From Christmas Mantel & Halloween Mantel To Spring Mantel

Having a fireplace in the kitchen is definitely something that we think is charming (it’s the heart of the home, and even though it’s not functional, just tucking a basket of Clara’s toys or books in there and having a spot to display stuff above the mantel is our idea of a good time). Well, maybe I should say it’s my idea of a good time, since I’m pretty sure John could commit to whatever we have up there at any given time for the next ten years. I, on the other hand, like to turn surfaces like the mantel into a rotating display or sorts. Not every day or even every few weeks, but it’s safe to say that around once a month I get a wild hair and decide to switch some things out. And our mantel has undergone quite the transformation since we moved in. Here are just a few “takes” on it, over the last fifteen months here:

About a week after we moved in (in mid December of 2010) we wanted to cozy up the room full of brick and paneling, so I slapped some holiday stuff up there and called it a day:

A while later (after priming and painting the brick and the mantel), I kept it simple with two fauxpiaries (faux topiaries) from Crate & Barrel and a round hanging mirror along with a mirror in the firebox, and a tray full of candles. This definitely wasn’t Clara friendly, I was just having mommy fun when she went off to bed:

After priming and painting the paneled walls (which look extra green here since we didn’t have good kitchen lighting installed yet), I added some Halloween stuff, complete with some homemade bleeding candles:


Then it was decorated for our second Christmas here, with a mirror that later moved into the living room, some stockings, a basket full of presents, and a few feather trees (eeks, the colors are all sorts of terrible in this pic, again since we didn’t have our new kitchen lighting installed yet):

Well, now it looks like this (don’t mind that one remaining broken light that we’ve been meaning to replace for months now):

Oh yes, and we still haven’t trimmed out the area where the cork meets the tile surround yet (but you know we’ll share pics when we do)!

Here’s a little side action:

You might notice one of my favorite birthday presents ever, this little painting of Burger from my insanely thoughtful friend Lesli (who is one of the most talented painters I know). Yup, I cried when I opened it. It just captures him perfectly (she used this picture to base it on). I love that it’s small and chunky (the canvas is extra thick and just 9 inches wide/tall). And for everyone sweetly wondering how he’s doing since this incident, he’s back to his usual happy self, thank goodness. We are so grateful.

Of course these blooms won’t stay up there nearly as long as my beloved Burger portrait probably will (darn you tulips, why must you die?) but for now I’m loving them in this bright green vase. It was one of those free vases that came with a birthday bouquet that a friend sent me last year (it was sitting in my little decorating cabinet waiting to get some action).

Oh and I got those tulips last Wednesday since we were hosting some Easter guests and I wanted to brighten up the house. They’re still looking happy thanks to reclipping their stems and refreshing the water every few days (and dropping an old penny in the water to help keep them from getting too floppy).Yay tulips! But I think I might only get one more week out of them. Sniffle. But I guess that opens me up to a whole new mantel makeover. Haha. And so it continues…

Do you have a mantel or another surface (the top of a console, dresser, your coffee table or dining table?) that you tweak every once in a while? Can you believe we lived with that dark paneling and weird lighting that made everything look neon as long as we did? I can’t either.


  1. says

    Wow, its just amazing how much lighter and brighter the kitchen is after all the changes you’ve made! The fireplace and mantle look great painted white and I love the springy theme!

  2. says

    I wish I could be the person who changes their mantle up so often. We have a gorgeous mantle that we propped up some frames the first month we moved in and with some candles called it done. It’s never changed for the seasons or anything. Maybe one of these days I’ll make it extra spring-y!

    • says

      You can totally do it! In our first house I never changed things – or if I did it was just for holidays and it went back to exactly the same old look. But for some reason in our second house I have been having more fun moving lots of things around and trying to resist the urge to call anything completely done. It’s just more fun to tweak things and switch out pillows and poufs and lamps and art and accessories from time to time, ya know?


  3. Karen F says

    Sherry, I just wanted to say you’ve got quite the eye for styling! My fireplace/mantel is painted brick (even the mantel is brick, have you ever heard of that?) and the brick on the mantel is uneven, so I can’t place much up there or it might tip! I’m hoping to someday overlay the mantel with wood and some molding to make it prettier and more stable, so I can place decorative items up there.

    Thanks for the tip about the penny in the tulips! I bought several bunches this weekend, too…off to try it now!

    • says

      Haha, we hear that from blog readers sometimes (no one who has met him in person has said it- so maybe it’s a photograph thing?). I sort of see it but not the ears at all!


    • says

      That used to be in Clara’s room for a few months. It’s from Joss And Main on clearance! I was so torn about what color to pick (they have green, blue, yellow, brown, etc) but white seems to work in every room- so it moves around! Haha.


  4. Tracy Jones says

    That Burger painting is amaze-balls as you might say. I looked at Lesli’s paintings, and that might be her best yet. What are the chances you could talk her into a YHL reader discount on pet portraits? Hint hint…

  5. Connie says

    Love the mantel (and the room). That’s a really sweet painting of Burger! It would look super cute on a little black easel.

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