My Fall Mantel


fall mantel

I don’t have a mantel, and it’s not decorated for fall really, but it killed me not to join in Sarah’s annual fall Mantel party.

family room

Here’s what we started off with on August 7th.


My mom and I took off that slab of wood that was the mantel–it wasn’t  even attached, just sitting on top of the corbels. It’s just a big, heavy, irregular, natural shaped slab of wood that looks like it would have been one of Fred Flintstone’s skis. We painted one coat of Kilz primer and two coats of paint–I just used my regular Simply White paint that I used for my walls.

fireplace, unmanteled

We lived with it like this for about two weeks.

And then I started to go slightly insane because since this house is tiny and work is still being done on the kitchen I haven’t hung anything on my few walls. And apparently, I’m the kind of girl who needs to have things hung on my walls in order to feel like a person.

mini kithchen


So I went out to the barn and grabbed my $25 Awe-Ful Craigslist Antlers. A few years ago I stalked Craigslist searching for “antlers” for months and got FOUR sets of elk antlers for $100 from a hunter who was moving! I painted to wood plaque thing black months ago.


Chad grabbed a masonry drill bit and some 50 pound hangers while he was out — I happened to take a blurry photo. Sadly, he already has a masonry drill bit, but because we are currently living complicated and unorganized since our move, he couldn’t find it. #LifeStory

drill a hold into brick

make a hole in brick

how to make a hole in a brick fireplace

After a few minutes of grunt work we had a little hole drilled and then he screwed in the heavy duty hangers. Doesn’t it look like my fireplace is bleeding? My husband, converting to imperfectionism, suggested we not clean it up since the antlers would hide the brick dust anyway. I feel a little bit more in love with him at that moment. And two days later, as I type, there is brick fireplace blood behind my antlers. And nobody will ever know, nor care.

painting brick fireplace

Here’s my fall mantle. The only wall in my house that is photogenic in the least. And that’s only if I crop it tightly.


Here’s the rest of that story.


That’s my mini-kitchen set up to the right.

family room

If you missed it the other day, here’s the direction I’m going with the family room. Neutral, so I can boss it around with any color or idea that seems right at any time.

leather chairs

And the leather chairs came. I only ordered one ottoman, two would have overwhelmed the space but one is currently throwing off the room. No worries, I’ve got a white pouf coming (time to trade out the pink pouf for something neutral, do you sense a trend?) that I might stack with another small footstool to balance it out. We’ll see what happens. I’m happy to have something decorative hanging in my house and a pair of cushy places to sit! Welcome fall!


  1. Isn’t it amazing what white paint can do? :-) I am so looking forward to see what you are going to do to the rest of the house – especially the kitchen!!! :-)

  2. Antlers, chairs, white brick–I can already tell I’m going to love it all!

  3. Love it. And you just wait, soon everyone’s going to have a crockpot on their fireplace! ;)

  4. swoon. So lovely. so in love with your house AND that there is brick blood under your antlers:)

    on a side note, if you decide not to use that wood mantel that was hanging there, I know someone who would be very interested in purchasing it:)

  5. Looking good! Are you going to get a new sofa and not use the sectional? Where will the leather sofa go? Inquiring minds want to know! LOL


    • Hey Tina! Yes, the white sectional is in that same room in the corner, I just grabbed a white sofa to represent in the mick up, the leather sofa is in the barn, waiting to be put in the basement once its ready.

  6. Love the simplicity. Beautiful all on its own.

  7. You seriously had me at Fred Flintstone’s ski! I love watching your progress on this house adventure! Humor, Decor, Imperfection. A perfect combination. Thanks.

  8. Are the leather chairs comfortable? We’re looking for two leather chairs as well, but I’ve been leaning towards club chairs –they look cushier.(And my husband wants a recliner. The club chairs are our compromise, but they have to be “as comfortable as a recliner.” ) I’d love the PB Manhattan chairs, but sadly, they’re out of my price range.

  9. Those are chairs are awesome. Your living room board is definitely giving me inspiration for my own. I am in desperate need!

  10. The crock on the fireplace is my fave. Just like women of ‘yore (“Friends” reference) you are actually cooking on your fireplace.

    Loving the transformation! Excited for the days when you can lounge on the chairs….


  11. I am also the kind of girl that needs things hung on the wall to feel like a person. My husband thinks I’m crazy.

  12. It’s amazing what a little bit of white paint can do to brighten up a room. I really liked the Flintstone’s ski comment.

  13. Oh, the wonders of paint! Love your new goodies and mantel! Paint on!

  14. The crockpot on the hearth is a really classic touch, hearkening back to Ye Olde Days of Yesteryear and all that fireplace cooking we used to do. What would be even better would be would be if there was some ELK in that crockpot.

  15. Love your blog! My husband is currently redoing our kitchen, so I have a makeshift kitchen set up in our dining room: micro, refrigerator, plastic plates and utensils. It helps with the stress of it all to decorate and clean around the mess, so I am especially enjoying your posts with things like a crockpot on the fireplace! ;)

  16. Love the way the space is turning out and the antlers pop on that fireplace. Can’t wait to see it all done. Are you going to add a mantle back to the fireplace?

  17. In-process pictures are the best!

  18. Unsolicited advice (is there any other kind I give LOL)

    Take the ottoman and put it somewhere else in the room and use as a coffee table or something. Then take something from somewhere else in the room to use as the table or foot cushion you need. I do this to tie rooms together. I broke apart some sets of things and put them in my formal rooms but they both coordinate (…or…din..ATE).

    Nice to see your new home and picts. Miss your mistreatments though. Being poor and home with children was an all time high creativity time for you and I am glad to have read along :)

  19. BTW, I think it is a smart move to get one thing or a set of things that are expensive then 15 things you don’t really love but were cheap. One good chair can really class up a joint (at least that is what I tell myself when I do that LOL.)

  20. Looking good…that one ottoman just needs to be placed inbetween the two chair as a sort of table,/footrest and that should balance out the fireplace opening and create a really comfortable and inviting spot. Love those chairs!

  21. Love what you are doing with the house!!! The mantel looks wonderful! I am in love with the antlers. I am now going to be out there looking for some myself :) I have a rock fireplace and one of those cast iron inserts, and it is very hard to decorate. I put a star up there a few years ago and it is there today as well. I can’t come up with anything else that I like better…Maybe some antlers are in the future for me as well. Great job :)

  22. May i ask where you got the polkadot- ish pollows!?? Love it all… Its looking great :)

  23. Looks good! What about painting the plaque white, though, instead of black? I think the natural beauty of the antlers would show up more that way. Perhaps it’s just the pics, but they seem a bit lost on the black plaque. On all that glorious white, the plaque’s looking like a black hole …

  24. Look at you! You’ve come so far so fast. I really dig the antlers. We had an old bull skull on our fence outside but the squirrels took to chewing on it! I want to get a replacement someday.
    The house is looking great and I totally love those chairs. One of my favs. It is so cool that I finally found a site like yours that digs the funky stuff like I do!

  25. Love your fireplace! The antlers look great up there. And I love, love the fact that you left the brick blood and just hid it under the antlers! My husband would have suggested the same thing! And about the ottoman…I currently have three stashed in my basement storage for chairs that I currently use on the main living floors. The third one I just took down 2 days ago and said to myself “don’t ever buy another ottoman”. :)

  26. I like the white bricks! The room looks great. Very creative how you were able to join the link up!

  27. we’ve been in our house since july and i still need to get going on my walls! my favorite part of this post is the crockpot on the hearth. :) love that.

  28. Be glad it wasn’t mounted. I’m trying to figure out how to get mine down and rehang it. Apparently, the expert who hung it thought it was a good idea to measure from the raised hearth. It is big and seems immovable. I probably lived in this house five years before it dawned on me what was wrong. Guess I can’t say too much about the “expert.”

  29. It’s beautiful, even if you don’t have a “real” mantle. I love your new leather chairs there! It’s such a cozy space.

  30. Sometimes all it takes is one corner looking nice to feel soooo good. Glad for this one- and many more to come!- for you. And LOVE the crockpot!

  31. Wow! That turned out great. It looks SO much better-updated and beautiful! xo Diana

  32. What I really want to know, is how did you get your ceilings flat?! The whole thing is looking great!

  33. it looks fabulous!
    loving how you are transforming your new place!

  34. LOVE the simplicity! The room is looking totally gorgeous!

  35. Oh no…..not the antlers! (Sorry, I have a sister who has the antler thing going on in two of her rooms, just can’t seem to embrace them) I didn’t think they moved with you. Love, love the white brick, it looks so fresh and open! I think the whole direction you are moving in with this room is fabulous! The color, the chairs, the accessories (sans the antlers) are going to create a simply inviting and cozy spot!

  36. Love the simplicity! Where did you get the wooden plaque attached to the antlers? I have a set that is begging for a plaque! Thanks!

  37. Nester,

    I love that you keep it real. I love that like most of us your house will evolve over time and I look forward to seeing it.

  38. I really like the floors in your new house! The fire place came out looking great and the whole house is starting to take shape one step at a time.

  39. Wow! Absolutely lovely ~ What a transformation:) Thanks for sharing!

  40. Painting the fireplace white really has transformed the look of the room. Also I have found that when you are drilling into brick, if you tap a envelop with masking tape underneath the drill hole, it collects the brick dust. saving a lot of cleaning up after.


  41. What a pretty little space amongst the chaos of renovation! I bet it feels good to have something feel a bit complete.

  42. The painted brick looks warm and inviting, love it

  43. It’s a treat everytime I get to see something new in your house. I’m totally dazzled by it all.

  44. I love you fireplace, sans the mantel. It’s a clean, crisp look for fall. Less is more…much more.

  45. Hello, your fireplace is spectacular…seeing it painted inspired me to paint mine. The brick color bled through on several of the bricks and discolored them even though I put on several coats of Kilz primer. Did you experience any type of discoloration?

  46. I’m really happy to see this post. We’re getting ready to paint a brick fireplace white, and I needed to see proof that it can be done!

    I feel your (past) pain. We’re still enduring our kitchen remodel but we can cook in it now. I cooked with the crockpot and the microwave for two months. As an added bonus our new house didn’t have potable water at the time so we couldn’t even wash things in the bathroom.

    We’re painting our fireplace soon! I was excited to see your post about it. You made it look so easy.

  48. White type of finish was your paint?

  49. 5 centimeters Xiaofang to follow only.

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