Fall Mantel

Northwest weather is typically quite pleasant in September.  But it’s been plain hot here lately. {Well, hot for the northwest!}  The heat has made it challenging  to feel like decorating for fall!  But I didn’t think my starfish and driftwood decor was appropriate anymore since we are in full fall routine here.   So a few days ago, I dug out some of my fall decorations.

This is what I came up with.  It’s simple and uncluttered. And it feels a bit unfinished, but at least I’m headed the right direction!

I picked up some pumpkins and mums at the grocery store.

My ferns were relocated in front of the fireplace.  And my fall burlap banner was hung up.

Bittersweet was added to a watering can…

…and the mantel is complete {for now}.


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Redecorating for a New Client

This week I had the pleasure of heading to Seattle to help Jamie, a new client, with her family room.  Jamie and her family live in a fun, older home that has lots of charm.  She was overwhelmed with the placement of her furniture and the look of her shelves, so she invited me to help her out.  Nothing new was purchased for the transformation.  I just rearranged existing furniture and frames and created a shopping list for Jamie for filler items (such as end tables, a throw, and pillows to add some color to the couches…).  So the room isn’t complete yet…..but we sure made some progress.  Now let’s look at some pictures.

Lots of frames were displayed on the shelves…

And the narrow room made furniture placement a challenge.  The couches were facing each other, perpendicular to the fireplace and tv.

Before we started, I had Jamie walk me through her house so I could see if there was any home decor that we could ‘borrow’ from other rooms to decorate her shelves.  After I spotted some potential items,  I cleared off all of the shelves, creating a blank slate for decorating.

When the shelves were cleared,  I was able to easily assess the different sized pictures that I had to work with.  I created a gallery wall on the floor by arranging and rearranging the frames until I came up with a display that filled the wall space best.


By selecting which pictures would be hung on the walls, I then knew which ones were left to accessorize the shelves.  After raiding the kitchen for a few vases and cutting some fresh flowers from the front yard, I created simple vignette’s of frames, books and  vases.

Here are the new shelves…

The couches and lamps were moved too, giving the room better flow.  The love seat now faces the fireplace and tv….

And the longer couch is perpendicular to the fireplace, in front of the widows.

By moving the couches away from the shelves, it opened the corner up for another chair and side table.  For the time being (until a new chair and table are purchased), I put an extra dining room chair there as a place holder.

Jamie hopes to paint the room soon with a more basic color, like a light gray. And she will add in accent colors with pillows and throws to brighten up the brown leather furniture.

I feel like the walls and shelves clearly display what is important to them….family.  The room has a new, refreshing look – without having purchased a single thing! Doesn’t it look great?!

Let’s take one last look at the before and after…

Thank you, Jamie, for inviting me into your home to help out!


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$75 Fireplace Makeover

One evening this fall, my friend Julie decided it was time to tear out her  fireplace facade.  The builder used sheet rock for the mantel and a tile surround that Julie did not care for.  After living with it for several years, Julie was done and off it came!  Not sure how to proceed, their fireplace stayed like this for a few months.

I figured with a little wood and some effort, I could give her fireplace a new look for not too much money.  Julie took me up on my offer and we started planning.

Kevin and Layla at The Lettered Cottage were our inspiration for this project.  They did something similar with their fireplace and I hoped to create something like it for Julie.

The first step was getting rid of the the gold on her fireplace insert. You might remember my post a few days ago when I did the same thing to our fireplace. With a little high heat spray paint, the gold was gone in a flash!

Thin plywood was measured and cut into a triangular piece for the mantel top.

The same plywood was used for three different sections that became the background of the new fireplace (see numbered picture below). I don’t have a table saw, so I brought the measurements with me and the kind people at Lowes made the cuts for me.

I used a primed 1×6 for the mantel and ‘L’ brackets were attached to the back.  By attaching the L brackets to the mantel top and face, I could avoid having to drill holes through the front (which equals less touch up work in the end).

Once the mantel face was hung and the mantel top was nailed down, I cut molding with mitered corners to trim around the fireplace insert.

After all of the molding was nailed into place, the corners were spackled and the edges caulked.  Then the entire mantel was painted white.

The new mantel was fun to decorate with a splash of bright colors too!  Julie painted some of her existing accessories and I helped her put it all into place for an updated look.

And one last look at the before and after…

It’s amazing what $75 and a little bit of work can do!


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Spring Mantel

A few weeks ago, I said good-bye to the last of the red in my mantel decor.  The holidays are behind us. And now Valentine’s Day is too.  While I don’t think red will ever be completely gone from my home decor, it’s currently gone from my mantel.  It needed a new look.  Something more ‘springy’.

I kept things really simple, but cheery.

I fell in love with the faux green grass (above) when I helped my friend, Heidi, redecorate her house (click here to read more).  The grass is from Michaels and it came in a square.

I pulled out the ‘clumps’ of faux grass and used them as vase filler to go around my candles.

I used a ramekin to give my candle some height.  The grass gave color to the containers and and ended up being a really fun, unique vase filler.

I also used the faux grass in this lantern and placed it on a shelf in my entry.

I’m loving the simple look of my mantel.  Here is one last look….


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Decor for the New Year

So Christmas is over. And that means it’s time to clean up all those Christmas decorations.   But does it mean that winter is over?! No!  In fact, winter just started a few weeks ago.  Spring may have arrived in the Smith and Hawken section at Target. And cadbury eggs may be at the check out in Safeway. But my house isn’t ready for spring decor.  I’m not ready to put away my pine cones and candles…so I didn’t!

I did take down all of my “Merry Christmas” and “Noel” decor.   And I transitioned a few things from Christmas decor to winter decor.  Take a look! (and hopefully you don’t think I’ve fallen off my rocker by calling this a ‘winter look’ when it still clearly looks like Christmas!)

BEFORE – Christmas Mantel
AFTER – Winter Mantel
AFTER – Winter Mantel

I was browsing through the after Christmas sale at Target and found these trees on sale ($22 for the set!). I love them!  Maybe they are the reason I’m not wanting to pack up all of my winter decor!   I’m fairly certain that if we were on vacation at a snowy lodge, there would be white twinkling lights on trees.  So that alone is my justification for keeping these cuties up!

They came in red pots, but I wrapped them in some burlap to soften their look. I like them so much better with the burlap and twine!

On my front porch, I removed the holly from the greens, changed my chalkboard sign and removed the belt from the santa pillow. Quick and easy update for a fresh, new look!
BEFORE – front porch
AFTER – front porch
AFTER – front porch
The greens were officially dead on my dining room table. So it was in dire need of something new.  We just received a fun red tree as a gift, so the dining room table seemed like the perfect place to put it on display!
BEFORE – dining room
AFTER – dining room
And finally, here is the new look on our dining room hutch.
BEFORE – dining room hutch
AFTER – dining room hutch
That’s it from here!  Our home is still decorated for the appropriate season…winter! And maybe if we’re lucky, we might even see snow to go with my decor!
Happy New Year!
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