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I'm very excited about H&H's latest special issue, Best Decorating, which will be on newsstands only starting March 26th!

My colleague Meg Crossley and I co-edited this latest mag over the past several months and we can't wait to finally see it in print. We hope you enjoy it, too, and consider it a keeper issue. It's packed with inspirational images and decorating how-to tips from fellow editors and experts, and it's brimming with product and paint suggestions. (Keep your eyes open for this cover shot, a gorgeous story styled by Joel Bray and shot by Angus Fergusson!)

Working on the issue, we gathered story ideas and inspiration from favourite design websites, books, blogs and magazines — even our own H&H. It was a trip down memory lane pouring over the back issues of H&H, and I had to chuckle every time I saw my living room mantle at home pop up in a magazine spread. It can be slim pickins' for story locations and every editor has, at some point, ponied up his or her house as a spot to set up a photo shoot. For some reason, my living room has had its fair share of coverage. It's small, but has good light and good bones, decent trim work and a timeless mantle (surrounding a fireplace that doesn't work!). There isn't a lot of furniture or clutter in the room (save a sentimental piano I really need to relocate), so that might be one reason the room is often used for shoots. Plus, it's your basic white shell from top to bottom and makes for a clean canvas for editors' creativity.

I've rounded up many incarnations of my mantle. Loyal readers will probably recognize it from over the years. Even our photo editor Leslie Williams knows it well — she's been blurring out the cracks and chips on it for years!

This shot appeared in our July 2006 issue, styled by Stacey Smithers and photographed by Nina Teixeira. Pottery in shades of blue and a faux coral vignette add a summery feel to the room.

This shot from our September 2007 issue was styled by Morgan Michener and photographed by Mark Burstyn. The cubby bookcase was highlighted as an unexpected place to store fireside wood.

This is from our June 2008 issue, also styled by Stacey Smithers and photographed by Donna Griffith. Log wood storage again! This time in the hearth of my sadly non-functional fireplace.

Here it is again in our August 2009 issue, styled by Sarah Hartill and Michael Penney, photographed by Stacey Brandford. The now ubiquitous fallen antlers find a home in the hearth in our Art of Display story.

Here's my living room transformed into a dining room for our December 2009 issue by stylist Sasha Seymour, photographed by Angus Fergusson. The mod artwork conceals the original built-in mirror and totally changes the vibe.

For more mantel styling tips, see our Fireplaces & Mantel Displays photo gallery.

Photo credits:
1. House & Home Best Decorating special issue
2. House & Home July 2006 issue, photography by Nina Teixeira
3. House & Home September 2007 issue, photography by Mark Burstyn
4. House & Home June 2008 issue, photography by Donna Griffith
5. House & Home August 2009 issue, photography by Stacey Brandford
6. House & Home December 2009 issue, photography by Angus Fergusson

Author: 

Hilary Smyth

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