Sunday, April 11, 2010

Warmth in the Living Room

So this is our new project half completed. Come Autumn, we'll insert an opening with a gas fireplace. My parents bought us this beautiful antique mantel from an antique shop. It was originally intended for our new house.

But we decided to install it in our current home because 1.what would be do with ourselves without another project? and 2.we can enjoy it for the few years we have left here and will add value to the home once the market improves. But the last two reasons are really just excuses for #1. ;)

It originally came from a hotel filled with French antiques. The hotel had a fire, and this mantel survived, but barely. The fire is what created the incredibly gorgeous crackle finish you see below. Which we would have kept as is if it wasn't for the very pink hue it was sporting. It looks white in these following pictures, but trust me, it was pink, pink, pink.

Our boys tackled the project of sanding the monster. House projects are family affairs around here.

Builds character. And muscles.

I know a lot of people will likely scold me for this... but we actually scraped two decorative motifs off of the mantel. You can see the outline of one of them in the above picture. I know. I KNOW. It's a really pretty shape, right? But I just felt the mantel had enough detail going on, and it really didn't need so much... going on. I'm sure some will think we ruined it, but we prefer a more simple design. We still kept the wreath motifs at the top. Love those.

Like I said, we'll be adding a real firebox in the opening in the fall (when the cooler weather arrives), but until then we painted the "opening" with chalkboard paint. I got the idea to do this from Lauren at the Pure Style blog. I felt it gave the illusion of a real opening.

I still need to figure out what to put on the mantel. And my biggest quandary? Should I keep it pristine white or distress it up a bit?

Oh, and remember my post about our piano? This is where it sat before:

The fireplace is now the first thing we see when we walk in our front door. It's in a spot we can see from both the living area, kitchen and dining nook. We think the mantel makes a good substitute to take the stage.

We're so looking forward to a cozy fire come Fall, and so is Penny.


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