My Imaginary Book Cover

One of the most enjoyable projects I’ve ever done for Nibs was a series of fireplace mantels. The mantel was in the master bedroom of an old house that I got to borrow for several weeks. I indulged myself with all kinds of ideas that I’d always wanted to try out in my own home but couldn’t. And now I’m toying with the fun idea of doing a small, self-published book using them.

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D.I.Y.- Cy Twombly Blackboard Artwork

I know I could never afford a real piece of artwork by Cy Twombly but I thought it might be fun to try and copy one of my favorites…his blackboard covered in scribbles.

All you need is a piece of black foam core (32″ x 40″), chalk and a rag. Before doing the design take a piece of chalk, lay it on its side and lightly rub it over the entire surface of the foam core. Then use a rag and remove some of the chalk. You should be left with a coating of white dust. Now go ahead and mimick Towmbly’s strokes or create your own.

(Photo- Martha Browne)

Interiors- Where Do I Start?

When decorating a room, I love starting with a fireplace mantel. It seems that if I get that right (colors, accessories) then the rest of the design decisions (furniture, lighting, etc.) fall into place. And if by chance there isn’t an existing mantel, well…I find a blank wall and put one there. :)

colorfulfireplacemantelseriesofsix-optThe images (above) are all from my series of ideas based on a single fireplace mantel.

Top row- Colorful Colonial, A Botany Lesson, Fall’s Bounty

Bottom row- A Swedish Holiday, Mister Moore, Going Dark

Others- A Novelty, Juxtaposition

(Photos & Styling- Martha Browne)

Decorating@Nibs- More Fireplace Mantels

What’s a novelty fabric/wallpaper print? In a nut shell, novelty prints use familiar objects in a cool, repeating pattern. Of course, from a distance it’s hard to tell what the objects are. But then you take a closer look and…surprise!

Fireplace Mantel #26- A Novelty

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Process-

1. Cover the walls in a novelty fabric (or wallpaper). I chose a print with scissors…that’s right, scissors. :) This one is from Joann’s.

2. Prime and paint the mantel ‘China White’ by Benjamin Moore.

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3. On the mantel- I didn’t want a scissor theme display. Too predictable. Instead I played off the print colors- gray (tarnished antique tea set, photographs and mats) & yellow (textured vase, flowers and lemons). Also, note how the model’s hand complements the natural wood frames.

4. Other- If I were to keep going with this design I’d love to use this DWR chair or a set of them for…say a breakfast nook.

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(Photos & Styling- Martha Browne)

Related Nibs posts-

Fireplace Mantel Series

Decorating@Nibs- More Fireplace Mantels

Christmas has come and gone…so why am I posting a holiday mantel display? As I was going through things in our basement (initial packing for our move) I came across these ornaments. And I just had to do a quick arrangement for my series before putting them in a box.

Fireplace Mantel #25- Christmas Village

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Process-

1. Use Ikea fabrics- wood plank (for the walls) and logs (for the firebox). The mantel remains Benjamin Moore’s China White.

2. On the mantel- Collection of handmade small scale homes and barns, HO scale figures/deer, diorama trees, folk art wooden hearts/stars garland, and natural wreath with craft store burlap ribbon.

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(Photos & Styling- Martha Browne)

Related Nibs post-

Fireplace Mantel #23- A Swedish Holiday

Fireplace Mantel #14- Retro Christmas

Fireplace Mantel #10- Christmas Portrait

Decorating@Nibs- More Fireplace Mantels

The design term ‘juxtaposition’ has been used for years. But in all honesty what exactly does it mean? Juxtaposition is defined as putting things together (purposely placing them side by side) in order to create an interesting (and fun) contrast.

Fireplace Mantel #24- Juxtaposition

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Process-

1. This display starts with leaf patterned walls that complements the classic fireplace mantel painted Benjamin Moore China White.

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2. On the mantel- Three framed prints done in felt-tip markers by photographer William Eggleston 2009, assorted small scale chairs, Ikea black clip-on lights, craft paints, solar powdered bulb/toy and a book.

(Photos & Styling- Martha Browne)

Related Nibs post-

Fireplace Mantel #23- A Swedish Holiday

Fireplace Mantel #22- Fall’s Bounty

Fireplace Mantel #21- Mister Moore