24 April 2013

Mirror, Mirror {On the Mantle}

We moved into our house about 5 months ago.  Some areas of our house look lived in – others look like we are still unpacking…probably because we are.  I’m the type of person that wants everything to come together immediately.  Prime example: our living room.  I want it to look like mine and not the person’s we bought the house from.  So I've been slowly choosing pieces/colors/what-have-you to create a cohesive look that reflects my tastes.

We have a great fireplace.  It really is the focal point of the room – floor to ceiling brick.  Originally I had two pictures in black frames just resting on the mantle.  That looked fine for a while (of course I don’t have photos of it – what’s a camera?) but we have dark trim…everywhere. Everything being dark was starting to get to me.  I needed something to jazz it up and help it look less claustrophobic.  What’s better than a mirror?

Christie and I explored our local Garden Ridge; they have a lot of mirrors available, for really good prices.  My challenge was finding one that was the right size.  Seriously, I think Christie thought I was crazy – every mirror that either of us liked was met with this response <insert exasperated sigh here> “It’s too big.”  You see, my mantle is really tall so the space between the mantle and the ceiling is limited.  I needed something less square and more rectangular.

Always on the lookout for something with character – I took my search to eBay. After scouring what seemed to be a million listings (drum-roll please) I found IT!  28”W x 18”H and it oozed character – plus it was only $10…perfect!  Suggestion: if you’re looking for unique pieces check out seller ramona321 on eBay, she has great stuff!

I was like a kid on Christmas when it arrived.

Antique Mirror

 Just as a word of warning, when something has “lots of character” the amount of character it has is directly correlated to the amount of work that you’ll have to put into it.  So my supplies were #120 sandpaper, wood-fill (an entire tube), primer, paintbrushes and my $1.50 reject sample paint from Lowe’s. I used the wood-fill to build up some of the areas that were missing.  Once that dried (about 2 hours) I lightly sanded everything so that it was smooth.  I opted to hit it with a coat of primer first, just because the wood was so dry.  I didn’t want the paint to be sucked into the wood in different densities – makes for a splotchy paint job.  In all I put 3 coats of the top coat on, sanding lightly between each layer.

Antique Mirror

I left it sitting on the mantle for about 2 weeks – it bothered me that the only thing that I could see while standing or sitting was the ceiling.  That might have something to do with the fact that my textured ceiling and I have a love-hate relationship (I love to hate it) but that’s beside the point.  It NEEDED to be hung.  But, my husband didn't want to drill into the brick.  Fair enough.  I found these nifty little things called “brick clips.”  They sit in-between the mortar joint of the brick and provide a secure hanging point without having to drill into the brick.  Mine required a little manipulation of the mortar joint – ours was more or less flush and it has to be recessed in order for these clips to work.  Nothing a little bit of sanding couldn't handle!

Antique Mirror

It’s finally starting to feel like our home.  I’m learning that things take time (and money) to gradually morph into something that feels like it’s genuinely yours – I have to keep reminding myself to slow down and enjoy the process [ugh, patience].

Wishing everyone a happy & productive day, and if you have any stories of how you've made your space feel like home – please share!

Xoxo, Kate

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