The Country Mouse

Go into the most scruffy, unkempt, impoverished manor house in any part of England, and you will find an abundance of cut flowers in almost every room. While mice eat the books and mushrooms grow out of the paintings, flowers- on the piano, in the window, on the sideboard- hold up their heads in defiance of fate.” – ‘ English Country’ by Caroline Seebohm & Christopher Simon Sykes, 1987.

This quote captures the enthusiastic embrace of flowers which comes with the warm weather. I don’t know about you but this spring couldn’t come fast enough. I’m planning to fill my clay pots with all kinds of herbs and bring in garden flowers to arrange around our new home. I hope you’ll find some spring inspiration in the pages of my latest issue of ‘The Country Mouse.’

(Photo- Martha Browne)

Something New

To kick off a new year here on Nibs, I decided to do an online magazine called ‘Country Mouse.’ This is to be the first of four seasonal issues. Curious about what’s inside? Here’s a peek.

(Cover, leaves and design photos – 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 Our Farmhouse #2

kitcheninspiration-optThe next big house project will be our kitchen. And I’ve been spending a lot of time going through my stash of ‘The World Of Interiors‘ for inspiration. Key point- I want the kitchen to respect the house’s architecture (1800’s) but not so much that it ends up feeling like a museum. It’s a bit of a design tightrope, I know. Wish us luck! :)

(Photo- 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

D.I.Y.- Real Easy Christmas Displays

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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).

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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

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#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)