My Mantle Makeover

So, my dear readers, I know I’ve been completely negligent about writing recently; HOWEVER, it is with good reason as I just moved to Park Slope in June!  Brownstones galore, amazing architecture, beautiful gardens… I’m completely obsessed with my new neighborhood.  Just check out my gorgeous block!

A brownstone from the 1890s!  I swear I’m in heaven… just look at this fireplace in my living room!

I’ve been slowly starting to really get my new place in order.  First on the to-do list… that wall right above the fireplace.

Hmmm… what to do there?  I had been looking at buying an art print or large photograph… but then, in the course of discussing a project with a client, I remembered how much I love using rainbows in design (as previously discussed).  No, I’m not 5 years old, but there’s something just so psychologically calming about things being grouped by color.  I’m gonna study it someday.  (That’s a lie, I’ll never study it… but I can still hypothesize.)

ANYWAY… so when I was unpacking my books I came across my Munsell Student Color Set from design school.  This was a book from my colors class that talks all about the color spectrum and ways we perceive color… but it also includes a color analysis where you analyze each hue and the different shades and intensities, like so:

BINGO!  My mantle idea was born.  Got a bunch of plain white frames at IKEA that fit these things PERFECTLY and went about framing them…

Looks so easy right?  Except that IKEA’s smaller Ribba frames are impossible to hang!  I had 8x10s and the frame is so deep that there is no way to get a nail to reach the little picture hanger.  Such a shocker, IKEA is usually so well-designed.  IKEA, why have you forsaken me?  How the hell do you hang this?  I check out the website, it says, “can be hung vertically or horizontally.”  But HOW?????

Turns out I’m not the only one to put this particular problem in the Google.  I find out the best way to hang these is with Command velco strips.  2 stores later, they’re mine.

I am now such an enormous fan of these little guys that I don’t know if I’ll ever buy another picture hook.  They just stick right to the wall and supposedly you can remove them with no residue if you’re patient in the removal.  Plus because they’re velcro you can have multiple chances to get everything perfect.

Now.  A few words about gallery wall hanging.

1) Start in the middle and work your way out.  I was doing a set of 9 pictures so it was 3×3, very symmetrical with a clear center.  In this case, I wanted to make sure you have the middle one centered in the midpoint.  If you’re doing a less regular grid or an eclectic flea market look, you have more flexibility in deciding how they’ll all go together but you still want to start with the middle pictures when you hang them up.

2) Put a margin of 1 1/2″ inches between frames both ways.  Yes, an inch in a half.  I know it sounds picky, but it’s the right amount, don’t argue.

3) Use a level.  I’m in love with my iHandy app… highly highly recommend!  Also helps to have a friend who can help you eyeball.

4) Stand back and look at it after each picture.  If you mess one up, no problem.  If you mess all of them up, you’ll want to take a sledgehammer to your wall.

And now, for the final result!



I’m notorious for changing my house every three days but I don’t think I’ll get bored of this for a while.  It feels clean and modern and interesting… it actually looks kind of techy too, like a speaker output.  I spruced it up with my favorite Blomster candle holders ($14.99), some books, and these gorgeous hydrangeas.

Here’s some artsy pictures my friend Kim Byrne, photographer extraordinaire, took…

Allright, that’s all for now!  Hope you enjoyed.



3 responses to “My Mantle Makeover

  1. Suzie! Love the entry and the idea.! Looks amazing….i can’t wait to see it live. Besos from Miami!

  2. I love the Velcro idea. That’s brilliant

  3. Susie, this looks beautiful! Happy, bright, mellow, and peaceful come to mind.

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