Architectural Vintage Mantel 2012


So a few days ago, I was surrounded by some boxes of holiday decorations as well as a large collection of what I call “raw material” decorating supplies–not specifically for the holidays but useful nonetheless.  I decided that I wanted this year’s decorations to be completely different from last years, only I was going to use many of the same items that I did last year.  I chose to not spend much money for decorating this time around, so I only got a few select items from Dollar Tree to fill in.  I did use items that I had collected throughout the year while thrifting as well.


I have to say, I had the best-laid plans.  I had drawn out a diagram of how I wanted the mantel to look, and made a list of what I’d need to create it.  The only problem was that I couldn’t find those specific items that I thought I needed at the thrift stores, so most of those plans had to go away.  I came back home and started brainstorming.


This is how the mantel looked in its before state:



And now all decked out:



I found it easiest to sort all of my decorating items by color.  Then I could more easily see what I had to work with, and start thinking of some new combinations of the materials.


Once everything was sorted, I then started creating.  I wanted a classic, vintage and timeless look for the mantel, and I started playing with a broken column top and two silver sconces, and these formed the basis of the entire mantel style.  I also wanted a serene and sleek look, and this was achieved by limiting my color palate and adding in clear glass, as well as colored glass in the form of some pretty square bottles that held olive oil.  I just soaked them to remove the labels and washed them well, and here they are in a starring role on the mantel this year!



The column was a tall plaster one that got broken.  I simply hot-glued felt to the broken edges, and this piece now works well to add a dramatic presence to the side of the mantel.  The white bird and silver candle stand are thrift-store finds, and I threw in a vintage light fixture base that I’ve had forever because of its pretty color and patina, and all of this rests on an oval silver tray from Dollar Tree, along with a chunky LED candle.



The glass hurricane I bought at a half-price sale at Salvation Army Thrift store, and I got it for $2.  I picked up those silver sconces at the same sale, and paid $5 for the pair.  I filled the hurricane with Dollar Store silver glittery ornaments and white lights, and placed them on top of a thrift store cake stand.



My mom gave me this table runner, which she hand-embroidered.



I love the saying she chose to put on this and the pretty lace edging!



I have lots of pinecones, so I filled up a simple white wire basket that I’ve had for years for the other side of the mantel.



The greenery came from my culinary bay tree.  I prune it a bit at this time of year, and then bring in all the trimmings and use them to decorate the house and outside entry.  I find that they last well and look good even as they dry in place, retaining their deep green color, and they smell wonderful.  The mirror got a tiny bay leaf wreath as well.



The living room is now festive with vintage, architectural flair, and it was quite affordable, too!



What colors are you using in your decorating this winter?  I’d love to hear from you in the comments, so stop by for a visit!


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Thank you so much for your friendship and support–I appreciate it!

Till next time, 


I’m participating at:

Home For The Holidays Mantels Link Part at Silver Pennies

A Homespun Christmas Party at Cedar Hill Ranch

A Homespun Christmas Party at Savvy Southern Style

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas Blog Hop at

It’s Party Time at Setting For Four

Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps On The Porch

Be Inspired Link Party at Elizabeth & Co.

Table Top Tuesday Party at A Stroll Through Life

Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style

Home and Garden Thursday at A Delightsome Life

Tutorials, Tips and Tidbits at Stone Gable

Catch as Catch Can at My Repurposed Life


Home Stories A2Z


TDC Before and After


Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special





The Lettered Cottage


Life on Lakeshore Drive

Christmas Junk Decor Link Party at Funky Junk Interiors


My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
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About AthenaMG

Athena McElrath is a Master Gardener with a love for gardening, decorating and cooking inexpensively. She enjoys working out in her urban garden in Southwest Washington State, watching the hummingbirds and other birds and insects, eating the wonderful vegetables, fruits and herbs that she produces from her garden, and just having a great time hanging out under the pergola with her family and friends (that is, whenever it stops raining long enough).
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23 Responses to Architectural Vintage Mantel 2012

  1. Wow! Amazing. I love how it’s like no other on the Internet. Both very classic and truly whimsical!

  2. Jacqueline says:

    Lovely! You know I love that sampler that your Mother made! Love the greens. Bay smells so wonderful, and looks gorgeous. Wish I had some! Pretty, pretty mantel display!

  3. Oh I love it. The pedestal and lantern are fabulus anchors for the mantel. Love that mirror too. Beautiful vignette. Thanks tons for joining TTT. Hugs, Marty

  4. Shanda says:

    How lovely! I lovelovelove the table runner your mom made!

  5. Very nice, Athena!!!! I thought that was bay leaf! WOW!!! You actually have a tree of bay leaves??!?!?! I didn’t even know it came from a tree. I think I must have guessed it came from a bush. I use bay leaf a lot in my cooking, so it’s amazing to me that you can just go outside and pull a couple of leaves off the tree when you need it! I’ve never seen it fresh. Not even sure you can cook with it fresh? Does it have to be dried first like it is sold in the market? You really decked this mantel out!

    • AthenaMG says:

      You are so nice, Alycia, thank you. Yes, bay leaves come from a bay tree. They are actually native to garden zone 9 and higher, but I have mine in a warm area on our property, and it’s now about 10-12 feet tall. In the Mediterranean they can grow up to 30 feet tall. And you certainly can use the leaves fresh or dried–either work well.

  6. Karen says:

    You did a great job, it’s so elegant. What could be better than beauty and elegance on a budget?

  7. Pendra says:

    Lovely. The oil bottles was a brilliant idea, the color is beautiful. Your mantle is warm with all the vintage pieces and the gorgeous runner embroidered by your Mother is a treasure and holds prominence on your mantel! Beautiful job!

  8. Mindy says:

    OH, it’s so pretty!!! I love, love, love all the greenery. And the silver ornaments with the lights! My favorite mantel in blogland so far!

  9. Hi Athena! Thanks for coming over to Mendez Manor this week! I wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award. You can read more about it here: Happy Holidays!

  10. Wow! A bay leaf tree?! How cool is that? You’re always ready to make some tomato sauce I guess :).

    Your mother’s table runner is lovely. How nice to have something like that to call your own.

    Thanks for linking up at ‘its beginning to look a lot like Christmas’. So happy to have you!

  11. This is beautiful. I’m a freak for architectural salvage!

  12. Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. says:

    What a gorgeous mantel. It’s perfect! I love the elegant vintage feel.

  13. Danielle says:

    I love your mantel. Would love for you to link it up at our Home for the Holidays link party that started today.

  14. Andie says:


    It is so lovely! I love the bay leaves! They smell so good, don’t they? Every last detail is perfection!