I didn’t talk much before about how our mantel is currently decorated, but it’s probably my favorite part of the room right now. This mantel is always such a challenge for me because it’s only about six inches deep, so a lot of the pieces I’d like to use up there are too big, or I simply can’t arrange things to get the layered look I’m after. This time however, it all fell into place and I love it.
Last fall as I was browsing one of my favorite local shops (Lucky Junk in Arlington Heights for those of you in the Chicago area), I was stopped dead in my tracks by this beautiful carved wood frame.
The tone of the wood is spot on, the carving is beautiful without being too much, and I knew the size would be perfect for hanging over the fireplace. No way was I leaving the store without it.
I knew I wanted to use it as part of our Christmas decorations, but I loved it so much I didn’t want to take it down after the holidays were over – although you all know the shelf life of things around here – I’m sure it will get relocated at some point!
Of course I could always have a piece of mirror glass put in this beauty, but I love how versatile old empty frames like this can be – even those without intricate detail. For now, I’m choosing to use it to provide a backdrop for the tin buckets holding the dried hydrangea branches.
The wood/tin/white/branch combo of this whole set up is such an inspiration to me. I kind of want it to be a jumping off point for how I decorate the rest of my house all year.
The buckets were a Christmas gift and are from Magnolia Market (you can find them here) – they’re great because they can be used as vase or they can hang on the wall. I found the branches at West Elm while out Christmas shopping (sometimes you gotta bring home a present or two for yourself, right?) – I was so smitten with them I had to bring a couple home even though I didn’t know where I would use them – I think they look so pretty against the metal.
I do want to mention a couple of things about these branches in case you’re interested in purchasing your own: 1) They’re much shorter than they appear. I just stuffed the buckets with plastic bags and paper so they would stick out enough (very professional, I know), but it’s important to keep in mind if you would be using a larger vessel that is clear. 2) I also added in a few bare branches that I had in the basement for filler – I only have two of the hydrangea branch bundles up there (they can be found here).
For the other side of the mantel I kept it simple with a few old books and a couple of birch bark votive holders.
Remember these holders from a previous post? I fell in love with them, but by the time I went back to order they were sold out. I tried two different stores in my area and only came up with one holder. By pure accident, I was wandering through Michaels and saw a simple birch log – duh – how easy to just make my own?! Sometimes the simplest ideas are the ones we think of last.
And that’s how this whole mantel came together. It’s a perfect blend of all the things I love the most – weathered wood, white, metal, old books, candlelight…I really can’t decide which element is my favorite. What do you think?