Taa Daa! This is the result of several months of thinking, noodling, and nudging. As my recent posts point out, fussing over one space in your home always carries over to other areas. Thankfully, I am pleased with this arrangement of the mantel—as well as the new kitchen wall.
If you aren't overwhelmed with awe over my originality or sophistication, I'm not hurt. This is hardly a "new" idea to put a mirror over the mantel and prop art in front of it. But for me, in this house, it is novel.
A few weeks ago, I learned a mom in my daughter's preschool used to work in an art gallery and consulted with clients about what art to purchase and where to hang it. I think the cartoon lightbulb appeared over my head immediately. At once, I asked her to come to my house for a consult. She graciously agreed, and days later I had her one-on-one attention and loads of advice. She looked at all the rooms in our house to get a sense of my style. I pleaded my frustration with our living room (it's dark and dominated by heavy but beautiful woodwork), which carried over onto the mantel. The previous print of a neutral Impressionist scene was just too blah. She suggested the mirror to bounce what light we do get around the space. And let me tell you, it has made a HUGE difference. It reflects daylight and immediately brightened the room. The glass candlesticks are also sparkly baubles in front.
The day after my friend visited, she arrived at the school pick-up line with some inspirational photos for me. One set were from an article about David Jimenez's home in Kansas City. It is gorgeous, and shows the effect of propped—rather than hung—art. You can create a pleasing arrangement, then change it whenever the urge arises. I chose this Degas print for its verticality and appropriate scale with the large mirror.
The whole makeover cost very little. I spent $40 on the mirror at Gordman's. It's not real wood, obviously, but it's a pretty good fake, and the resin frame weighs less than wood or metal (an important consideration for me since I was hanging it by myself). I already had the print and the candlesticks. And my friend declined any payment for her spot-on advice. (I did give her a copy of Matthew's AUTUMN magazine as a token of my thanks.)
I've never been shy about asking for help or even surreptitiously copying from the greats like David Jimenez. After all, they really know what they're doing, so whom better to emulate?