if the house has a fireplace be sure to find out whether it's gas or wood, how old it is, whether or not it works, is in good repair, whether or not it's drafty or has a good working flue hatch. If the hatch is warped or doesn't seal properly you'll be dealing with drafts when the fireplace is not on. Also find out how recently the chimney's been cleaned.
Traditional yellow & gray living room with vaulted ceiling, stone fireplace flanked by built-ins, TV, jute rug, pair of mustard yellow chairs, light gray linen slipcover sofa, blue throw, espresso chunky cocktail table, wall of French doors & transom windows and iron chandelier. Designer: Hickman Design Associates
Fresh flowers -- including long-stemmed and spray roses, hydrangeas, callas, and amaryllis -- displayed in silver keepsakes soften the rough texture of the trees and bring a sense of tradition to the arrangement. A pair of small evergreens accented with pinecones anchors each end of the mantel. (Photo: Liesa Cole and Ann Stratton)