Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Back to Black

Can you guess what I'm dreaming of?

If you follow me on Pinterest, you may have already figured it out.

Is it becoming clearer now?
Source: via Kathy on Pinterest

You guessed it, super sleuths, I'm loving black mantels lately.
Source: via Kathy on Pinterest

You see, my mantel is a little, well, lackluster. It's a builder-grade blah-fest. It needs a little sprucing up.
I know, it's sad, right? My plan has always been to paint that obnoxious built-in cabinet black, change the hardware to brass and put mirrors in the doors instead of glass. Now, I'm thinking of painting the mantel black AND the cabinet. Is that too much black in such proximity or will it tie it together better as I am hoping? And I know the styling on the mantel is pathetic. Does anybody have any good tips on how to accessorize around a big black television on the wall? Taking the TV down is simply not an option. These temple jars are just hanging out here till I find a better, more colorful option. I've tried different things over time but everything looks pretty lame. Exhibit A:

Plus, there's the vast expanse of wall above the TV because of our two-story room. I've thought about putting a huge piece of art above the TV like a blown-up print of this photograph my husband took in China . . . 
but then thought that might just look dumb (not the photo itself but putting it above the TV). Sigh. How I wish my room looked like this in proportion and with lovely built-in shelves like these.
I heart this room so much. Now, I realize this mantel is a dark marble and not painted black but it has the same general effect, right?
So, what do you think of black mantels? A nice focal point or a little too much? Any opinions on what I should do?


Elisa @ What the Vita said...

Definitely paint it black.. it'll be perfect in that space! Once you've painted the mantel black, you can step back and decide about the cabinet and what to paint it.

Put a chunky gold frame around the tv a la Brooklyn Limestone? That's all I got.

Bri@Meyouandawiener said...

Tough one. I like it black but wonder the same with the tv above. But I know one thing, you better find a spot for Matts awesome picture somewhere! Its to awesome not to hang.

Melissa Crochet said...

Love the idea of the mantle black! Styling the mantle is a whole nother thing...I myself don't like the symmetrical balanced thing on them. I will research some pics for you to look at. Can't wait till Friday!

Anonymous said...

Could you put the TV somewhere else in that room-I realize you say you can't move it - you could then put a huge very tall mirror in it's place. That said, you have the nice space under the TV for things like really lovely big rocks, chunks of colored glass? We are nature people and like tree branches of nice shapes laying down- under the TV? Some deer antlers?-I like the painted ones I have seen lately. Take one of the tops off a jar and put tall branches higher than the TV in one jar (or tall old arrows w color), take the other jar down and something else on that other side-thin painting half size of TV? Some things bright red or yellow-maybe a very small vessel w bright color under the TV, and bring out the colors of your rug. I'm into not matchy matchy. Put your husbands pic up somewhere else in the room and use the pink and green for items on the mantel, pillows etc. My suggestion is get color on that white mantel first and see if you like that. If no, I would also paint the mantel black, you can always go back to white. This is all from a side line decorator wantabe who thinks about this stuff when she can't sleep and drives her husband loco w repainting jobs!-Laura

nelya said...

I say yes to painting the mantle black! I've wanted to do the very same with my builder's blah-fest mantle. I would hold off on a decision about the cabinet until the mantle is complete. I do love the ideas you have for the cabinet, but perhaps not black. Nonetheless, yes to the brass hardware and changing out the glass. Maybe you could even back the doors with some sort of decorative brass grille. Like these:

As for that photograph, it is so, so good. You have to enlarge it and put it somewhere in your house. In fact, I have a fabulous huge lucite shadow box frame that is headed for MINTY, which would look incredible with a large size version of your photo. My only hesitation about putting that killer photo over the fireplace is balance, but it could work. If not the photo, perhaps something sculptural? A large brass Jere piece, something 70s and sculptural, even a big asymmetrical piece of driftwood mounted to the wall?

This seller always has great art:

On top of the mantle...I love Michelle's version:

Or how about a grouping of vintage pottery on the left side slowly moving it's way right and then on the right side something long and low (again, driftwood?) backed with a leaning vintage painting?

That's all I got for you. ;0)


OK...yes to painting the mantel will definitely help balance the TV being there. nkp really gave you some good should send her some flowers or something:) Maybe put some grasscloth on that whole wall and to the right and left to add texture. I'll keep thinking.....

Interior Design Musings said...

Love these kinds of posts and all the comments! I say definitely paint the mantel, but I might go with BM Dragon's breath which has some grey in it, but still black. I love the white/cream mirror on the right side of the fireplace as it balances the door to the left nicely. If you do paint the cabinet, consider doing a light color to balance the door on the left. As for above the fireplace, I think it would be fantastic if you found a wallpaper and did this area all the way up to the second story - it would have to be just the right paper to pull it off, but wow it would look amazing. Also, I did a post awhile back on mantels and how difficult they can be and it includes a nice collection of pictures from people waaay more talented than me. Here's the link!

Can't wait to see what you come up with. There is not a single thing I've seen you to your house that I didn't love! Always chic. M.

My Interior Life said...

Thank you all so much for your wonderful and very helpful comments! This gives me so many great ideas and jumping off points. Big blog hugs to you all!

Emily | Recently said...

I love the idea of a black mantel! In fact, I've often thought of doing the same to my mantel. (surprised?) :) I say go for it, with both the mantel and the cabinet. If you hate it you could always change it again! As for under the TV...I once saw where someone had clustered a bunch of framed family snapshots under her flatscreen (on the table below the TV) What about a ton of gold frames of different shapes and sizes all along the mantel? Don't know if it would have the same effect on a mantel, but it looked fabulous!

Interior Design Musings said...

Another link with some great solutions for your room. I love the trim molding around the artwork on one wall to ground the space and the stone on the fireplace.

alison giese Interiors said...

Oh, yeah, def go glossy black with the mantel. I actually like your ginger jars, and think they'll work great once the mantel is more dramatic.
We had our flat screen above our mantel in NC, and I hated it, but like you, we didn't have any other appealing options.

I think you should go bold color on the cabinet. Make it a focal point - especially with that great lamp!

P.S. - Did you get my email about receiving the paint sample? I've got a first coat on my cabinet, and it's looking sooooo good!! Thank you again!!

Laura@happyroost said...

It looks like its unanimous for going black on the mantel :) As for the space above the tv, what about doing an accent color all the way up to the ceiling? That would really add some drama and draw your eye up showing off the height. I would do that same color down around the sides of the mantel to ground it. Adding texture to that wall or wallpaper like Interior Design Musings said is a great idea as well. If you add some color to the wall, something to contrast the white jars, then I think they will work there. They just need to pop off a little bit.

As for the cabinet to the right, I don't think it looks bad the way it is. Painting it black would distract from the mantel. I would definitely change to mirrored doors and new hardware though.

Good luck on your project!


Unknown said...

Hmmmmm...I definetly like the idea of a black mantel. Maybe the cabinet a glossy white with the gold hardware? And a MAJOR chunky gold frame surround for the TV? Cabinet could even go a teal, yellow or turquoise if you could live with the pop. Either way it's all going to look great!

Interior Design said...

As the old saying about interior designing put black into your designs.

Ashley said...

Okay, so I'm a million years late to the party here, but I agree that a black mantle is the way to go. However, with the black television, it will be important to balance the color out with, say, another accent of brass or something on the mantle. Are you considering a fireplace screen or andirons? That could be another place to insert another color.

And, really, if you just ignored most of our comments and just listened to Nelya, you'd be golden. :)

My Many Moments said...

I am super late in adding my two cents but GO BLACK! I just did the same thing in my home. You can check it out in my previous posts. I love how it turned out! Oh and I used Martha Stewarts, Silouette for the paint.

Erin said...

Dude, you and I have almost the same living room and it is a b*tch to place the stupid tv. I feel you.

You know what I like is that all black room with the black mirror... I have this secret budding wish that you paint that wall black then the tv will recede.

Yeah, I know it won't happen. But maybe someone else can figure out another way to make the tv blend in.

Oh wait! I wrote a post about this once... maybe something in here can help you. Or not.

Kim said...

Did you do it? I love the idea of black for the mantle. We have a very similar LR and our TV sits lovingly in a recessed hole above the mantle. Hate, hate, hate it there, but it's "where it goes." We also have black marble as the inset and the hearth. I've always hated the black marble too and have wished a solution would fall from the sky to make it not look lame.

Can't wait to see what you do with it!