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Tweaking Our Mantle. {The Last Chapter.}

Remember when I showed you our mantle last week with my new favorite art on it?
Well, last weekend when my friend Kate was visiting, 
Andy and the kiddos took a field trip to a reclaimed wood sawmill and came home with a souvenir.
See that big, gorgeous plank of old wood in the picture above?
It’s what we’re calling the texture we needed to write the last chapter in the book called Our Mantle.  

As soon as Andy got it up, I was in love.  The mantle not only felt finished; it felt like “me.”
It got me thinking about how much my style has evolved over the past 17 years of marriage.
In our first ten years, I hardly knew myself much less my decorating preferences.
Plus, we were students and new parents in our first home during those years.
 Everything we owned was handed down, and as grateful as we were for all of it, it wasn’t necessarily “us.”

This home-making business is a slow and steady process.
Unless you’ve got a bajillion dollars, it takes time to add pieces of furniture and art that you love.
It has taken us years to figure out what it is that makes a house feel like our home to us.

Some of our learning has come through mistakes that we’ve made in purchases.
For instance, we bought a matchy-matchy bedroom suit for our very first home, and we’ve slowly over the course of a decade sold every single piece.
I love classic with a vintage twist, so now I know that every room & every vignette in our home
needs to have a classic look with some vintage touches for me to love it for the long haul.
I’ve also figured out in all these years that texture finishes off a space for me.

The slow process doesn’t bother me at all. I like to watch our home evolve more into who we are.
We moved into this house nearly a year ago, and it was a wide open, brand new space.
I love that our mantle finally represents us.
The art and the lanterns were a wonderful start, but the reclaimed wood adds the texture that makes it for me.

Ps.  The TWO winners of Jenn Rizzo’s Santos Cage Dolls are::
Cheryl (comment # 4)
Susan (comment # 2)
Congratulations!  I know you’ll love class!!!
Please send me your email addresses, so I can forward them to Jenn.

Tricia - I LOVE that! My husband just put up a big reclaimed timber mantle at one of his remodel jobs…I want one too!

Sarah - Can you help me find my style? ;) love your style, of course!

Christy - I can SO relate to not knowing who I was or having the slightest idea what my style was! We married when I was a month out of high school. I didn’t know WHAT I liked, except my mega fine husband ;). After going through college, working and finally having children almost 10 years later, I’m just now starting to figure out who I am (sort of) and what I like. In June we will celebrate 22 years of marriage. I have begun navigating toward a coastal cottagy style. I really LOVE your style too. That print…those lanterns…that reclaimed wood!! It’s all just so great! I’m hoping to save enough money to get our sofas slip-covered within the year, or maybe I’ll finally learn how to sew this summer and do it myself. I want to paint the walls a lighter, greyish-greenish-bluish color, get some canvas photos of my kids on the walls (especially my youngest who is 4 now and doesn’t have one single picture of herself on the walls) and get rid of most of the stuff in my house. I also want to paint the buffet I inherited from my precious grandmother to break up all the wood in my living room. Love the inspiration you give.

Blondie's Journal - Your mantel looks fabulous…what a great feeling to have what you’ve always wanted and can say, “This is me!” Someone once said that decorating for a young couple should be like using a slow cooker…it takes time and evolves. Don’t make it a microwave…you end up with too many things to toss. We have totally done that over the years of marriage and kids. I do love our big purchase of fine furniture, and I love to fix up good quality, sturdy pieces, but I’m past the point of thrifted furniture and random garage sale purchases. We really have to learn what speaks to us and not grab something because of the low price. And you did just that!


Art and Sand - A slow process is better because you have the time to live with things and see what you like and what you need to change. We too had the complete matching bedroom suite. We are down to the dresser and mirror now and I plan to paint the dresser with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint soon – not sure if we will keep the mirror.

The home making process is FOREVER if you love your home and want to make it fit your lifestyle as you change.

I clicked on your post in Bloglovin because of the tweaking the mantel. I just redid ours and I just didn’t feel it was finished. And then I got an idea from another blog. Now I’m set and can move on to another project.

Anne Marie - that is so very perfect up there…I feel as though every room in my house is a decorating ‘saga’…continuing and evolving – sometimes some drama and others time ‘na-da’ (pun intended)
have a blessed Mother’s day!
Anne Marie

Jackie at Roots and Wings - I LOVE that hunk of wood!! It looks spectacular!! And I love your style.
I’d say my style is a total mish mash..cottage (is that a style?) with vintage, coastal and a bit of traditional. And a whole lot of color! :)

Megan - You are so creative! Great addition!

LLH Designs - I’ve been wanting to add the very same thing ever since we moved here, but haven’t made any progress. I love how you tackle things. Wish I could have a little more of that in my spirit these days. I’m full of ideas and ZERO motivation. And don’t exactly know where to get the reclaimed wood. Maybe I need to come visit! xoxo!

Farmgirl Paints - it’s beautiful. love it when it becomes YOU! that’s the best feeling. always a work in progress.

Barbara - What a great idea it’s perfect!

Lemonade Makin' Mama - Girl I am loving what you did there!! I have something vintage in every single room too but I think I’m still working out how I like things like that to “go.” I haven’t got my style all worked out just yet. I think I go through phases too so if I said that I like a certain style, I’m afraid as soon as I say that, I’ll begin to gravitate toward a certain color or something like that! Ha!

GLENDA CHILDERS - Beautiful work on your mantle, Tara. How fun. I think my girls have a much better sense of their style than I did at their age.


Nicki - Hi! I found you on the Christmas tour, and started looking around your blog, I liked your mantle in the Christmas photos so started searching for more about it until I found this! I moved into a home 1 1/2 years ago that has no mantel! Just a fire box in the wall. This year I asked for a reclaimed barn wood mantel for Christmas. Is it sad that I want something like that for Christmas? When we move, we probably can’t take it with us, but we plan to be here for a good 6 more years. Anyway, we found a guy who is going to cut us a mantle and sand it down smooth. It is a from an old wagon barn he tore down. Right now we are trying to decide how to mount it to the wall, and whether we want to have him cut us a couple of simple corbels for it. I am not positive if it will “match” everything else in the house, but my living room is the one room I have not touched, except for moving in our furniture. So I figure I will go with what I love, and the room will find it’s way from that point on. Love your decorating style!

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