Mantel Worship

A few days ago, I was reading an article on the history of the mantel as a "family altar" in a 1985 Art & Antiques magazine. Fireplaces are magical, insisted the article, and so it's only natural that since the seventeenth century, the mantel has been used to display what we as a culture hold nearest and dearest. (In 1985, the past was all the rage, although I wonder just what it is we're worshiping today.)

What a lovely, romantic idea, I thought, especially with the onset of the holiday season. Yet, it occurred to me that sometimes, you've gotta work with what you've got, even when what you've got isn't really what you want.

Take, for instance, this extremely earthy looking fireplace. It imparts a very ski lodge-y feel to an entire room, even if a ski lodge isn't exactly the altar at which you'd like to worship.

So, in the interest of keeping alive the dream that we should all be able to choose where and what we'd like to worship, I painted, gilded, and distressed a canvas cloth to fit the fireplace. Put it on, take it off, hide the altar, change the scene...worship the altar of change, the ability to morph and be something new at the drop of a hat. How ideal is that?

The fireplace pre- transformation:

And after:


jezebel said...

Good god, almighty! Again, Miss T., you have me in fits of glee. That feather/crystal concoction is delicious-looking.

P.Gaye Tapp at Little Augury said...

well said jezebel. Lauren you have to stop doing this sort of thing! ski lodges will be doing greek keys and the like. Gorgeous and amaZing to say the least. la

home before dark said...

I think if your altar doesn't reveal your alter-ego, what the hell? Always impressed by your nerve and verve and wait to read your post about your mother! You two make a great team.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

I'm sorry -but you're a genius. Every glimpse you give of your house is amazing -what a charming room and love the 'coverup' to the fireplace :-)


Jezebel- Thanks! The silk feathery things were a total chance encounter. Ran across them at Michaels, amongst the artificial flowers. Who knew.

Little Augury- The only way we'll see Greek keys at a ski lodge is if Donatella Versace takes one over!

home before dark- thank you! And yes, she needs an introduction!

ArchitectDesign- Dear lord, a genius I am most certainly NOT! I'm extremely flattered though, and I'm glad you liked it!

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