Category Archives: Decorating@Nibs- Series Of Fireplace Mantels

Decorating@Nibs- More Fireplace Mantels

I enjoyed decorating a friend’s simple antique mantel sixteen different ways that I went hunting for one like it for myself. After months of searching, I came across a mantel that was perfect for my new series on color. Now let’s have some fun and decorate!

Fireplace Mantel #22- Fall’s Bounty

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I wanted this mantel to celebrate Fall and Thanksgiving without being too predictable. So I skipped the bright orange pumpkins, black paper crows and jars of candy corn.

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Instead, inspiration came from rural French decor with a few added surprises of my own.

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Process-

1. Prime and paint walls/trim & moulding warm beige (custom mix).

2. Prime and paint mantel dark brown (custom mix).

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3. On the mantel- Two wheat stacks, garden sickle, wire script ‘merci’, mercury glass pumpkin, antique bottles with corks, pottery, wooden spatula, vintage faux fruit, ink drawing c. 1900, clay figure and old books.

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4. Other- Linen cloth frill, printed log fabric (check Ikea for availability), country chair, hand carved walking stick, string of old keys and clay plate.

(Photos & Styling © 2014 Martha Browne)

My Imaginary Magazine Cover- UK Country Living

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I couldn’t resist using an outtake image from my fireplace mantel series for an imaginary magazine cover of UK ‘Country Living.’

(Photo- © 2014 Martha Browne)

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Imaginary Magazine Covers

Decorating@Nibs- More Fireplace Mantels

Over the years, I’ve collected quite a few painted portraits with no idea who the subjects are. They ended up with imaginary names. A few months ago, some friends and I went to a local estate sale. I came home with a wooden chair, two brass candle stick holders and yes… another portrait. This dapper fellow was promptly named Mr. Moore.

Fireplace Mantel #21- Mister Moore

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Process-

1. Cover walls with old drop cloths (detail below right). I suggest using a heavy-duty stapler for this job. Start at the ceiling and work down to the baseboard. Cut any extra fabric off. Side note- You could try stapling the drop cloths at the ceiling and just let them hang loose to the floor.

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2. Prime and paint base molding Benjamin Moore Jackson Tan HC-46 (detail above left).

3. Prime and paint mantel Benjamin Moore English Ochre CW-290 (detail above center).

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4. Mantel Accessories- My portrait of Mister Moore takes center stage. To make it even more interesting, I flipped him upside down. Stacks of old books, cigar box, dried bittersweet, glass vase with daylilies, deer antlers and antique nails are with it.

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5. Other- Old cloth-covered cord pendant light, wire glove dryer, vintage folding carpenter’s ruler, oak chair with leather seat c. 1900 and kilm loom pillow.

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(Photos & Styling- © 2014 Martha Browne)

Decorating@Nibs- More Fireplace Mantels

For this latest mantel idea, I decided to go with a dark navy blue. It’s the perfect backdrop color to showcase a carefully edited grouping of collectibles.

Fireplace Mantel #20- Going Dark

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Process-

1. The fireplace mantel, walls and trim all got the same treatment-  a base coat of black (Benjamin Moore PM) and a finished coat of navy blue (custom mix). Instead of a roller, I used a brush. Yes…it does take longer, but the results are so much better. It allows for texture and blending of colors that you just can’t get with a roller.

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2. Several sheets of blue and white delft tile wrapping paper (similar) covers the firebox.

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3. Mantel Accessories- Less is definitely more. An antique frame with an old photo taped in the center hangs above the mantel. The shelf holds two vintage teapots (the red one is from Hall China c. 1940 and the other from Burleigh), a blue/white planter and a wooden lamp base made by my father. Punches of red makes the display eye-catching.

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4. Other- Fireplace tools with brass handles and a stump painted red.

(Photos & Styling- © 2014 Martha Browne)

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Fireplace Mantels- #17 Colorful Colonial (left), #18 A Botany Lesson (middle) & #19 A Sewing Nook (right)

Sixteen Fireplace Mantels

Decorating@Nibs- More Fireplace Mantels

My grandmother was an avid sewer and she had my grandfather build a small workplace in the corner of their living room. It was so small, she was just able to squeeze in a table, small chest and chair. As a child, I remember how much I loved standing beside her while she worked.

Fireplace Mantel #19- A Sewing Nook

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A fireplace mantel can be the perfect piece to help create a cozy sewing nook.

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Process-

1. The fireplace mantel remains the same mossy green (Benjamin Moore #434) I picked out last time. But baseboard trim was changed from dark blue to match the green.

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2. I’m a big fan for covering walls with fabric. This green rose print is from Joann’s and has a great 1940s look to it. Side Note- That lamp shade is covered in the same print but in red.

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3. Mantel Accessories- I skipped the idea of making a design statement here. This display is all about things that are sentimental. Steiff teddy bear c. 1940s, antique needlepoint, old portrait, plate, tubes of paint in B-mug, metal calendar, basket of dried baby’s breath, vintage toy bike, metal hanger, dollhouse chair, collection of dice, books, frame, wooden Dutch shoes, glass, metal holder with paper flower, etc.

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4. Other- Antique sewing machine, enamel top table, chair, floor lamp c. 1920s, sewing cabinet (family heirloom), vintage child’s dress, container of thread and assorted pictures.

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(Styling & Photos- © 2014 Martha Browne)

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Fireplace Mantels-#17 Colorful Colonial (left) #18 A Botany Lesson (right)

Sixteen Fireplace Mantels

Fashion Character Card #9

Decorating@Nibs- More Fireplace Mantels

Fireplace Mantel #18- A Botany Lesson

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It always amazes me how color and texture can change the whole feel of a room or this case the whole feel of a fireplace mantel. My historical mantel went from yellow-gold to a bright mossy green. And what a difference!

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Process-

1. Cover walls with this fabric from Ikea. Here’s how. You can either- a. Prep walls with a special sealer and spread on a paste that’s made for fabric. b. Furring strips (thin pieces of wood) are spaced (fabric width) and nailed to the wall. Then you shoot staples through the fabric into the strips. c. The easiest method is to use a staple gun and shoot directly into the plaster/lathe or sheetrock.

Apply natural objects to the fabric walls (pressed flowers, leaves, nests, sea shells, insects,etc.) with small nails and/or hot glue.

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2. Paint trim with Behr (at Home Depot) in a custom mix that matches the fabric background.

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3. Prime and paint fireplace mantel Benjamin Moore #434. Next carefully cover the mantel shelf with sheet moss held in place with staples. Side Note- Another idea is to wrap the mantel completely in moss.

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4. Mantel Accessories- Crane claw bookends, books, bell jar, postcard, turtle shell, animal skull, rocks, seed pods and dried plant clipping.

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5. Other- Antique woven chair, paper wasp nest, binoculars and a stone vase that holds my great-grandmother’s walking stick.

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(Styling & Photos- © 2014 Martha Browne)

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Decorating@Nibs- More Fireplace Mantels

I enjoyed decorating a friend’s simple old mantel that I went hunting for one like it. After months of searching, I came across a mantel that was perfect for my new series on color. Now let’s have some fun and decorate!

Fireplace Mantel #17- Colorful Colonial

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Inspiration for this mantel came from the Peter Wentz House in Worcester, PA  c. 1758. The bold color and sponged dots are part of the house’s  intriguing decoration.

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I picked out Benjamin Moore paint colors that I felt were close matches- Stuart Gold (fireplace mantel), Black PM (trim & dots) and Simply White (walls). I suggest either a flat or pearl finish.

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Process-

1. Prime and paint walls white.

2. To mimic the black dots, I used a sea sponge. Keep in mind, a sponge makes the dot shapes imperfect and that’s what you want. To do- Take your sea sponge and cut it in half. The uncut portion will be the part you dip in the paint. Pour a small amount of black paint into a pie pan. Then lightly coat the sponge. You may want to practice sponging the dots (2″ diameter) on some newspaper. You can measure and mark the walls with a pencil as to where to sponge (space 9″ to 12″ apart) or apply the dots freely…stepping back periodically to see where you need them.

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3. Paint base molding black. I’ve read this was a common practice because of dirt. Side note- In a room setting, window trim would be painted gold.

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4. Prime and paint fireplace mantel gold.

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5. Mantel Accessories- Hand carved tray holds fresh pears, framed rooster needlepoint c. 1930s, black silhouette rooster cutting board, old metal spring with feather, iron hook, vintage dust broom, cut paper and antique crock.

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6. Other- Amish straw hat, candle holder, candle, muck boots, redware bowl, antique barrel, chair and hand-loomed rag rug.

(Styling & Photos- © 2014 Martha Browne)

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