Okay, I'm bad. I have a problem. It's my birthday in a week and being the good woman that I am, I found my own birthday gift and saved my husband a lot of time and stress (I do this every year!) Do I want a diamond ring? A trip to the day spa? No, I want a mantel. Yup. Decorator through and through. Our house is wonderful and has so many things we like about it. One very minor complaint, is no mantel. Not a big thing, but I really missed having a place to decorate with the holidays or just change up because I'm ready for a change but don't want any big decorating project.
To Craigslist I went for the last few months and voila, I found her. A quick drive 20 minutes away + $40 later = my birthday present.
I did a quick sand with my little mouse sander and then my daughter and I set to painting her. I already had paint leftover from painting all the new doors in our house. I wanted it to blend in a bit on the wall and not feel like it was this massive thing ready to fall down on you.
After three coats and 24 hours of drying, I took the mouse sander again and roughed up the edges to really make those layers of molding stand out.
With no fireplace, I obviously had to find a place for this lovely mantel. No fear, I've had the pefect spot in mind for a long time: my foyer. It's a fairly large, two-story entry with a large wall. My previous attempts of slapping up two large pieces of artwork never really felt right. Six years later of decorating the rest of the house, I finally am getting around to the foyer again.
We made a wood cleat to anchor this heavy baby to the studs. Then I did a quick shop around the house for some accessories and put this together for now:
I fell in love with that little framed print of the bird when I saw it at Goodwill. $4 and she was mine! Look at the lovely mat and the inked decorative border. Everything else came from garage sales (including the $40 chandelier and $20 pottery barn rug!)
I feel like this mantle is something substantial to finally help balance out that huge wall. I wanted it's color to be light enough to match the doors in the adjoining hallway and also keep it from feeling like its about to fall and bop you on the head as you come in.
I know most people don't like having shoes in the foyer, but our coat closet is way too small, around the corner, and let's keep it real-with six kids and two adults, the shoes multiply while you aren't looking and they all end up by the door. I'm just so thrilled that they're trained to take their shoes off and save my carpets that I'll put up with shoes in the foyer. I found this cute old shelf in upstate NY and it's been a perfect little shoe shelf. The rest of the shoes go just inside the garage.
I'm a very happy Birthday girl and will be able to satisfy my decorating cravings with this mantel. I promise not to decorate for Christmas in August like all the stores do!!!
For a little touch of welcome, I printed out this Irish Saying that means "a hundred thousand welcomes" and literally cut out each letter and glue sticked it up! Hey, I'm frugal and really didn't want to pay for a vinyl version! It's been up almost 3 years and no problems yet.
And here's how the mantle looked for a few different seasons:
Here are some beautiful images of mantels in places other than over the fireplace.
As a headboard.
(by Molly Frey)
As an accent shelf. Love the corbels on it.
(a fanciful twist)
A headboard again.
Love the lamps with the headboard.
I love how a mirror was placed in the fire-insert area and then hung high.
Beautiful chippy-old mantel (maybe check the paint for lead?!)
I love how this acts almost as a buffet table in a small-spaced dining room.
Aren't those mantel-like shelves in the kitchen gorgeous?! (This kitchen re-do is amazing if you want to check out the blog.)
Have you done something unique with a mantel? Seen any fun ideas? Share them with me if you have, I'd love more ideas.
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