Category Archives: Displays

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)

A See-Through Wall

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During the process of working on a 19th century house, the homeowners discovered stud walls of hand-hewn wood with pegs. They made a bold design decision by leaving one whole wall exposed and using it as display shelving.

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(Photos-Caroline Allison for Garden & Gun Magazine)

Designed By Orla Kiely

orla-kiely-canisters-container-store-optA Little- Colorful retro inspired canisters designed by Orla Kiely for The Container Store. Get them while supplies last!

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A Lot- Orla Kiely’s first furniture collection includes this larder cabinetsquare table, and fabric covered chairs.

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)

Related Nibs posts-

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

Sixteen Fireplace Mantels

A Page From…

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…’Family Houses By The Sea

by Alexandra D’Arnoux & Jerome Darblay 1993

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Book- ‘Seaside Interiors

For Sale: Seaside Cottage

Fashion Character Card

Family Album- Weekend Sailing

The Year Of The Horse

opt-horse-bit-details-artwork-williams-sonomaReproduction prints of 18th century horse bits from Williams-Sonoma.

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- Fireplace Mantels

Rustic Foyer

Display- Plastic Boxes

Nature Garland

IDEA- Frames & Staircase

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 I never get tired of seeing an entire wall of artwork and photographs, especially up a set of stairs.

(Photo- Pottery Barn)

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IDEAS- Shelf Life, Wing It, Victorian Sofa, The Big Picture, Wall Of Plates, Astaire & Rogers Chandelier, Rug Show

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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Decorating@Nibs- 16 Fireplace Mantels

A Bright Future- Yellow

Repurpose- Placemat

It’s so much fun to repurpose something. Here a simple woven placemat from West Elm becomes a chair pad in minutes.

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Note- Placemats are sold online as a set. But I was able to purchase just one for under $6 at the store.

Need-

Placemat, fabric, 2 breadwrapper twist ties and a pair of scissors.

Process-

1. Poke a twist tie end into a corner of the placemat. Do the same with the second twist tie.

2. Then take your material and cut strips of 2″ wide x 27″ long (or longer if you prefer). Note- I tore my strips leaving the edges uneven and frayed.

3. Attach each fabric strip (at it’s midpoint) to the twist ties.

4. Put strips through the back of the chair and secure with a knot.

(Styling & Photo- © 2014 Martha Browne)

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Repurpose- Gravy Boat, Paper Table Runner