Styling the Mantel

Styling the Mantel

We are working on another Paris apartment renovation and just getting to the fun part, when all the hard surfaces have been put in and the apartment is starting to take shape.  This is also the time when, in the age of Covid as seen from a distance, we’re getting a fuller picture of what it all looks like and it’s not too late to make some last-minute changes to the décor and furnishings.  One piece that we haven’t picked yet is what to put over the mantel. 

In some of our previous projects, like the Conti apartment pictured above, the mantels lent themselves to fabulous mirrors, mostly reflecting chandeliers and other beautiful objets.  But in this apartment, the view is the killer and the best way to reflect is with a large mirror over the couch. (Yes, this truly is the view!)

That leaves us with other great options for the mantel, including art, sculpture, objets and heaven forbid, nothing at all!  For fun and inspiration, we decided to revisit some mantel styling in the pages of one of our favorite magazines, Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles, to see how other designers that we love and respect have handled this hallowed space.

We love how designer Robert Brown posed a classic French mirror over the mantel that reflected a gorgeous chandelier, scaled perfectly to fill up the mirror
With a wonderful twist, Suzanne Kasler layered an iconic bunny painting by Hunt Slocum in front of a traditional French trumeau
In this dining room designed for a Show House, Suzanne Kasler anchored the mantel with a layer of several "objets" 
Speaking of layering, here Yvonne McFadden gave the mantel a sharp graphic edge with complementary geometric shapes
With a nod to classic symmetry, Jessica Bradley topped the mantel with a soft abstract painting accented by beautifully proportioned dark obélisques 
I love the play on black on white that Jonathan Savage did with this show house room, using a dramatic black painting where we might be expecting a mirror
(As an aside, I also love his use of a Dawne Raulet painting in the same room!) 
Courtney Giles packs a big punch with a monochromatic wow painting by Katharina Chapuis over a classic French marble mantel
We love the surprising twist of this big round painting in another room by Courtney Giles. 
It makes us think:  Maybe we should do something similar with a fabulous new painting by Jessica Pisano !
We also love the circular vibe in a classic beveled mirror, as shown in this elegant Showhouse by Cheryl Womack and Allison Jowers
Lorraine Enright used a wonderfully crunchy French trumeau over this highly stylized modern mantel for a Serenbe Showhouse.  (Note painting by Ellen Rolli on the shelf to the right!)
(We actually have a similar gorgeous and crunchy trumeau coming from France on our next container.  Maybe we should have left it there!)
Lynn Monday used sculptural elements over a mantel for a Cashiers Showhouse which we think worked perfectly with the organic nature of the fireplace

For this spacious living room that Barbara Westbrook designed for an Atlanta Showhouse, she hung a pair of paintings on either side of the mantel and then, very wisely, kept the mantel blank to accent the room's dramatic stature

Kay Douglas also chose to leave the mantel blank in this room, which, with its high gloss white finish, takes on more of a sculptural element and speaks loudly in a quiet voice 
Patricia McLean used a beautiful painting by our artist, Doug Foltz, in this most recent Showhouse.  (We were thrilled!)
We love the mix of dramatic works layered artfully by Melanie Turner over a fabulously painted mantel
I think TV's are always an issue but sometimes they can blend in to the decor graphically, as with the play of black in a room designed by Yvonne McFadden
And how cool is this: For her own stylish home, Kelly Wolf-Anthony of Kelly Wolf design hung Samsung's 4K Frame TV, which displays a series of art images when it senses movement!   
With lots of great options, we're just counting the days until France will let us back in the country so that we can put the finishing touches on this project.  When we do, you'll be the first to hear (and see) what we decided to pick for the mantel.  And of course if you have some ideas, we're all eyes and ears (especially if you'd like to carry it across the pond for us!).
Ta ta,



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