Friday, February 21, 2014

My Mmmmmarvelous Mantel: or the Importance of Colour and Scale

Edie Wadsworth has thrown the gauntlet. The challenge? To decorate the mantle and have something to photograph by Friday. She laid out the rules:

“Something alive, something to lean, something you love, something with sheen.” 

I chose to accept. Since I removed 90% of my decor during Nester's tchotchke challenge last summer, I have been quite content with practically bare surfaces.

Yet, the urge to decorate has been slowly returning. So when I read Edie's post, I decided the time had come. I scoured Pinterest for guidance. I wanted something simple, yet dramatic--and something I could easily ditto with items I already had. This was the winner:

And this is how I interpreted it:

My first pass wasn't nearly so good, however.

What's the difference? An extra small painting, one more book (with a pink spine) and a switch of candlesticks. Bam! The whole composition sprung to life.

Let's break it down:

Something alive:

In both the inspiration image and my interpretation, the thing "alive" is huge. It is over-scaled to the space--and that adds focus and drama. The only thing I have that would do that are my beloved peacock feathers. I love flowers, too, but I haven't the time to pick them up, let alone arrange them. True story: my husband brought home a bunch of red carnations in early January --and they sat on my kitchen table for two days before someone plunked them in a vase with water still wrapped in cellophane. I still enjoyed them--but I haven't had any since.

Something to lean: 

Ok, so the mirror has been here in what feels like forever, but whenever I think about replacing it, I can't think of anything better. I did add a painting by a friend of my daughter's though. That introduced some much needed colour into the vignette.

Something you love:

Well, the books, of course. I concentrated on pulling books with blue, green and yellow spines. Once I'd added the painting, I also slipped a book with pink binding into the stack. I needed something to "speak" to the painting, to make it look like it belonged rather than placed randomly for effect (though it totally was). That brought the whole thing alive.

Something with sheen:

I started out with these candlesticks. But everything just looked too staid, too polite. Sometimes "sheen" is just not enough.

Sometimes you need sparkle.

So, I ran downstairs and replaced them with the coloured glass.

Ta da!

why yes, that is a pink volleyball in a green bowl there on the left

You cannot imagine how happy I am. I feel as though I am falling in love with my house again. I certainly wish I had more time to spend with it.


Shari said...

Alana - I love your mantle decoration, it looks fabulous. I agree that the glass candle holders really finish it off - perfect! Great job.

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

I love it and the colors in your room, it all makes me feel happy and serene.


Rita@thissortaoldlife said...

Amazing what a difference those small changes made. I'm still struggling with the mantel in our family room. Well, struggle would imply that I've been trying things with it, which I haven't. Because I don't even know how to start. I like the blueprint in this rhyme. Maybe I'll take another stab at it soon.

Alana in Canada said...

Thanks everyone. So great to hear from you all.

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