Thursday, July 15, 2010

Foyer Mantel

     Okay, I'm bad.  I have a problem.  It's my birthday in a week and being the good woman that I am, I found my own birthday gift and saved my husband a lot of time and stress (I do this every year!) Do I want a diamond ring? A trip to the day spa? No, I want a mantel.  Yup. Decorator through and through. Our house is wonderful and has so many things we like about it. One very minor complaint, is no mantel.  Not a big thing, but I really missed having a place to decorate with the holidays or just change up because I'm ready for a change but don't want any big decorating project.

To Craigslist I went for the last few months and voila, I found her.  A quick drive 20 minutes away + $40 later = my birthday present. 
I did a quick sand with my little mouse sander and then my daughter and I set to painting her.  I already had paint leftover from painting all the new doors in our house. I wanted it to blend in a bit on the wall and not feel like it was this massive thing ready to fall down on you.
After three coats and 24 hours of drying, I took the mouse sander again and roughed up the edges to really make those layers of molding stand out.

With no fireplace, I obviously had to find a place for this lovely mantel.  No fear, I've had the pefect spot in mind for a long time: my foyer.  It's a fairly large, two-story entry with a large wall.  My previous attempts of slapping up two large pieces of artwork never really felt right.  Six years later of decorating the rest of the house, I finally am getting around to the foyer again.
We made a wood cleat to anchor this heavy baby to the studs. Then I did a quick shop around the house for some accessories and put this together for now:

I fell in love with that little framed print of the bird when I saw it at Goodwill. $4 and she was mine!  Look at the lovely mat and the inked decorative border.  Everything else came from garage sales (including the $40 chandelier and $20 pottery barn rug!)
I feel like this mantle is something substantial to finally help balance out that huge wall.  I wanted it's color to be light enough to match the doors in the adjoining hallway and also keep it from feeling like its about to fall and bop you on the head as you come in.
I know most people don't like having shoes in the foyer, but our coat closet is way too small, around the corner, and let's keep it real-with six kids and two adults, the shoes multiply while you aren't looking and they all end up by the door.  I'm just so thrilled that they're trained to take their shoes off and save my carpets that I'll put up with shoes in the foyer.  I found this cute old shelf in upstate NY and it's been a perfect little shoe shelf.  The rest of the shoes go just inside the garage.

I'm a very happy Birthday girl and will be able to satisfy my decorating cravings with this mantel. I promise not to decorate for Christmas in August like all the stores do!!!

For a little touch of welcome, I printed out this Irish Saying that means "a hundred thousand welcomes" and literally cut out each letter and glue sticked it up!  Hey, I'm frugal and really didn't want to pay for a vinyl version! It's been up almost 3 years and no problems yet.

And here's how the mantle looked for a few different seasons:

Internet Inspirations:

Here are some beautiful images of mantels in places other than over the fireplace.

As a headboard.

(by Molly Frey)
As an accent shelf. Love the corbels on it.

(a fanciful twist)
A headboard again.

(coastal living)
Love the lamps with the headboard.

(curious sofa)
I love how a mirror was placed in the fire-insert area and then hung high.

Beautiful chippy-old mantel (maybe check the paint for lead?!)

(willow decor)
I love how this acts almost as a buffet table in a small-spaced dining room.

Aren't those mantel-like shelves in the kitchen gorgeous?! (This kitchen re-do is amazing if you want to check out the blog.)

Have you done something unique with a mantel? Seen any fun ideas? Share them with me if you have, I'd love more ideas.

I'm participating In:

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Throw-Away Cabinet Re-do

So I'm out hitting the garage sales a few weeks ago and I'm seeing a lot of big items in everyone's garbage.  I quickly figure out that it must be that city's annual big-item collection day. I start looking a little closer at everyone's garbage as I slowly drive past each house (I know, I have no shame!) Suddenly, I spot this beauty:
Okay, so she's got a few blemishes (who doesn't?!), like water damaged sides:
Other than that, she's solid.  Look at the carved drawer fronts and those lovely dove-tail joints:
I even love the cute pulls of the drawers:
I knew she was the cabinet I'd been looking for to work as a TV stand in our basement when it is finished. I started her makeover by ripping off the water-warped side panels and cutting some leftover beadboard that I already had:
I used some liquid nails to stick the new panels on and used some duct tape to hold it in place while it dried.
In the meantime, I removed all the hardware and bought some new lower knobs.  I stuck them all in an old piece of styrofoam and sprayed them all black.
And then luck of lucks, I found the perfect quart of mis-tint paint at Home Depot for $3! I did 3 coats and here she is after her makeover:

I may antique it a bit, but I'm waiting until I get her down into the basement to decide which look will be best. Until she gets down there, she's found a temporary home on the landing upstairs:
I love her! It was a perfect fit for my budget too. All it cost me was $3 in paint, about $6 in knobs and a little lack of self-respect to pull it out of someone's trash! I found another beauty in another home's garbage that I'm saving for my daughter's room in the basement (nothing is too good for my own flesh-and-blood!) haha. That'll be in a future post...

On a Funny Note:

Have you seen this gal's website? It is called Catalog Living and it is hilarious! Maybe the guys won't get it, but all you decorators will love it. She finds pictures from real catalogs and makes humorous and sarcastic captions poking fun at their displays and arrangements. Like these:

Climate control…

Elaine wasn’t about to let some hot flashes get
in the way of balancing the checkbook with the abacus.


A twist of something…

Elaine was not amused by Gary’s passive-aggressive
response to her request to “garnish the cocktails.”

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