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Mantle x Two

19 Dec

According to the pictures I’ve seen of our new house, we have two mantles.  One in the living room and one outdoor mantle located above an electric stone fireplace located on the back patio.

The fireplace in the living room is a dreaded corner unit.  However, instead of lamenting on its unfortunate location I’m going to celebrate it’s stone facade and large mantle.  Even though we don’t move in until 5 days before Christmas, you can bet the farm that I’m going to have that mantle dripping in Christmas!

Finding inspiration is no problem!  (My ponderings follow each picture).

via Centsational Girl (favorite blog)

Kate never disappoints with her thrifty decorating tips and tricks.  Everything in her home looks like it’s brand-new right outta the box!  I love thrift store shopping and she continues to inspire and encourage me not to give up on finding the next treasure.

Colored glass, bowls filled with sparkly ornaments, swoops of beaded garlands….what’s not to love!

(Side note: Has anyone else noticed that the U.S. thrift stores seem to be filled with more pieces that are worthy of transformation than the thrift stores here in Canada?)


via Susie Harris

Love the use of the branches – bringing in an element of nature into any decorating project is always a great idea.  I have several footed glass jars with lids and have a ball changing them out all over the house over the year.  Don’t restrict yourself with what you put in them and if you don’t own at least a couple in various sizes, keep your eyes open for a sale!


via Home Goods

While I’m not fond with how the collection of finials are spread out seemingly evenly along the length of the mantle, those draped beaded garlands with the hanging stars are terrific!  I know I have some rattan stars and if they aren’t glitzy enough – I can take care of that!   (now where did I pack that glitter??)


via Google Images

Love this photo!  Would love to have this on a large  canvas to put up every season.   This puts me in the mood for sitting by the fire with a hot beverage and carols playing in the background.  I have a whole collection of flame-free candles…. yes, the wheels are turning….thoughts forming….


via Cottage Hill

A simple palette of red and green – lovely with a capital “L”.   Way more than just a mantle-scape here!  With the raining red ornaments shimmering down from the ceiling  and the light-infused cedar boughs that wrap down to the floor, this design makes a statement.   Notice the white bulbs are the big variety – nice touch.   J-O-Y, definitely!

Don’t limited yourself to just using your ornaments to adorn your tree.  Hang them in front of your windows, attach them to a wreath, hook them to your drapery treatments, dangle them from your wall sconces or chandeliers…. the opportunities or endless!


via Cottage Instincts

The homeowner here is working with and not against his/her gray brick.  Really a stunning, calming effect.


via Echoes of Laughter

More nature – love it!  This is a good lesson on using what you have – eg. the desert tier to showcase glass ornaments and add a punch of color.  And don’t overlook the use of stacked books to give height to an item that needs a little boost to be noticed.  This is one trick that I admit I overuse.  I can’t help myself!


via Cottage Hill

More draping of beaded garland – I’m definitely going to attempt that.  (Wonder if I’ll have enough beads left once I’ve finished the tree??)  Using the ceramic and glass birds is a wonderful idea – very woodland.  And of course you know I love seeing the use of picture frames in nontraditional ways!


via House & Home

How great is this?  A row of simple metal trees and the use of the floor directly on the hearth for two topiary trees.  You know I don’t like all white interiors but I appreciate the simplicity of this fireplace decor and the punch it brings to the room.  Love, love, love those trees – I need to figure out how to make them for next year!


via Google Images

The look of a cedar wreath against a stone backdrop is just classic to me.  Since this wreath is not dripping with ornaments or Christmas ribbon, I’d be tempted to leave it up during the remaining frosty months.  Love the simple groupings strategically placed on the mantle.  Don’t forget the punch of color – with the help here of a Poinsettia!


via Home Goods

Again, not my color palette but it’s a great lesson…..big statement pieces, add height, create drama….. the goals of any effective mantle/fireplace decorating scheme.


Google Image

I have boxes of pine cones that I’ve collected over the years and while they may not show up in the indoor mantle scheme, they’ll likely have a role in the outdoor one.

Just a couple more days…… tree, mantles, front entrance, back deck ……getting excited about putting my Christmas decorating ideas into action.  Oh ya, unpack first…then decorate.  I better keep repeating that to myself!

I can still be reached here! How are your holiday plans coming along?


10 Things to do in October

5 Oct

October for me means turkey.  Love turkey!  Especially since after all these years I have conquered my fear of cooking one that would be inedible.  Thanks to the folks at America’s Test Kitchen and their technique of “brining”.  Why didn’t I hear about this 20 years ago!

Since I never look forward to the ending of summer, I try to ease into the change in season (and the fact that I know snow is not far behind).  This corner of our deck, just outside my kitchen door, is a favorite spot for morning coffee.  By changing this little outdoor vignette into something fall-ish I can ease myself into the inevitable.

July (Photo taken by Shel) September

Care to share your fall decorating tips and/or photos?  Please share!

One of my favorite Canadian decorating magazines Style at Home, has once again produced a list of 10 Things to do in October .  I think decorating for fall should be number 11!

Simple Changes or Complete Transformations – thoughtful design simply works.

If you would like design to work for you please email me for an on-line consultation or if you are local please call me at 204.620.6202

Fireplace Mantle Blues?

8 Sep

Are you one of the lucky ones to live in a house with a fireplace but now struggle with dressing the mantle?  Well, don’t despair because you’re not alone.

I combed cyberspace looking for great examples of nicely styled mantles and while I did find some outstanding ones, I also unearthed some………..uh, examples of what not to do.

Beautiful stone fireplace, obviously custom woodworking on the entertainment unit (hiding all the t.v. components) and I bet those are speakers up top.  Okay I’m turning green with envy.

Wait a minute……did they run out of wood for the mantle??  Would have tied the built-ins with the fireplace had they made the mantle reach across the width of the fireplace.  Always do this by the way.  Mantle could also be a smidge lower and it’s crying out for a big round clock.

from Flickr

You know what I’m going to say here, don’t you?  Yup,  should be a wide as the tile surround.  Don’t you think it would really pop if it were a glossy black?  Well on their way with the lovely picture, candles and clock……could use a stack of books or a ceramic bird and voíla!

from Flickr

Okay, this is making me smile.  I talked about the unique use of picture frames in my last post.  Here’s another clever example.  Love it!!

Not loving the knicky-knacky things strewn across the width of the mantle.  Best to make groupings and this desperately needs something with height.  Examples of this concept coming up.

from Flickr

Books, vases, texture with the feather, tall twigs and leaning pictures.  Would be a text book example if the front picture wasn’t blocking the back.  Layering isn’t suppose to lead to obstruction.  I would hang the big one, lean the white one and put the round one on an easel.

Love that feather and that gorgeous fireplace surround.

from Flick

You just can’t go wrong with a big mirror over the fireplace (but make sure it’s reflecting something attractive).  Scale is a tough concept but most people go too small.  Go big or go home! 🙂

I want this mirror!

from Flickr

Another lovely image from the folks at Decorology.

With all these lovely pictures above the fireplace, nothing else is really necessary.

from Decorology

Here’s an excellent example of a mantle grouping.  Could be a candle or stack of books in place of the little box.  Use candle sticks for height also.  You get the idea.

from Flickr

Those zany brits know how to do it well of course!  Would you be brave enough to have tried that tall bamboo?

Muster up that courage!

Colin & Justin in House&Home

Good example of using stacks of books and leaning art.  Nice!

by Michael Penny

Good example of……………….HEY! Get Down! 🙂

from Flickr

Simple Changes or Complete Transformations – thoughtful design simply works.   For help making design work for you,  please email for an online consultation here or if you are local, please call 204-620-6202.