For Want of a Mantle

One thing that I wish our little Dutch Colonial had is a fireplace. Oh it does have a chimney – that travels down to the basement where I’m guessing the wood or coal-burning furnace used to be. (I guess the people who inhabited this neighborhood in the early 1900′s were more interested in staying warm than lounging, Rockwellesque, by the hearth.) But I grew up loving a fire in the fireplace. I was always the one begging for a fire, even if the weather was a little too warm. (But hey! We could always blast the AC to compensate for any byproduct heat of the delicious, cozy ambiance – just like they do in the White House. And how do I know this little tid bit about they White House? My überawesome Marine Corps Dad used to work there. That is how.) In fact, my love of a fireplace was so great, that while studying Greek mythology I had decided that my favorite female deity was Hestia, goddess of hearth and home. (That was until I decided that not wielding any weapons or  having  a men-lash-yourselves-to-the-masts-of-your-ships kind of beauty was lame.)

diana, artemis

So, such is my lament at not having a fireplace. But it wasn’t until recently that I discovered another reason I miss having a fireplace: the mantle, and all its decorating potential. Sigh. While it’s true that not all fireplaces have mantles, (and many of the more contemporary and gorgeous ones don’t) they still are focal points in and of themselves.

Well, I decided to end my pity party by designating the top of our Ikea expedit bookshelf to be the “honorary mantle” with all rights and privileges therein. That way I can have a place to rotate art and showcase some of the signs of the season!

black frames, flow blue plate, brass urn, oil painting, books

Here’s what the “mantle” looked like as of last week: a couple framed maps of our favorite places, a German pastoral oil painting, pottery, some books, a flow blue plate, “Happiness” candle from Target and my beloved Japanese brass urn (which was a gift from my mother). I liked the punch of springtime yellow mixed with the blue, but I knew I wanted to shake things up a bit. . .especially when I found this luscious Matisse print at HomeGoods:

I removed one of the maps (and immediately felt guilty at “breaking them up” – I’m known for attaching sentimentality to inanimate objects) and put the Matisse in its place. I was pleased with the addition of some differing heights, but I wanted a different finish on this frame. So in a classic C.A. move, I broke out the spray paint. After a few thin and even coats this was what I had:

black frame, gold, flow blue, Matisse

So, voila! My springtime “mantle.” I like how it balances out the springy happiness happening on the other side of the room. :) I still want to zhuzh the contents of the bookshelf to continue adding some airiness and light as per Melissa’s (of The Inspired Room) advice. Check out her site – it’s wonderful!

But hmmmmm. . .that dark wood pedestal table gets kind of lost against the dark backdrop. I may have to remedy that! Isn’t it funny how one project will flow into another? I guess that’s how the creative process works – it’s a constant, organic evolution of thoughts and inspiration.

What’s inspiring you these days?


Artemis image via

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About C.A.

I'm the daughter of a Marine and a "Bond Girl" type of mom who bestowed upon me a wealth of wisdom. I want to bring that courage, purpose, intelligence, resourcefulness, glamour and joie-de-vivre into every aspect of my life.
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6 Responses to For Want of a Mantle

  1. Karen says:

    First, I looooove the Matisse print! Second, spray painting the frame gold was brilliant. I love it even more! Third, I just went through my own can of gold (and silver) spray paint (painting some vases, bowls, frames, and a paper lantern). Fourth, you should definitely paint the side table. It would pop out nicely. Fifth, my sister gave me that Ikea blanket for my birthday last fall:) It all looks wonderful!!

    • C.A. says:

      Thanks! It’s nice to know I have a fellow spray paint addict out there. ;) As for the side table – I’m prepping it in the basement as we speak, er type. Hurrah for projects! xoxo

  2. Anastasia says:

    Prettyyyyy! ;-) I love!

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