By Connie Dufner
Photos by Dan Piassick
A Dallas designer with eight fireplaces in her own home is uniquely qualified for a fireside chat.
To interior designer Shay Geyer, fireplaces can be cozy even during a hot Dallas summer — for roasting marshmallows, natch. “Every house needs a fireplace,” says the multitasking mom and owner of IBB Design Fine Furnishings. “It’s great to have at least one in the house and one outside, where it’s super fun to make s’mores or sit and hang out with the family.” Geyer confesses to having eight fireplaces in her home: “The original owner loved fireplaces,” she says. “We use them all.’’ We fired up some questions for her on what works and why.
817 Home Where to begin?
Shay Geyer It’s definitely all about the material. Ask yourself if this room is going to be more formal or a more casual family room or den. You want to look for materials that are more timeless. I personally love cast stone. In a formal room, you can have a little bit more carving or detail to it. Or you can mix it with an Austin stone or limestone, to give it contrast and dress it down a little bit.
817 How do you build your room around the fireplace?
SG A fireplace often does ground or anchor the room, so you want to be mindful: Does it connect to the ceiling, will the hearth be flush or raised, how does it connect with the floor? Are you putting a TV above it or hanging a piece of art?
817 Oh, no! So much design effort, and it competes with a TV?
SG Sometimes you can’t get around the fact that the best location for the TV is above the fireplace. It’s your house; it has to function the way you want it. I believe in making it look the absolute best it can. In one house, I had installed some Dale Chihuly-inspired glass pieces above the fireplace, and it looked great.
817 Anything not to do?
SG Above the mantel, less is more. Keep your flexibility to place artwork there. Don’t go crazy with the design details above the mantel because that makes it more cumbersome to decide how to decorate it.
817 Thoughts on furnishings?
SG One thing I love to do is place ottomans in front of a fireplace that is flush with the floor for extra seating.
817 Wood or gas burning?
SG Definitely client’s choice. If people do wood, it’s most likely outdoors. Inside, we’re seeing gas logs and glass shards where the flame comes up through the glass. Nine out of 10 clients want gas fireplaces for sure.