hearth,  and in Colonial and Jacobean times the opening for the actual fire was so broad, that seats, were built in the chimney sides.

Stone and brass were finely and fantastically developed for fireplace fittings, tiles were brought from southern countries for the hearth and the fireplace became the pet of the domestic architect.

The fireplace has been no mere home-building detail, not just an opportunity for comfortable evenings in the winter time. It has helped make history. It has brought romance into architecture, just as the casement window did centuries ago, and as the garden gate did later.

An outdooor fireplace
Image via Wikipedia

The first fireplaces were built of stone in the center of the room, in fact the central hearth is still found in the homes of our North American Indians. The only way in which the smoke was carried off in those early days was through a hole in the roof, through crevices about the windows and through open doors.

But the central hearth with all its inconveniences did bring warmth into the house and furnished opportunity for cooking indoors, and at night the dwellers and their dogs clustered about it to sleep.

But  most home builders moved on and at last smoke turrets were introduced into the roofs and louvers came into existence so that smoke could escape without letting in rain and wind.

A little later the movable brazier arrived and was definitely more comfortable than the fixed hearth in those enormous huge halls.

Gradually a little imagination crept into the question of heating great palaces, and the fireplace was shifted back against a wall, sometimes to the corner of the room. There were no chimneys, to be sure, but tall hoods were introduced that projected over the hearth, and sloped back to the wall at the roof, the smoke escaping through a hole in the roof, directly over the top of the hood.

These hoods were very beautifully proportioned and seemed to be an integral part of the great coved stone ceiling through which they passed at a vast height. They are still to be found in some of the old English Chapter houses. The hearth projecting out in the room from the wall, with a metal hood, sloping back to a chimney, is much in vogue today in England. The idea being that no heat can be lost up the chimneys.

Some magnificent fireplaces were built with these hoods in old English houses, but the finest of them could not equal the hooded hearths still to be found in France.


There is not a style as absolute as Native American, but there are subtle touches that you can add to almost any style to get that feel. The southwestern style of home decorating and design would actually make a good match for many Native American artifacts, touches, and artwork.

pots photo credit: ChazWags

Pottery is an essential artwork of the Native American theme. Each different tribe has their own styles of making their pottery. If you don’t have a favorite tribe, you may have a favorite style of pottery. If you do, you may want to design the room, or a part of the room, around your preferred pottery. Pottery is multifunctional, it can be a part of the décor, or you can use the pottery for eating or to pot a plant. If you’re going to purchase it, you might as well put it to good use.

To capture the essence of Native American Décor, the artwork is a must have. Anywhere from paintings to sand art is a must. Having such things is a great tribute to one’s ancestry. Pottery is also included, but with all three touches is perfect for an all well-designed room.

Native North American Art (Oxford History of Art)

Did you know that the Native Americans played the flute? Some decorators display a collection of Native American flutes next to the artwork. Baskets are also a theme of the Native American. They are also not only beautiful but useful. Baskets can be used for holding blankets, knitting supplies, rugs, pillows, and magazines. They even help with holding remote controls and coasters.

There really isn’t a wrong way to decorate your home. It’s yours after all. Keep the things you like and exclude the things you don’t. You don’t even have to stick with one tribe, design, style, or region. Just decorate with the Native American touch that suits you.


There is nothing like a Southwestern decorating plan. It’s most fine-looking, and extremely elegant, when done with the right eye for true beauty of the architecture and design of this fine style; most importantly in the right home. You can have fun decorating with items anywhere from geckos to cowboys, and cacti to anything in between. There are plenty of options from which to choose when it comes to southwestern design.

Fechin House - light photo credit: Scott M

When putting a Southwestern flair to your home, you have to realize that it’s more like a lifestyle – much like the Creole home decorating style. Although the southwest seems so very far away, you’ll want to bring it in your home so you can experience it day after day. In fact, even those who have never seen or experienced the southwestern states for themselves have found the style of design and décor to be charming in their home.

For those of you who are not familiar with the southwestern flair, this is a style that makes bountiful use of the elements when decorating. The essentials of this design are clay, water, plants, metal, and animals. Most important are the colors of this décor. The colors necessary to pull this look off are going to be particularly sun baked and not bright and bold as other design styles call for.

Pottery is also important to succeed at the southwestern flair. Have fun with it, be creative. Pottery is not only beautiful to look at but it is also functional. You can use baskets and pottery for storage. Add in some wall art and gorgeous rug into the room and you have a great southwestern styled living space.

The rule of thumb is never making the design too neat. But at the same time, don’t let the room get too chaotic.

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