Memorial Monday Mirror and Mantle

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap  —  May 28, 2012 — 5 Comments

Happy Memorial Day to you fine folks! I hope you had a fantastic weekend. Mine was pretty awesome and included a super-fun family wedding. I’m enjoying the day off of work today but thought I’d pop in to share what I worked on yesterday.

Just one of the many, many quirks in this old house is that the bedroom we’re using for Jack’s nursery features a coal-burning fireplace. It backs up to another one in the den on the other side of this wall (see that one in these two posts here and here). We never use it, obviously, but I do sorta like the extra character that it adds. Isn’t it just calling out for me to do something awesome to it?

A few weeks ago I was thrilled to find this HUGE mirror on craigslist for only $30. It’s almost three feet wide by four feet high, perfect for that big empty space. Since this is a kid’s room, though, I wanted to paint the frame to make it a little less serious and grown-up.

I dragged it outside and layered a few pieces of cardboard under it, then taped the edges of the glass, covered the middle with junk mail, and went to work with a can of Valspar Gold Abundance spray paint.

I think this is the last time I’ll ever use spray paint. I’ve tried to like it, but the truth is that I just hate it so much. It takes forever to get good, even coverage.

And since the giant mess and toxic fumes it produces necessitate dragging everything outside, I constantly have bugs or tiny leaves and other nonsense getting stuck in my wet paint. And God forbid you touch this stuff while it’s wet. There’s no going back from that mistake.

There are some pretty big problems with the finish up close, but from a distance you can’t really tell. I got Nick to hang it above the mantle using two heavy-duty screws and anchors. I love the way it looks. There’s still a whole lotta ugly going on down around the fireplace, though.

I painted over the ugly yellow on the bricks surrounding the firebox with no-VOC white semi-gloss, pushed that coaxial cable back into its little hidey-hole, switched out the fireplace cover with the one from the other room (one is glossy and one is matte and they’ve always been backwards), and used some black craft paint to touch up the metal frame that surrounds the cover. Then, I shopped the house for cute stuff to put on the mantle.

The only thing I purchased new was the plant, which at $10 was a little more than what I wanted to spend but I went for it anyway. I stole the brass planter from my shop and the wood box from the living room. The chalkboard I’ve had for a couple of months–it’s the same one I use when I take pictures of my ever-growing belly.

I bought that little metal “baby” whatnot years ago before a baby was even on the horizon. I saw it at a thrift store for $1 and thought it was adorbs. Since I knew I’d be having a kid one of these days I figured I’d just buy it and put it away until the time came. I’m so glad I did because I love it still.

The bedroom set in our guest room belonged to my late grandmother and once when I was exploring I found this vintage tin of baby powder in the back of a drawer. My dad was her only child so I’m guessing it must have been used with him in the late 50′s. I think it’s awesome.

The box in the middle of the mantle will hopefully address my tendency to put random crap up there. It’s the only spot in the room that the cats can’t easily access so a little hidden storage is nice. Right now, for instance, there’s some chalk in there to write on the chalkboard. Pistachio finds chalk delightful so it must be stowed away.

This kind of stuff just makes me so happy. I know Jack could care less about whether the mantle in his room is perfectly styled, but since this is directly across from the rocking chair where I’ll likely be spending many, many hours in the near future, I figured prettying it up a bit can only do good things for my mental health. Before long there’ll be a baby here and I won’t have time to indulge in little moments of frivolity like this for a while. I’m almost done fixing up the nursery, but there’s still a few more practical things I’d like to do, like putting blackout shades on those windows and organizing all his clothes and toiletries. If you’d like to look back at what I’ve done to the rest of the room so far, click to read about the dresser rehab project, the rocking chair, the yellow side table, the crib, crib skirtartmobile, and what I’ve got going so far of a toy storage system. Whew! I can’t believe how far this room has come! Almost everything is secondhand or DIY’d, just the way I like it. And if I can get just a few more things done before this kid comes out into the world I’ll be a happy camper.

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap


5 responses to Memorial Monday Mirror and Mantle

  1. I like the look of the mantle. The only thing that bothers me is the baby powder can. I remember those so it makes me feel old! LOL I love the little architectural detail in old houses. In a house I lived in as a child, there were dressers built into the wall. I loved them. Your old coal fireplaces add so much character, but aren’t you glad you don’t have to use them. Imagine watching a baby around that!.

    • Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap May 28, 2012 at 10:57 am

      Built in dressers! How cool! Yes I am very, very glad we’re not reliant on the fireplaces for heat! I wish we could get around to having them sealed up or something, though. I feel like we lose a lot of heat through them in the winter and this is the first spring since we bought this house that a nest of baby birds hasn’t fallen down the chimney.

  2. I remember when your mom was expecting you. I sewed some items for your nursery. They were pastel gingham, as I recall. She was so excited about you.

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