Mantle... A Love Story

I was almost a full 9 months pregnant when I saw our current home for the first time (if memory serves, I was about 37 weeks.)  After being harassed at length by family to see this house, we finally caved and set an appointment with our realtor.  I believe the words out of my mouth were something to the effect of, "I don't want to buy a freakin' house... I'm just trying to have a baby!"  Famous last words.  The day I after I arrived home from the hospital with our second son, we closed on the house.

The reasons we bought our home are many.  We were bursting at the seams in our tiny starter home, our new one offered amazing community and schools, and we were within walking distance of family.  

With all those positives, it's hard to imagine a negative, right?  Let me just summarize the work ahead of us... almost nothing was salvageable.  The layers of neglect had to be completely stripped down in order to breathe life into the home.  In other words, what wasn't damaged by cigarette smoke and neglect, was probably trashed by pet urine.  Awesome!  The thing is, we wanted to save something original to the home!  We didn't want to just throw out the history.  So we searched.  One of the first items up for saving was something we loved from the moment we first saw the house... the mantle.

Our little mantle sat covered in the garage for a full 11 months before we re-installed it.  Since then, I've redecorated it about 50 million times!  Yesterday it held vintage brass candlesticks and a few wooden toys.  Here it is today... decorated with inspiration from this month's Martha Stewart Living.  April's issue held a fabulous article featuring Ngoc Minh Ngo's nature inspired floral arrangements.  Sign me up for large branches in my tallest vase!

Branches from my yard in Kate Spade's library stripe vase, porcelain bunnies for easter, portrait of my sweet Emmette and Cody (by Creative Thursday... more on Marisa later), Kate Spade library stripe votives, bird's nest from my parents' yard, and a collection of books.

Here we were just over one year ago...

Down to the studs, teal carpet protecting the original hardwood floors, and mantle tucked safely in the garage.  FYI, not a single window in the living room opened when we purchased the home!

What a difference a year makes, right?!?  OK.  Maybe that sounds silly because a year really is a loooong time and there was a lot of blood, sweat, tears, a knee surgery and growing babies in that year.  :)  I'm sure this mantle will continue to evolve over the seasons.  For now, I'll keep clipping branches and bringing nature inside. 

As always, leaving you with a little inspiration from the binder (I love a good eclectic mantle!)

Birch Coffey (Elle Decor)

Mike Clifford (Elle Decor)
Douglas Friedman (House Beautiful)

Flip! for Decorating's Elizabeth Mayhew... fun little "taste test" for discovering your mantle style. 

Happy Monday!

xo, k

PS. Thanks for coming every day.  You mean so much to me!

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