Anyone who knows me, knows my passion for fireplaces. And it is the mantel for which I have the utmost admiration and respect.

romantic fireplace

Photo:  www.angelandblumewordpress.com

The mantel is one of my favourite architectural details, and if you’re lucky enough to have one, then you can already appreciate it as a focal point of beauty and interest in your home. And it is never more so than during the holiday season.

I personally tend towards a traditional Dickens Christmas decor. In the past, my mantel designs have featured a lot of deep reds and woodsy greens, and a cozy, rustic or primitive influence. More Father Christmas than Santa Claus, if you know what I mean.

father christmas

So, this time around, I wanted to challenge myself to try something different – something fresh and bright – by taking my inspiration from the outdoors. I wanted this mantel-scape to feel like snow, and that crisp, hale feeling you get when you take a deep breath on a cold winter’s day.

I started with a blank slate. Well, except for my curious cat.

Dash on empty mantel

I swapped out the vintage oil painting that usually hangs above my mantel, with a large mirror. I love the wreath-on-mirror look, and I knew I wanted boxwood. I tied it on with a simple, white ribbon.

wreath-half

The mirror I bought was fairly large, and I needed something tall on either side, to balance it out. I auditioned a host of lanterns and accessories. Although fun and beautiful, none of these made the cut. Sorry, fellas. It’s not personal, it’s design.

mantel accessories

The key to beautiful holiday decorating is real greenery. Hands down. (Also, avoid cheap, plastic ornaments, but that’s a whole other blog post.) After a lengthy search of epic proportions, I finally found fresh boxwood branches at my local grocery store, of all places.

boxwood branches-1

… which were then almost consumed by my (again – very curious) cat.

Dash eating boxwood

Stately, all-season lanterns from Pier 1 were the perfect pair for my mirror! I added some whimsical winter birds with birch bark wings and tails because CUTE.

lantern with birds-1

I found these cozy cable-knit “reading socks” to use as stockings, but they seemed a little empty.

reading sock

stocking #3

… so I filled them up!

And, voilà: the final design! I added large pinecones and twine-embellished wooden snowflakes to create a kind of centerpiece, and hung a few snowy glass globes on the boxwood branches. I also strung white lights into the greenery, but it’s too bright to see them!

mantel-full stockings-1

I had so much fun documenting this mantel design. Here are a few more photos from my delightful winter decorating day for your enjoyment and inspiration!

wreath & pinecones-1

stocking #1-1

mantel-side view-1

bird on branch

mantel-green armchair & dash-1

Sources:

Mirror, wreath, twine snowflakes, glass ornaments, Homesense

Lanterns, birch bark birds, deer ornament, Pier 1

Grey “Reading Socks,” Chapters

Fresh boxwood and greenery, Fortinos