Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Looking Forward: 2009 Mantle

My living room mantle presents several challenges. First, it's 65" long, 10" deep, and it wraps the chimney portion of the plaster covered brick with 10" to spare on either side. Drilling into the brick to have picture hooks is nearly impossible, and it's very easy to over-accessorize and make into a "hot-mess".

For two years now, I've tried (and even let Scott try) various things:

March 12, 2007. Thankfully I dated this one. We had only been in the house for 3 months, and I had let Scott arrange the mantle. This is why I decorate, and he cooks.

Then I took my turn, and I came up with this display: (from left to right) a beautiful piece of pottery made by a dear friend in Texas, a garden obelisk, a wooden boat of grapevine lacquered shapes, and two candle lanterns from the "Global Bazaar" section at Target. Not perfect.

The same shot for Rate My Space, February 18, 2008. So as you can see, not much changed. But then, we found that $2 frame at the garage sale, remember? And we framed the painting and limited the accessories to a few.

Of course, this in my opinion, is much better.

Then the Christmas Mantle was created, and it stirred my thinking spoon. I like the natural and earthy feel of this, and what it does overall for the room, and the house.
Then I saw a blog post that featured mounted antlers over art:

I'm not exactly sure what kind of antlers these are, they look like mule deer to me, but I could be wrong. Either way, isn't this lovely?
So with that photo inspiration, I turned to the Internet and started shopping for shed antlers, or resin life-like antlers for the house - not immediately giving much thought to the fireplace. I found several resources providing everything from Moose to Caribou, (oh how I love the lines of the Caribou!) and I decided that I would buy them and think about what to do with them later.
Then, G in Ct., sent me this beautiful photo of his living room:

I absolutely fell in love with this room, but especially the short leather bound books on the mantle, and the way they were displayed. G insists that he has read, or is reading every book in the house, and that these were not purchased for show. I do believe him - he's quite the knowledgeable soul! But no matter, he was inspiring to me.

Then I happened upon a post that shared a milk glass display:

I have collected several milk-glass urns and pedestal vases for flower arranging, and thought how beautiful would these be stacked (at different levels) on leather bound books? Above them would hang two wonderful sets of antlers, Caribou and Mule Deer, and a fresh arrangement of green roses, bells of Ireland, and babies breath would fit nicely in one of the wide-mouthed pedestal vases.
Of course, at this point - it's only my minds vision, but still - it has me thinking about a new slate, a 2009 decorating adventure - and I know I'm not alone. So what do you think of mine? Can you envision it? Isn't it great!? And what are your 2009 projects?


  1. I have stopped mantlescaping because the guys remove the center item--they don't want anything blocking the "eye" for the channel changer. I love the antlers. I found one on, of all places. Gallerie Z had a huge resin one for a while. One of my friends found some elegant, European antlers in Birmingham, Ala. I love the Milk Glass, too.

  2. Artie, IMHO I would hate to see you remove the painting as I think it looks great there. How about a couple of small European "rue" deer antlers on each side of the painting? Then you could add some small leather books underneath the painting with milk glass on the sides or vice versa?
    Another idea if you can find the right antlers. I have used a small set of antlers with its base underneath a coat-of-arms painting as if they are the hanger for it. They lightly fan out over the painting and look great.
    My project for '09 is to get rid of clutter!

    G in CT

  3. Wow, you're still roaming the halls of RMS and coming up with lots of inspiration! I love the way you had your mantle before Christmas, and of course adore what you've done with it for Christmas. So now I'll wait with bated breath to see what you come up with to do with the antlers!!!

    Justine :o )

  4. Looking forward to your 2009 mantel. I love the antler idea.

    Your Christmas mantel is gorgeous as is the one, just before.

  5. Oh, Art...I love everything you do! You are sooo good at it all. Wish I had just half of your talents.
    Now, I have to say that living in West Texas and having a hubby and son and grandsons that LOVE deer hunting and go all the time, we have had deer antlers running out our ears and....I DON'T LIKE 'EM.
    But, that's just me...they would probably look fabulous in New York...:O) NOW, on the other hand, I would eat a live zebra for one of those antler chandys...oh, I do love the looks of them....

    Your mantel for Christmas is lovely...
    love, bj

  6. You are amazing! I love your blog and it gives me such wonderful decorating ideas. Love the mantel!

  7. I think it is good practice to change it up...and the start of a new year is a perfect time! Sometimes I wish I could gather everything we own into one room and then starting fresh REALLY change it up!

    Love your mantle scape idea...I imagine you will find a beautiful place for the gorgeous painting!

  8. Wow! You have a beautiful home! I came across your blog and I just love your photos!

  9. I love seeing the changes of the mantle over time! I agree with G about loving that painting, and like the ideas for antlers flanking it! But I know what it's like to have something in your mind's eye, and whatever you do will look unbelievable, as always!!

    That picture of G's home is fantastic - I love the little leather books, and those globes are wonderful!

    My goals for 2009 include getting all my boxes unpacked from this move LOL having the exterior finished then it's project bathroom, project living room, project dining room, project kitchen, project bedroom -- Maybe I should have just built a house from scratch instead of moving! LOL
    xo Isa

  10. Morning, Artieness! Oh, the mantle! That's one area I have the hardest time with trying to decide how to deck it out! I do love the frame around your manly picture! I think I like the idea of some little creature antlers on your wall with the books. But, Artieness, your Christmas mantle is so gorgeous! I really love it. You're so good with floral anythings! Hope you're having a beautiful day!
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  11. Hi Artie,

    I love your mantel as I am partial to red brick. I love the classic look and lines. I think all the different decor' looks elegant and tastefully done.

    I know what you mean about wanting a change though. We are about to under go a big one with a possible move. My husband is a Marine and we find out in January if we are leaving for Maryland or staying put for three more years. In the meantime I'm stuck because I can't "plan" anything... That is so not me. UGH!

    I'm excited to see your progress and changes. Sounds good.

    Have a wonderful day! ~Melissa :)

  12. I bow to you ... the king of inspiration!

  13. Hi, I saw your comment on Lady Lynn's Boutique blog, and came over from there. I LOVE your Christmas mantel! It's so whispie and fresh! I've had antlers over my mantel before, and grew tired of them pretty quick. I liked them, they just wore out their welcome. I really like the look of different size mirrors (old ones particularly) propped up in layers, with a variety of candles in front of them.

    The great thing about mantels is, you can totally transform the vibe of a room just by changing a few pieces! I'll be back to see what you come up with!

  14. I love the idea and can't wait to see what you come up with for the finished matel. I too need something different for mine...maybe we can all do a mantel makeover? :)

  15. I agree with you, the last photo of the chimney is my favourite too.
    Also like the photo with the antlers, looking forward to see what you will create with them at your place :-)
    Thank you for your visit and comment.

  16. I love your mantel. I wish I had one. Maybe someday. I love your version of the mantel done for Christmas. I am always excited to see what you're going to do next. You have some wonderful ideas. I think it's great that Scott cooks and you decorate.

  17. Artie, I know you well enough to know it will be wonderful whatever you do...vicky

  18. That large mantel is great! My favorite was your painting with the frame. Gorgeous!

    Mr. G's home is pretty too. I love his globe collection.

    Isn't it just distracting to see all the beautiful homes? Antlers, milk glass, leather can do it!!

  19. must be reading my mind! :-) I've had antlers on the brain for a while...thought they might look right at home in my kind of, sort of, "hunt" theme family room. Couldn't bare the whole head on the wall...poor deer. :-( But shed antlers...that I like! Oh, and no invitation needed for Tablescaping on Tuesday...I've gotcha down as participating. Can't wait to see one of your amazing tables! I'm still dreaming of the one out under the tent. :-) Susan

  20. Oh my gosh Artie...what to do with your mantel...hmmmm, how about anything you want to, because you have the best eye for decor & change...I'm looking forward to your 2009 choice OR if you leave it as is which I love! ;-) Bo

  21. I can envision the use of the bells of ireland I love them! I planted them in my garden two summers ago and they didn't fair that well. They are biennials so I hope they show their pretty little heads this year. I do love that painting on your mantel though but I don't think that it would coordinate with the milk glass. It is fun to change things up once in a while. I may be wrong but antlers seem to me to be a fallish thing because they make me think of hunting. So I wouldn't put them with the milk glass. I would put them with the leather bound books. Milk glass seems fresh and white and springy or summery to me. But I am not a professional I just like what I like. Let me know what you think, Robyn

  22. Hello! I am sorry I have been so bad with blogging lately! I am stopping in now to wish you and Scott a Merry CHRISTMAS! Tell him to keep to the cooking and leave the decorating up to you!

  23. Hello! I am sorry I have been so bad with blogging lately! I am stopping in now to wish you and Scott a Merry CHRISTMAS! Tell him to keep to the cooking and leave the decorating up to you!

  24. I like your version of Mantle. I think it is classic. I wouldn't add more to it. Antlers... in my opinion look best on happy, jumping animals.... but then it is just me..... a little too emotional!
    So enjoy whatever you prefer to put on, you should be happy about it!


  25. It is fun to change things. I get bored if they stay the same. Some people keep their rooms the same way for years. That would drive me nuts. Kathy

  26. Artie what ever you do will be great as everything you do is great..oh I can't wait to see your TT at Susan's next week what fun..thanks for coming by dear friend...hugs and smiles Gloria

  27. I love your Christmas mantle, I think it is so gorgeous

  28. Artie,

    January issue of House Beautiful has a couple of displays with antlers. Also a very interesting floor lamp on page 55.


  29. Merry Christmas, Artie.

  30. Hi Artie,

    Love you milk glass collection! Oh theirs that word again!!! I love the antlers ( so outside the box) LOL


  31. Artie, you do know how much I adore you, but I just cannot get accustomed to 'antlers'..... unless of course they are on Santa's Reindeers....smiles.

    I enjoyed the tour of G's home immensely! I recall the vintage tree lights you posted and it is difficult to conceive they still work.
    I find it amazing with all this hoopla of the usage of LED lighting that few have questioned their disposable properties. Do I dare say it..... the bulb itself may conserve energy which I am all for BUT......what about our Landfills? I understand they are not recycable and only last a few years. Perhaps the real solution is; for Manufactures to return to the standard of 'QUALITY' products (like G's) and let the consumer opt for less hours of display. One solution that creates another problem to ME just doesn't make sense. (Thank you for letting me ramble on.)

    In the event I am not online again before Christmas, I want to WISH YOU AND SCOTT A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A JOYOUS SEASON. Hope Santa is good to you both! Take care, many hugs -Brenda-

  32. Hello mantle has never been the same for any 2 Christmases...and I confess..I change it up during the non holiday times as well...

    I love using my cottage as not only a testing ground...but a playground! Stagnation, The Muse? Ooooo LOL, I think not!

    I do hope that you were kind to Scott as you ushered him to his domain of the kitchen! :)

    I too am quite fond of using antlers/horns, they herald back the decor of days gone by...
    Elegant, architectural and natural all combined in one element.

    I will be most eager to see what you decide upon for your mantle this year :)

  33. Artie whatever you do I know it will look great! But I also love that painting! Maybe a combination of leather books (can NOT go wrong with those imo) and milk glass underneath? I find mantlescaping to be notoriously difficult. It's so easy to over do. and too little, and it looks bland and boring. And don't even get me started on scale. I have not been able (to this day) to create a mantlescape that I think looks "good" *sighs* Vanna