My Great Room and Mantel: One Room Three Ways, Day 1

I am participating in a special link party where we have to show a room decorated in three ways.  Here’s my “first” version.

When my husband and I embarked on a major home renovation several years ago, I decided that our new great room was going to be a thing of beauty.  I had been carrying around a few ripped out pages from a shelter magazine from the early 90s that showed a room in the Hamptons with beautiful Chinoiserie walls, antique furniture – and the owner of the home standing near the walls, dressed in an elegant smoking jacket.  Not that I wanted his life…just his walls!But after the sheetrock went up in our room, I just got this feeling that the place needed to be a lot less formal and perhaps more rustic.

fireplace mantle with corbels in off white


With this new style in mind, I went looking for furniture and decided on some very relaxed Ralph Lauren-like pieces – tawny colored bark cloth with some leather accents and suede trim. What a radical departure from my original concept.

 relaxed sofa and chairs in the great room

relaxed sofa in the great room

So, if I wasn’t going to have a hand painted girly room – what was I going to do with the walls?  I decided on a soft, matte Plaster in a cinnamon tone. I knew that this would look great with the patterns and the feel of the furniture.

antiqued mantle and soft matte plaster walls

Close up of wall and antiqued mantel


The Fireplace Mantel

After I had sketched out my ideas for and then saw it come to life, I was so in love with it.  I loved the corbels and the chimney breast and the fluted sides and the scrolled onlay I had picked out.  I even loved the soft white color that I painted it.  But once the walls were done and the furniture was in – it looked way too stark and sort of like it didn’t belong.  It needed to be aged and antiqued and the onlay needed to be “seen.”  All of the details on this mantel were really hidden by virtue of it just being painted.  So – I got to work gilding the onlay and antiquing the entire piece.  You can read the tutorial on gilding and antiquing the mantel here.

gilded and antiqued mantle and onlays on a fireplace mantle

Gilded and antiqued…much better!

Once the mantel looked sufficiently aged, I then brought in some appropriate artwork and accessories to decorate it.  I had a much loved and cherished antique print that I bought many, many years ago (when I could barely afford it!) at the Argosy Bookstore in New York City.  It depicted a mother and her two children and the inscription “la Bonne Mere” – the Good Mother.  It always reminds me of those days when I was a struggling single mother, taking care of my two little girls.  Those days were tough but I wouldn’t have traded them for anything.

Soft, Suede-Like Plaster & Antiqued/Gilded Mantle

And that’s how that mantel stayed decorated for a few years…until I started blogging that is!! Then the mantel began to change with each holiday and season. I love how this focal point can alter the personality of the room with a change of color, artwork and accessories.

I hope you will come back tomorrow for the next look I gave the mantel, celebrating family! Click here  to see that post.

Also sharing with: Funky Junk Interiors, Under the Table and Dreaming;



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