Adding Some Charm

I’ve been in a quandary as to what to do with the fireplace. When we first moved in, a friend came over to help me with colors. She pointed out that the fireplace would never be able to compete with the view, but a little paint could give it more of a presence.

So I bought some dark paint to outline the mantle and hearth and fear took over. I don’t have the steadiest hand; I’m not nearly as precise as the Mr. Would he totally freak out if I painted it while he was at work?

Fast forward six months to August when I turned to you guys for help choosing a color scheme–thanks again to the 10 fabulous people who voted. I still wasn’t sure. Two months later, we had a blank canvas ready to be painted at a moments notice. This fireplace was just sad.

Over the last 20 years, we’ve owned three houses all of which had fireplaces. This is the very first one with a mantle. I’ve asked for mantles for Christmas, explained how it would give the fireplace at our old house such a presence, all to no avail. We’ve lived here for nine months and I’ve left the fireplace almost completely unadorned. I’ve been given something I’ve wanted for years and totally neglected it. Now this isn’t simply a chintzy little shelf; this is 10-feet of corners and angles and goodness. This is a mantle to be proud of.

So yesterday I got busy. It was time to add a little charm.

Take a look from the side.

The plant has been on the floor near the french doors in the dining room. It drops a ton of needles and is so messy I’ve been on the verge of tossing it. Maybe it won’t get bumped as much by the fireplace, and it certainly softens the corner. The rusted wrought iron candle holders were in our master bath. They didn’t fit the vibe at all in our room, but pick up on the copper in the wall hanging. I’m a sucker for intricate patterns. Maybe it’s time for some new tall pillar candles to give them a fresh look.

I was going through boxes in the garage awhile back and found this unusual bronze-colored vase with grapes in relief. While it’s not really my style–it was leftover from the Mr’s folk’s business–it works great for a fall floral display with the sunflowers and leaves from our yard.

Scale in this room is so hard to translate into photos. The fireplace is sunken and the mantle is actually 6 1/2 feet off the ground. I do all this arranging on my step stool. The candle and stand are almost 2 1/2-feet tall. And the copper wall hanging is 3-feet across. Almost everything appears too small in this space.

In a nod to Halloween, I used a collection of Edgar Allan Poe volumes to add height to the copper candle holder.

I’m amazed how just a few pieces make such a difference to this space. They soften the angles and add a heaping helping of charm.

It will take just a few minutes to get the fireplace ready once I commit to paint colors, but for now it makes me smile.

I guess the lesson is to make life the best it can be wherever you’re at. You don’t have to wait till you’ve figured it all out to be happy.

For those of you who have known us forever, you may be saying we didn’t have a fireplace in our first house. Well, we did when we moved in. The Mr removed the fireplace and coat closet to add a lot of square footage to our teeny-tiny living room. Remember the sub-floor by the front door we lived with for a year?

And for those of you wondering how the to-do list is coming along, I’ve cut the dowels to size and added them to the bottom of the shades in the guest room, and cut foam for the leather chair. One arm down, one to go, and I have foam bits everywhere to prove it. Maybe making a list is all I need to do to stay on task.

Have you done any fall decorating? Is your mantle in need of some charm?


7 thoughts on “Adding Some Charm

  1. Kim: I love the nod towards Halloween with the Poe books. Are pre-thinking Christmas mantle decor? You have such a lovely space, I am sure it will be wonderful!

    • I so love Christmas–the joy of the season and decorating–now finally I have a place to hang the stockings.

      I’m not sure I have Christmas books as elegant as the Poe collection for the mantle. Jingle Bell Bugs isn’t quite as classy. I guess we’ll wait and see.

      Thanks so much for commenting. 🙂

  2. Looking good! With the color sceme of the decorative items, I’m afraid the blue that I voted for will work…just I’m afraid I decorate 100% less than I used to. I hate the putting away. We have a very plain mantle. It is basically a rough glock of wood (as in about 5 in tall, and the width of the fireplace setting on two smaller blocks of wood that are part of the fireplace. I was always going to try a dark crackle finish on it. I tried once, but it is so rough, it didn’t quite work. I should mention, the fireplace and mantle are painted your favorite – wait for it – white. It was an off white before the fire, and when we painted we went with a very white finish. I used our wall color that really makes it pop. It is a deep brown and I love the whole package now. I added a light colored print with a dark frame that sets on the mantle. The accessories make all the difference in the work.

    I love watching your house transform – and I love the pieces you have added!

  3. Oh boy do I love what you did with the fireplace!! You really have an eye for decorating. The candle and holder that were by the front door, and now adorn the fireplace came from Mr.’s dad’ parents when they were in Italy taking 19 handicapped tourists on everyone’s (including Granny and Gramps) first trip overseas. That was over 45 years ago…….almost an antique now!

    • Now Lori, I don’t have a problem with white, it’s just white when everything is white that I get a little crazy. White set off by chocolate brown sounds lovely.

      MK, I knew that candle was from Granny and Gramps. Thanks for the backstory.

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