a touch of nature

For the most part this season, I am decorating with elements inspired by nature.  Rather simply too.  I opted for a lighter, brighter color palette rather than the traditional warm, fall colors.  This palette can also be found at the shop and many of these elements are for sale there.  Typically I am decorating similarly at home as I am at West End Garage.  It keeps things simple!

natural fall mantel display with stacked wood

Cotton stems have been very popular and you can see why.  They’re so easy to work with.  Just plop them in a vase or in this case, a galvanized flower bucket.  They really can be on display from late summer/harvest season through New Year’s.  So many options!  They look good alone or with an accent flower.  I thought it was fun to pair them with twigs and vintage arrows for this vignette.  I used just 3 stems in each bucket to get this look.

cotton & arrows

The other accessories include feather balls, mini pumpkins and antler ornaments.  The antlers are small reproductions so they’re sort of guilt free for people who are into the antler trend but not a fan of decorating with animal relics.  They’re available at West End Garage too along with a quickly growing collection of ornaments.  Tis the season!

simply natural fall mantel

simply natural fall mantel

I got my wish of beautifully stacked wood after pining and pinning!  Our wood burning stove has been installed and is ready for winter.  I love how the seasoned wood accents this display and gives purpose to the mantel.  And the faux bois planter certainly doesn’t hurt.

fall mantel display with stacked wood

Peering past the mantel into the corner, you can see the Captain has something new over there and it’s not just the orange raffia pumpkin (also available at West End Garage).  He’s perched up on a vintage 6-drawer card catalog which I am super excited about.  I spotted this in an antique shop and spent a week dreaming about it for this space while fearing it would be gone by the time I got back.  It was there waiting for me and it is the ideal fit for this corner.  Plus the drawers are the perfect size to hold DVDs.

fall card catalog side table preview

I am deciding where to go from here with it, aesthetically.  It needs to be boosted up a few inches to true side table status.  Probably with casters since I seem to put casters on everything in my home.  Also, should I paint it?  That corner seems dark and the wood isn’t anything spectacular.  Linen seems like a viable option – maybe just the frame and not the drawers?  Please do weigh in!  Would you paint a vintage card catalog?

a collected summer mantel

Memorial Day unofficially marks the beginning of summer but for me, it seems to be Independence Day.  Once the 4th of July hits, we’re all fully aware of the season; the rising temperatures and the long, lingering days followed by breezy evenings.  And it’s right around the corner!

We’ve kept things casual in the seasonal decorating department lately.  Just a rotating collection of vintage and handmade favorites on the mantel.  For summer we have a fish painting on a barn door that was gifted to us along with a handmade swan sculpture, a wedding gift.  Surrounding the art are our own handmade baluster candlesticks plus an endless collection of vintage lanterns.  The yellow planter is borrowed from my McCoy collection which is dispersed throughout the house.

vintage summer mantel

The mantel itself is not original to the house but the art deco piece seems to fit proportionally.  We popped a mirror inside.  This was actually a happy accident as it is doing a great job of bouncing light into this otherwise dark corner.  Over the winter, we painted the wall that it is on.  The previous blue accent wall had to go.  The neutral backdrop is much more conducive to a rotating cast of collections.

And that chair!  Still our favorite rehab to this day.  I’m so glad we decided to keep it.  It was a full gut job, shopped from the curb and saved from the landfill!

vintage collection summer mantel

I’m having a moment with these vintage arrows as well.  So bright, fun & cheerful.  They coordinate well with the Crate & Barrel recycled rag rug in the room too.

vintage collection arrows

That’s where things stand in my current vintage collections.  Seemingly high between lanterns, McCoy and arrows, among other things like aqua mixing bowls and ship captains, not pictured.  What are you collecting this summer?

live spring mantel

After my bridal shower, the house was in total disarray for a day or two.  It was great to find a new place for everything, purge some old hand-me-downs and do some Spring cleaning along the way.

With Spring cleaning, came a new Spring mantel (although it continues to snow here and stay in the 30’s…ho hum).  I have to admit that I halfheartedly put an Easter mantelscape together last week but I was totally uninspired by it…so I took it down before Easter even came.  And up went a simple scape consisting of live plants with our new painting as the focal.
spring/ easter mantel

I found inspiration in the painting’s color palette and went from there.  By the way, doesn’t mini Wilson look so much like real life Wilson?

spring/ easter mantel

Since spring has been so slow to show around here it is nice to have it on display right on the mantel, live plants and all.

spring/ easter mantel

These little ferns, succulents & baby tear’s in the galvanized buckets were also left from the shower.  I just love ‘em.

spring/ easter mantel - baby's tears & fern

It actually occurred to me that just about everything on this mantel was given to me at some point or another!  That’s why you should always shop around your home first when ready for a new look or vignette.  The props you need are probably already there.

spring/ easter mantel kalanchoe

The beautiful, blooming Kalanchoe was left over from a photo shoot a couple of weeks ago.  I used a few vintage canisters as planters.  That is actually a great use for an incomplete set of canisters or one where the lid is lost.  You know, put a plant in it!

kalanchoe - put a plant in it

This bottle was left over from an engagement gift we received last spring.  Once we finished the rhubarb alcohol (sold locally at Art in the Age) I couldn’t toss the bottle.  The graphics & label are too cool.

spring mantel with live plants

And this peacock feather was left over from another wedding.  Perfect in what else but a blue ball jar.

peacock feather & ball jar on the spring mantel

A subtle nod to Easter comes in the form of this wire chick.  Instead of eggs, she’s displaying ice blue vintage camera bulbs that once belonged to Ryan’s father.

Easter chick displaying vintage blue camera bulbs - mantel

And that is what is happening on the Spring mantel.  What’s on yours?  Did you go all out with Easter decor?

Easter/ spring mantel

Linking to Jennifer Rizzo

another mantel to scape

Yes, you heard right.  There is another mantel in my life.  No, I’m not cheating on my first mantel.

art deco coastal mantel

I firmly believe you can never have too many mantels.  And you don’t need a fireplace to go with said mantel.  A really great mantel will add character and speak for itself.  Like this art deco one that I alluded to on Monday.  Check out the lines.  And the subtly distressed wood.  Love the imperfections.

art deco coastal mantel

As promised, beside the mantel sits my new favorite mid-century tweed swivel chair with brass tips.  And a box of driftwood for good measure.

mid-century tweed swivel chair

This vintage/coastal vignette is the new focal point of our beach house living room.  As our home should, it feels like the perfect mix of both Ryan and me.

vintage coastal living room/mantel vignette

This room is large in scale and was in dire need of further updating to get to this point.

Here’s the back story and before shot.

I’ll be honest, I had a mini-bridezilla moment a few months ago when I realized Ryan would be getting ready here for our wedding which means photographers would be set up in THIS ROOM!  It wasn’t ready!  This is what the furnished space originally looked like when we moved in 3 years ago…

living room before

It is like a time warp of someone’s grandmother’s house in 1992.  I began tearing down the thick vinyl wallpaper about 2 days in.  I couldn’t take it.  We did however embrace all of the wood trim.  I know most people would have walked in and painted everything white and called it a beach cottage.  We are going for a “rustic boathouse” look in this bungalow hence natural woods, brass, blues & greens.

D for drywall & dana

After removing the wallpaper, we painted (and discovered a hidden D!).  I believe the blue we chose is called January Frost by Valspar.

painting

And from there, we just moved those hideous couches back in their places and went to the beach for the next couple of years I suppose.  Slowly the side tables and things got changed out but the couches stuck around for far too long.  Ryan tried to convince me that they were vintage but they weren’t what I had in mind and we both agreed that they were very uncomfortable.  Last fall we found a comfy sectional for the space and then things really started to evolve around it.

coastal cottage living room

A lantern turned lamp with a modern shade got added to the mix.

vintage lantern turned lamp

Green shutters from Phantastic Phinds flank either side of the window.  There are lots of aqua touches throughout the room.  I will share the other half of the space in the near future.

art deco beach house mantel

I found this cage 2 summers ago and turned it into a coffee table with casters and a piece of glass.  It houses an anchor and other rotating coastal treasures.

vintage cage turned coffee table

Let’s get back to the mantel though.  The inaugural coastal mantelscape is a bit monochromatic.  I already have some plans to brighten it up for spring but let’s review…

vintage ship wheel

I found that large picture at a consignment shop a few years back.  It is actually a woodburning of a lighthouse scene.

lighthouse woodburning

The vintage bookends are new to us.  We seem to be collecting ship captains around here like our Gorton’s Fisherman painting that now hangs across the room.  And the old man Ryan needlepoint.  I love them all!

fisherman bookends

But doesn’t it look like this captain is wearing lipstick?  Hey, whatever floats your boat! Ha, get it? Boat.  Captain.  Ok…

ship captain bookend

That wraps up where we are with this space at the moment.  More to come I’m sure!  I am already looking for an updated lamp shade for the ship wheel sconce on the left that I purchased from another vendor at West End Garage.

art deco coastal mantel

What’s currently on your mantel?

Linking to:

our merry winter mantel

Our mantel is redone for the season. I really love the symmetry and scale of it this time.  Let’s take a look in the living room shall we!
living room winter mantel

Don’t be distracted by the king’s chair!  Here is a close up of the mantel.

rocking horse mantel

I decided to skip pine roping this year in my decor.  I purchased a couple of plain jane spruces from the hardware store and dropped them in a pair of galvanized buckets.

galvanized planter spruce tree & vintage grain scoops

This way we can plant these along with our ball & burlap Christmas tree in the yard.  See the theme this year?

IMG_8855

Things evolved from there.  I have a growing collection of vintage grain scoops that I knew I wanted to work into the mantelscape this season.

vintage grain scoops

They seem to make the perfect candle holder and are interesting to look at even when they’re not lit up.

vintage holiday/winter mantel

And as for the focal point – that horse!  It is a piece of folk art history that may have been part of a child’s rocking horse or vintage advertising.  I don’t really know for sure.  This is that state I found him in.

folk horse

As soon as I saw him, I knew he was going on the mantel.  Plus he is a perfect match with the rocking horse ornament collection that we displayed on our tree this year.

folk horse

The chippy aqua door is a fun, non-traditional holiday backdrop.  I had a set of 3 of these doors.  The set had once been used for an outdoor cellar entryway.  I sold the other 2 and this is the remaining one.

chippy aqua blue door

And here’s what we’re normally seeing – the glow of the evening fire and mantelscape!  I love it.  I also love the fact that this scene is not specifically Christmas so I won’t feel the need to undo it on January 2nd.  It just might stay up for a few weeks beyond the holidays. IMG_8761

So what do you think the horse’s original use was?

folk horse

Linking to Ten June, Funky Junk Interiors

warm & cozy fall mantel

For as much as I’ve been talking about fall and planning fall events, I haven’t done much fall decorating around my own house which is very unlike me.  I managed to pull together my fall mantel last weekend though.  I love changing the mantels frequently.

You may remember my most recent, late summer mantelscape where I displayed my collection of vintage mixing bowls.

Well that is gone and a neutral color scheme is in.

Neutral is also very unlike me.  Normally I go for the bold colors.  Not this time.  I started out with this vintage picture.  It is a print that I acquired from my grandfather.  The shape and muted color scheme really interested me.  It looks to be a rainy day by the canal in Amsterdam.  So up the picture went with the windmill being the center of the mantel.

You probably noticed the branch candle holder right away.  I have been wanting to create something like this for a long time.  When I found it at a reasonable price at an antique shop recently, I crossed making my own right off the list.

Basically they took a large branch and used a drill press or drill bit to cut out space for candles.  Clever.  Of course I grabbed the coordinating branch candle holders as well.

I just love the warmth all of the candles add to the mantel.

Keeping with the mellow, natural color scheme, I placed some hardwood flooring frames on the left side of the mantel to mimic the framed art on the right.  I particularly like the blue stripe left on the one frame.  The frame is made from old basketball court hardwoods.  You can imagine that blue marking where the point guard stood or something similar.

Subtle pops of blue also show up in the picture.

So I added in a blue canning jar for good measure amongst my natural pumpkins.

I love how the colors of the nearly discarded art inspired an entire mantelscape.

The fireplace is just begging for a roaring fire.  We haven’t gotten that far yet this season though so the candles will have to do.

So what’s on your mantel?

Oh and if you need more inspiration for your fall decorating, come to our Harvest Party this weekend!  Saturday & Sunday 10am – 5pm

1814 Valley Forge Road Worcester, PA

Linking to Home Stories A to Z, Funky Junk Interiors, Centsational Girl