Mantel updates at Avalon House

deboe-studio-interior-living-room-design-mantel-leather-sofa

When we first moved into our Avalon home, we focused on furniture. The big ticket items. We were coming from loft living and though this home is not big, it was awfully empty.

Nearly a year later, we're getting around to the business of art and details. These things, are not selections I like to rush through. I'd prefer if, instead, we slowly acquired art from trips and outings and could then associate a good memory, or vacation or supporting a local artist with it. We've found a few things over the last year that way but not nearly enough. So we're going to move that process along a little bit with an intentional search for mantel artwork. We'll still look to acquire the decorative items more slowly and should we stumble upon a unique piece of art we love at a gallery or on a trip, nothing here is set in stone, so we'll still buy as we find things. 

One of the key placements for art is a fireplace mantel. Initially, we filled our mantel with artwork we already owned (see top photo for our first go at the mantel). Though we love those pieces of art, purchased from a very talented friend and Anthropologie, we have other locations in the house for those and we've decided to decorate the mantel starting from scratch. This exercise of mocking up options has been very helpful in understanding how the mood of the artwork changes the entire mood of the space. Our mantel is currently decorated for the holidays, so we're hoping to settle on a new plan soon!

This is the mantel, empty. (obviously!) We've recently replaced these iron fireplace tools that came with the home, with a beautiful and sturdy old set bought through Everything But the House. I am NOT too eager to nail anything in above this mantel as I tend to like to change things frequently. Most of the options, then, are leaning art.

This is the mantel, empty. (obviously!) We've recently replaced these iron fireplace tools that came with the home, with a beautiful and sturdy old set bought through Everything But the House. I am NOT too eager to nail anything in above this mantel as I tend to like to change things frequently. Most of the options, then, are leaning art.

If you remember my post about wall art awhile back, then you'll recall I have a handful of "go-to" sources when selecting wall art for clients. Over the many trips to these websites, while searching on behalf of clients, I've bookmarked (or pinned) items which I think could work for our home. 

We have gone through a couple dozen options and narrowed down the top 9 scenarios we considered for our mantel update. 

What is the starting point? What colors or themes are we considering for this project? Black, gold and jewel tones would be the starting point for colors (but we're open minded on that) and there is no theme that we feel especially beholden to. We love imagery of architecture, imagery that transports or reminds us of a place we've been or would like to go to and abstracts in colors that inspire. We do want something decidedly more modern or contemporary as opposed to antiques or vintage.

We haven't made our final decision on which direction we're going. We both are drawn to more than a few of these options. I am leaning towards the Parisian rooftop option and he the white architectural photo but we're waiting until another piece of art we bought for the opposing wall shows up next week so we can better understand what impact that will be having on the room as well. That piece is nearly 5' wide so it's definitely going to have an impact.

Alas....the options. These are in NO PARTICULAR ORDER. I've added thumbnails for an at-a-glance view of them all first. Then added each image with text explaining why it's an option for us and resources to purchase yourself. Unfortunately, I can't make the comments section work but visit our Instagram and tell us which you like! 

So, I selected these two images as their warm golds and greens and burgundy tie back other to existing elements within the space. Also, I like the juxtaposition of the contemporary blurred city imagery contained in a fussy gold frame while the abstract print is contained in a clean-lined frame. Urban and architectural imagery delights both my husband (an architect) and myself. He is less into the abstract image, though. The gold decorative element found here. The abstract print found here  and the blurred photo found here. 

So, I selected these two images as their warm golds and greens and burgundy tie back other to existing elements within the space. Also, I like the juxtaposition of the contemporary blurred city imagery contained in a fussy gold frame while the abstract print is contained in a clean-lined frame. Urban and architectural imagery delights both my husband (an architect) and myself. He is less into the abstract image, though. The gold decorative element found here. The abstract print found here  and the blurred photo found here

So, Wes and I both love this option so it's a top contender. I am a huge Francophile but typically don't use overtly "Frenchy" imagery around the house (save for the baby's room because it's the perfect foil for my deep desire to clad my home in all French imagery). BUT I feel like this stunning and striking image is just so INCREDIBLY BEAUTIFUL and fits so well with everything else in the space. Paired with the candlesticks and a beautiful vase, this could be a winner.

So, Wes and I both love this option so it's a top contender. I am a huge Francophile but typically don't use overtly "Frenchy" imagery around the house (save for the baby's room because it's the perfect foil for my deep desire to clad my home in all French imagery). BUT I feel like this stunning and striking image is just so INCREDIBLY BEAUTIFUL and fits so well with everything else in the space. Paired with the candlesticks and a beautiful vase, this could be a winner.

I'm often attracted to large scale photography making a single statement. This photo would draw you in immediately upon entering the room. I think it would also make me VERY happy to see this image on a daily basis. I think maybe I should put this above our bed in our master bedroom instead, however. Snorkeling photo found here.

I'm often attracted to large scale photography making a single statement. This photo would draw you in immediately upon entering the room. I think it would also make me VERY happy to see this image on a daily basis. I think maybe I should put this above our bed in our master bedroom instead, however. Snorkeling photo found here.

Here is a more subdued monochromatic approach. It still balances high/low contemporary/antique and appeals to my architect husband and romantic me. I'm a little bored by it though. bust found here. gold decorative item  here, planter here and building photo found here.

Here is a more subdued monochromatic approach. It still balances high/low contemporary/antique and appeals to my architect husband and romantic me. I'm a little bored by it though. bust found here. gold decorative item  here, planter here and building photo found here.

swooooooooooon. I LOVE this. I am currently determined to get back to the Grand Canyon. I am strategizing a 40th birthday trip there this year. My soul literally craves it. Also, I think a daily reminder the world is much much bigger than us would be a good counter balance to the natural tendency to get caught up in our own worlds.  The wall sconce candlesticks are heart-stoppingly beautiful in my estimation, as well. This would be in my top 3. Wes hasn't seen this option yet, I think he'll like it though. Image found here. candle sconce set found here.

swooooooooooon. I LOVE this. I am currently determined to get back to the Grand Canyon. I am strategizing a 40th birthday trip there this year. My soul literally craves it. Also, I think a daily reminder the world is much much bigger than us would be a good counter balance to the natural tendency to get caught up in our own worlds.  The wall sconce candlesticks are heart-stoppingly beautiful in my estimation, as well. This would be in my top 3. Wes hasn't seen this option yet, I think he'll like it though. Image found here. candle sconce set found here.

So this option visually connects the space but also adds some whimsy or humor to it. Which I am a fan of. Never want to take a space too seriously! I am totally obsessed with the Hahahah print, but likely won't use it here. I have already found an alternative location for it. The geometric print makes my eyeballs so happy and ties directly back to my foyer floor tiles. The fingers crossed print is hopeful and I like that, while the little hand sign sculptures tie in thematically and also make me smile. peace and love.

So this option visually connects the space but also adds some whimsy or humor to it. Which I am a fan of. Never want to take a space too seriously! I am totally obsessed with the Hahahah print, but likely won't use it here. I have already found an alternative location for it. The geometric print makes my eyeballs so happy and ties directly back to my foyer floor tiles. The fingers crossed print is hopeful and I like that, while the little hand sign sculptures tie in thematically and also make me smile. peace and love.

Now, Wes has already said he doesn't like this sculpture image enough. Meanwhile I am fairly obsessed with it. It is so so good! At first blush, it's a serious sculpture but then that had plugging it's nose!! I die! I love it. I will probably buy it for my office though, not here. I also have to admit the vase is just a filler item. I don't even know where I found this image and I concede it's not me at all.  Gold wall decor,  geometric print and amazing sculpture image.

Now, Wes has already said he doesn't like this sculpture image enough. Meanwhile I am fairly obsessed with it. It is so so good! At first blush, it's a serious sculpture but then that had plugging it's nose!! I die! I love it. I will probably buy it for my office though, not here. I also have to admit the vase is just a filler item. I don't even know where I found this image and I concede it's not me at all.  Gold wall decor,  geometric print and amazing sculpture image.

Obviously more on the feminine side, this is not really an option but just wanted to mock up a version with some of the pieces I liked but don't really have a place for. Once again the hand signs make me smile and that ferris wheel with a little lady in front fills me with excitement for the future with Penny. That lady image is just so so beautiful and that perfect pink brush stroke in a fussy gold frame will likely find it's way into my home via the dining room.

Obviously more on the feminine side, this is not really an option but just wanted to mock up a version with some of the pieces I liked but don't really have a place for. Once again the hand signs make me smile and that ferris wheel with a little lady in front fills me with excitement for the future with Penny. That lady image is just so so beautiful and that perfect pink brush stroke in a fussy gold frame will likely find it's way into my home via the dining room.

Last, but not least. The romantic mantel. I love how this iteration of the mantel just slows me down instantly. It's for moments of repose. Sit, and read in front of this mantel. Jane Austen preferably but whatever you fancy! Floral image, map, sculpture, vase, photo.

Last, but not least. The romantic mantel. I love how this iteration of the mantel just slows me down instantly. It's for moments of repose. Sit, and read in front of this mantel. Jane Austen preferably but whatever you fancy! Floral image, map, sculpture, vase, photo.


I loved mocking these up. I could have made a dozen more (actually, I DID make about a half-dozen more that didn't make the cut!).

If you would like to get some help figuring out the right solution for your mantel, let us know! You would send us images of the room (all perspectives) and separate images of any art you want us to include, and we will come up with 3 mock-ups for you...$195 flat fee for our time.

Speaking of time, thank you for taking yours to visit. We appreciate it.

My best,

Danielle