Styling the New Mantel

It took making-over the surrounding space, but I think the mirror has a new home at Sugarplum Casa! My waffling days about the mirror are over!

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Styling mantels, tables, bookcases and vignettes is something I’m fairly new at, and haven’t quite mastered the skill (yes, it’s a skill!). I worked on this one several times over a 5-day period, and went through countless items laying around my house, before settling for now on this version.

Here’s a time lapse of how I built this mantelscape by layers. I started with the antique candelabras I recently inherited (I love having reminders of my grandparents all throughout the house). The marble bases look so much grander against the black mantel.

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(This picture is not out-of-focus, you just need to quick hitting the bottle.)

Next came a botanical print from Bombay (is that store still around?) and our initial from Hobby Lobby. The black and metallic unites the first layer, and the mirror. I’m in a ‘prop things up’ phase, so I like how they lean together against the mirror.

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Then I added some height and a pop of color with faux stems in a pink Tuesday Morning vase. The coral helped to balance out the left side, and satisfied my need to group items by 3.

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I was fairly content with the mantel at this point, but really wanted one more quirky item. Enter Furbish Studio and Jamie’s amazing collection of accessories. When she posted new shop pics on her blog, I Suwanee, this Brass Urchin jumped off the screen at me. I had to have it, and thank goodness for her speedy shipping because I was eager!

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I love this crazy little guy! But I knew I would, I think Jamie and her taste can do no wrong.

Picnik collage

I also scaled back the gallery wall beneath the pass-thru for a cleaner look. The art is actually a needlepoint by my great-grandmother, that hung in my baby nursery. (Yes, I’m completely sentimental and have the makings of a hoarder. Thankfully I’m also a chronic purger.) Bonus points for anyone who can identify the little seat (which is of course another family item!)

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And just to keep it real, designing this mantelscape took no fewer than 27 picture texts to my patient and wildly talented Aunt! You’re only seeing the finished product, not the anal process.

Picnik collage

I’m completely smitten with the whole thing…the mirror, the black mantel, and my favorite new accessory!

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So smitten in fact, that I had a little photoshoot starring my urchin friend!

Picnik collage

Picnik collage

Yep, it’s fabulous pretty much anywhere! And although I’m not technically working on the Living Room makeover yet, the new mantel has helped to elevate it to a more glamorous room.

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I still think I’ll paint the brick, and my waffling has begun again with a new color option on the armoire. But that’s another post. My mantel has certainly had many lives, but this one fits the direction I hope to go in the room. What do you think?

Leave a Comment

32 Comments

  1. it is looking great! i like the mantel in black with the mirror- it looks so sleek!

    Posted 3.30.11 Reply
  2. Simply LKJ wrote:

    Love it Cassie! It all came together quite nicely. I was thinking about your candle holders when you showed us the mirror. Perfect match!!

    Posted 3.30.11 Reply
  3. Looking great, Cassie! I LOVE the little urchin guy! Off to check out Jamie's shop!

    Posted 3.30.11 Reply
  4. That little urchin is the cutest thing! Love your styling – that mirror is just gorgeous!

    Posted 3.30.11 Reply
  5. it looks great!

    Posted 3.30.11 Reply
  6. Jacci wrote:

    I love it! ANd I love painted brick (I'll be painting mine after the summer), *but* from the pics I think your brick isn't a bad color at all. I'd maybe wait until you have the other changes made before you decide.

    You know what I'd love to see? I'd love to see a graphic lumbar pillow on the ferny wingback and I'd love to see a gilt pot or something on the little table beside it. Just a little graphic punch (wide stripes?) on the chair would really help the fabric blend w/ the new mantle look and just a dash of a metallic on the little table would help tie it in as well. Or you could switch out the little table for something lightweight and brass, etc. But, I really like what you've done so far to make the mirror you love work in the room!

    Great job (both to you and your aunt, lol).

    ~Jacci

    Posted 3.30.11 Reply
  7. Jacci wrote:

    ooooh, look who's wordy today 🙂 but i had to come back and say that I'd actually put some "cool" metal on the little table, but still something quite shiny/glam – like chrome, maybe. Just to bring the same feel down to the more traditional layer beneath the mirror. Ok, I'm done! And I *know* you'll do something fabulous. You have a great eye 🙂

    Posted 3.30.11 Reply
  8. Love it Cassie..and your new little friend is awesome!!! x

    Posted 3.30.11 Reply
  9. Looks great! I love your urchin friend, however on my last trip south I stepped on one.. so not fun!

    Posted 3.30.11 Reply
  10. I really like the pink vase and your urchin friend. I think I need an urchin friend for my coffee table…

    Posted 3.30.11 Reply
  11. I love your mirror!!! I think your brick would look amazing painted!!! super cute…all of it!

    Posted 3.30.11 Reply
  12. Well done! The styling is fabulous. That brass urchin thing is super fun. I want one.

    Posted 3.30.11 Reply
  13. I love how eclectic everything is! It looks great! AHH and I love your comment about hitting the bottle! AHAHA! Too funny! 🙂

    Posted 3.30.11 Reply
  14. I love the black mantel- doesn't black make ever brass/gold accessory just so much more fabulous? I think you styled in perfectly. I have one suggestion…I think the floor needs some black just so the darker elements on the mantel are picked up in the rest of the room. Could you put that rug in your bedroom and replace with a more graphic punch? And then maybe add some black/mixed coloured cushions to the white sofa? And ps, LOVEE the urchin and your fabulous candelabras!!

    Posted 3.30.11 Reply
  15. Holli wrote:

    It really does look good… I love what you came up with!

    Posted 3.30.11 Reply
  16. I love the urchin and the finished mantel.

    Posted 3.30.11 Reply
  17. Where is your rug from?? Just found your blog. Lots of great ideas!

    Posted 3.30.11 Reply
  18. I love that we can put awesome accessories like that little urchin and quotes from "Scarface" in the same post! (c: And the mantel looks amazing…I'm *so* glad you decided that you like that mirror because it is lookin' oh-so-good! I don't think Jaime realizes the lives she is blessing by her good taste (c;

    Posted 3.30.11 Reply
  19. Fab job! Definitely loving the black mantel and the little urchin is too cute!! Can't wait to see what you do with the rest of the space!

    Posted 3.30.11 Reply
  20. Elsa wrote:

    It looks really good! And thanks for reminding that I need to quit hitting the bottle 😉 I really love the black on the mantle!

    Posted 3.31.11 Reply
  21. Ooooooh, that urchin is amazing!!! Everything looks REALLY great 🙂

    Posted 3.31.11 Reply
  22. I want an urchin friend too! The mantel looks great!

    Posted 3.31.11 Reply
  23. Looks great! I love the balance you created with your accessories & the urchin is awesome, well done!

    Posted 3.31.11 Reply
  24. It looks fantastic! Good job!

    Posted 3.31.11 Reply
  25. emily wrote:

    Perfect! That urchin is too cute. I am going to go check out her shop — it's been too long.

    Posted 3.31.11 Reply
  26. That vase really did wonders to brighten up that space. It always amazes me how just an accessory of two can transform an area.

    I think the mirror has found a great new home!

    Posted 3.31.11 Reply
  27. Anonymous wrote:

    This room confuses me…

    The mirror,the pink/blue flowered rug, the rustic armoire, give a feeling of this room being all over the map.

    Sorry.

    Posted 4.1.11 Reply
  28. The mantle looks great Cass! I'm still jealous of that mirror! I can't believe you found that vase at Tuesday Morning- I always forget about that place! Now I can't wait to see what you're gonna do with the armoire??!!

    Posted 4.2.11 Reply
  29. Michele wrote:

    You did a fabulous job with that mantle – black is EXACTLY what that mirror needed and you decorated it perfectly. Well done!

    Posted 4.14.11 Reply
  30. Michele wrote:

    You did a fabulous job with that mantle – black is EXACTLY what that mirror needed and you decorated it perfectly. Well done!

    Posted 4.14.11 Reply
  31. Amanda wrote:

    Its beautiful!! layers-its all about layers!! and I LOVE trays-anything looks better on a tray! Very lovely!

    Posted 5.10.11 Reply
  32. Amy wrote:

    Hi Cassie! I used your mantel styling photo in my fireplace inspiration post today! What a great deal on that mirror! I've never seen one like it.

    P.S.- Sorry for the blog-stalking 🙂

    Posted 6.10.11 Reply