Category Archives: Interiors

~candid spaces~

A series of photographs showing home exteriors, interiors and gardens as I found them. No effort was made in styling.


(Photo- © 2014 Martha Browne)

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




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.


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).


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.


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.


(Photos & Styling- © 2014 Martha Browne)

A See-Through Wall


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.


(Photos-Caroline Allison for Garden & Gun Magazine)

Artwork- Leo Putz


Oil painting ‘My Garden‘ by Leo Putz c. 1926

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!


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

Summer Cottage In Maine




When I came across this small Maine cottage, my heart skipped a beat. I love that this place hasn’t changed much since its construction in 1903.

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



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.


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


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.


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

(Photos & Styling- © 2014 Martha Browne)

Related Nibs posts-


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

Sixteen Fireplace Mantels

A Page From…


…’Family Houses By The Sea

by Alexandra D’Arnoux & Jerome Darblay 1993

Related Nibs posts-

Book- ‘Seaside Interiors

For Sale: Seaside Cottage

Fashion Character Card

Family Album- Weekend Sailing

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


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



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.


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.


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.


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.


(Styling & Photos- © 2014 Martha Browne)

Related Nibs posts-


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

Sixteen Fireplace Mantels

Fashion Character Card #9

The Year Of The Horse

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