Mantle with no Fireplace

I’ve dreamed of owning a house in which I could build a fire practically my whole life. Sure, I could do this unsafely without a fireplace and chimney, but I can’t even convince my husband that a fire pit in the backyard would be safe. He’s no fun.

So, while our current 90-year-old house isn’t the house for my stupid smokey dream, we found a way to enjoy a small version of a mantle without the help of a contractor…or any construction beyond the use of a drill, for that matter.

Dr. Oz, if you’re wondering.

This is the wall that we stare at most. It’s above our slightly-turned TV (classic, no? No sexy flat screens for us), so the twig-and-faux-berry wreath that was hanging there simply filled the space. Didn’t do anything other than add a bit of crimson and texture to the wall, really.

But, with the help of this Christmas Tree Shoppe wall shelf (I believe less than $20), I had envisioned a way to add some architectural detail (whose shape, incidentally, mimics the tops of the doorways throughout the house) and place some art. I can even consider creating some “mantlescapes” to change seasonally.

It took lots of measuring, and 2, count ’em 2 extra holes (hidden behind the ledge, thank goodness), and I’m still not quite sure it’s level (even if I had had a level at hand, it wouldn’t have mattered; we’ve got that crooked house from the nursery rhyme), but it’s an improvement.

While we’re at it, I thought I’d share a couple of cheap art projects that I’ve already started shuffling around the “mantle”.

The first is actually pretty darn near free, and you can see it above. I’ve been piling up some frames that have outgrown their pictures for some time, and this is one of those cases. Funky, weird textured frame (looking almost tropical…how did this thing end up in our house?) + muslin fabric I’ve had lying around + fabric glue from another project + the perfect antique key that I thiiiink I found some place = free art! For now, it doesn’t have a wall hanger on its back, but it’ll do.

The other piece cost $3…plus tax. I had seen pieces like it on the interwebs, so once I dug up the tiny bags of Bingo buttons at an antique store this past weekend (in Concord, Mass. – more on that later!), I knew immediately what to try with them.
The Concord antiques shop that hooked us up, big-time. Anyone get why it’s got the punny name?
Using a double-matted frame with no paper background (the texture and color of the frame’s backing always interested me), I glued the numbered wooden buttons directly on, finally putting the glass back and letting it dry for at least an hour before setting it on the “mantle”.
Can’t do any project without a cat nearby. Glad to have the Winston stamp of approval.
What I love most about these pieces, besides the cost, is the modern vibe that you can find, even from old objects. An old key. Old Bingo buttons – seriously? I love antiquing, whether I’m “good” at it or even consistent (I do it when it’s an option, I’ve got time, and the mood strikes me), and especially love getting pieces while out of town. Hey! Come to think of it, every time I look at my sideboard, I think of how we found and purchased it during our honeymoon. And now I’ll think of our mini-vacation to Boston when I look at the Bingo art that I now looooove.

Anyone here into antiques? Or are you a strictly “new stuff” sort of person? Eclectic, like moi? Do tell!

3 thoughts on “Mantle with no Fireplace”

  1. I tend to collect art and items from those I care about. Perhaps when I have more than just 4 walls to decorate, my answer to this question would be more interesting. Nice work with your treasures, though 8^D

  2. That green jar you have on the mantle is screaming to have you add some old buttons to it! Or colorful marbles, maybe……

    Fun projects, Megan, and on the cheap as well. Love it!

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