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



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.


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.


(Photos & Styling- Martha Browne)

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Fireplace Mantel Series

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#3. Another old idea that’s worth revisiting. All you need is a small bucket (mine is an antique lard container), tapered candles and play sand (check Home Depot).


Fill the bucket with sand and insert the candles. Perfect as a table centerpiece.

Note- Remember…don’t leave this display unattended.

(Photos & Styling- © 2014 Martha Browne)

D.I.Y.- Real Easy Christmas Displays


#2. Here are two fun and simple things to add to your front door for Christmas. A classic pine wreath is fine but if you can…look for something a bit different. In this case, I used boxwood (similar). Try to purchase the wreath smaller than average size, too. For the door handle, hang a large jingle bell. Red ribbon with white dots is from my own stash of leftovers.

(Photo & Styling- © 2014 Martha Browne)

Decorating@Nibs- More Fireplace Mantels

Other countries can provide such wonderful inspiration for interiors. I loved the idea of doing a mantel design with a nod towards Sweden. My immediate thought was of Carl Larsson and the home he and his wife Karin created. Of course, I always like to mix in things to make it my own. And I encourage you to do the same. :)

Fireplace Mantel #23- A Swedish Holiday



1. Prime/paint walls Benjamin Moore Fresh Peach #060.


2. Prime/paint baseboard and fireplace mantel Benjamin Moore China White.


3. Prime/paint detail molding Benjamin Moore green #434.


4. On the mantel- Framed print c. 1700s, old photo, brass candlesticks with candles, fresh tulips in a glass vase and lots of garden bulbs.


5. Other- Antique candle holders, framed botanical prints, Steiff teddy bear, wooden shoes (from Margot), family heirloom table, vintage cross stitch tablecloth, D.I.Y. chair cover, gingerbread cookies with checked ribbon, rug and log print fabric (check Ikea for availability).

(Photos & Styling- © 2014 Martha Browne)

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Fireplace Mantel #22- Fall’s Bounty

D.I.Y.- Real Easy Christmas Displays


#1. This idea isn’t anything new but it’s still a good one especially if you’re pressed for time. All you need is a sprig of pine, an ornament, ribbon and a wine glass.


Arrange as pictured above. It’s as easy as that. Make up several of these and display them on book shelves, a fireplace mantel and table tops.

(Photos & Styling- © 2014 Martha Browne)

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


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.


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



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

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


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.


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)

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)