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Debbiedoo's: OPINIONS pleeeeez!


Diy, thrifty home decor decorating ideas on a budget. Painting furniture, stenciling projects. Turning trash to treasure.

Monday, September 13, 2010

OPINIONS pleeeeez!

Ok so let me tell you a little bit about my friend Sue.  Sue and I met when are boys were in Kindergarten class together, which was four years ago.  The first day I met her I knew we would be fast and furious did I know that you ask? Well she is a Buffalo girl  (From Buffalo, NY like myself), and Buffalo girls are always warm and friendly. So needless to say Sue and I are still buddies, and she truly is an awesome friend.  This week she asked me for some decorating help. We are actually re doing her guest room which I will be showing you soon. It is so pretty.
Sue and her family live on the Lake and they have one of the most beautiful homes in our area.  She has a serious decorating dilemma with her FP mantel though. 
- I look at it, I find balance, and it is a gorgeous as you can see.
- But what is missing?
- She needs more of a wow factor, don't you think?
- As you can see from her beautiful home, she is simple, and likes a sort of country rustic style.
- SO what do you think we can do to make this FP mantel speak a little more to us.
- I would love your input
- She would love your comments
-We need some honest input here, believe me she would be so appreciative of that. I suppose I am at a loss because my FP is soooooo very different. I truly look at this and have NO clue. HELP~~~
-I am thinking because the stone goes all the way up the wall, these buffet lamps just are way too small. Do you think Lamps even look appropriate?
-Ok I have been telling her for years I am not a fan of the faux ficus...I believe it covers the wires to the lamps, What do you think on that?
Sneak peek at her kitchen window, these windows go all the way across the back of her home. STUNNING views!
Let er roll with opinions please:)
Joining Marty, for table top Tuesday.... these gals ought to have some help for us!



Blogger Angela said...

I think there are too many small things across it. She needs more range in size of things.

I don't really mind the fake ficus at all, it does at least look real.

September 13, 2010 at 6:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the stars everywhere! Could that big star in the middle be crying for some color? I was thinking- keep the original color with a dash of red on one half of each horn of the star. (if you know what I mean). :D

The tree, I like the green there. Any green would do, I think. Colorful.

The lamps can go elsewhere. Flowers- can they have more striking colors?

September 13, 2010 at 6:29 PM  
Blogger Mary Ann said...

Those delicate looking lamps have to go, don't think lamps are necessary. The birdhouses are much too little. A really tall one would work. The star seems heavy, so I would use some sturdy black wrought iron candleabras or brass candle holders in different sizes would be nice too. Nate Berkus says if you can't have real flowers and greenery, to do without. I'm not fond of fake plants. Maybe a pretty little small plant stand with a moon plant would work. I know light is an issue, but my moon doesn't mind low light and blooms all the time.

September 13, 2010 at 6:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

p.s. can the sofas turn a little colorful, too? :)

September 13, 2010 at 6:32 PM  
Blogger Elder Esplin said...

What about a mirror behind the star, or instead of the star? Or a large piece of art. I think the problem is there is no where for the eye to rest. It's going all the way up that fireplace! It's beautiful:) The mirror should help break up some of the brick and help stabilize the space and bring it down a little. Which will help it feel even more cozy :) Hope this makes sense. Have fun.

Jennie @ Cinnaberry Suite

September 13, 2010 at 6:35 PM  
Blogger Love the Decor! said...

Too many small things. I always love a mirror or a picture with color above fireplace. A big leafy wreath would be fun too. I think chunky candlesticks or a lantern with orbs in it or something with substance

September 13, 2010 at 6:35 PM  
Blogger Marie-Andrée said...

The lamps are wright where they are. She need some color. The star are the same color as the stone. The tree is OK there, he put some green color. What will arive when the little flower in the black vase will be gone??? The star is very lovely but not the right color or not the right place.

September 13, 2010 at 6:42 PM  
Blogger Sonny G said...

I concur with the other posters -- too many small things. Since she seems to be going in a country direction with this- a large rug hung about 2 ft from the top of the fireplace and allowed to hang almost to the mantle would visually do away with all that stone, OR a quilt made in her tones and patterns.. Because of the depth of the mantle, I'm not sure she could get lamps the size they'd need to be , up there. The 3rd option and what I would do if it were mine-- frame the top half of the fireplace and put sheetrock on it and paint it the wall color..
That would leave only the stone going to a normal fireplace height and then the lamps and star wouldnt seem so small, though the star could be a larger version too.. I vote FOR the ficus tree:) sorry Deb.

September 13, 2010 at 6:44 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I agree with the others, the little lamps need to find a different home. They kind of box in the other decor on the mantle. I think the bird houses are fine, but it needs more color to make it pop! What about a picture, maybe a print or fake oil painting (you know the prints that have "brush" strokes on them), something with wild flowers or even the star theme. I like the idea of tall candleabra's (spelled that wrong!), but I don't think bright brass would work, something with color, they are easy to paint, or maybe some that have an oil rubbed bronze finish. Also, I like the fake plant, but it could be a bit more colorful. I think that what ever is done, there just needs to be lots of color, the fireplace itself, which is beautiful, has a lot going on, and in order for things to stand out they need color. I also like the idea of painting a bit of color on the big star. Hope this helps!

September 13, 2010 at 6:47 PM  
Blogger The Decorative Dreamer said...

Fun, and so nice of her to let you help! I think the star needs some color! It blends too much with the stones. Distressed red like the birdhouse maybe??? I might also lower it to make it more of a focal point. Then add some big beautiful floral arrangements on each side in rustic colored containers where the flowers just pop out, and you are done! Or if you want to go further big chunky wooden rustic candlesticks on one side then a substantial floral on the other side! This might actually be better since the mantle is small instead of trying to have so much balance to do something that is not symmetrical. Hope I didn't confuse. Beautiful home by the way! I love it!

September 13, 2010 at 6:52 PM  
Blogger Roberta said...

So agree with the masses here...those lamps have to go. Too small and victorian looking..they are buffet lamps not for the mantel ;) The vase is not needed either. The birdhouses are fine if you could find another vintage element like SIGNAGE to go across most of the mantel and place some chunky candle sticks on one side with the birdhouse set on the other side to balance things out. Remember ODD numbers when grouping accessories is best so three chunky candles sticks with the two birhouses would be fine. A lower sign or vintage plaque below the star would balance it out. Hope this helps, fondly, Roberta
PS..check out's a free design blog with all kinds of ideabooks on everything ;)

September 13, 2010 at 6:54 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

I agree that the small things need to go. Also, it would be better to have something above the mantel in a contrasting color and definitely larger. Maybe a huge clock or mirror??? Here is a link that might help with visualization and scale.

September 13, 2010 at 6:57 PM  
Blogger Menopausal New Mom said...

OMG Debbie, I've been trying to comment on your blog for days and couldn't get it to work.

Hurray!!! I hope whatever was wrong is now fixed.

Okay, the fireplace, you may be sorry you asked but here's my opinion on the mantle.

Lamps are the wrong scale (too small) but all too frilly or something to go with the rustic style of the stone. Also, too many little things, looks cluttered,

On a fireplace like that, less is more. The big star is fine and I would probably use greenery instead of flowers (again too frilly for the rustic fireplace) and even a bit of greenery or a nice wicker basket of birch wood in front of the opening.

It would be a lovely focal point but too busy the way it is.

I know, I've got a big mouth and a lot of opinions, it's the menopause :)


September 13, 2010 at 6:57 PM  
Blogger The Polka Dot Closet said...

Ok so here is what I see...The mantel is to small for the fireplace. A fire place that size needs a much wider, thicker mantel. I would add wide decorative molding around the mantel. While I was at it, I would make the hearth board thicker at the same time. Now that you have a bigger mantel you can add bulkier, taller, decorative pieces. The reason she has small pieces is because she has a narrow small mantle. OK, there is my 2 cents worth! Now, what in the H__ _ _ is a buffalo girl? Just by the way it sounds I don't want to be in your sorority! LOL


September 13, 2010 at 7:00 PM  
Blogger Heather{Our Life In a Click} said...

What a lovely home and fireplace! I agree with most of the other comments that the star blends in with the wall . I love a mirror above the fireplace and maybe some candles (real or flameless) in front of to reflect the light back out. Chunky candlesticks and candles. It needs more weight up there.

September 13, 2010 at 7:01 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Beautiful fireplace! I agree with the others...loose the lamps, add more color. I like the idea of the tall, chunky candle holders. I would probably replace the star with something bigger and more eye catching...maybe a large black and white photo printed on canvas?

September 13, 2010 at 7:05 PM  
Blogger Shell said...

My first though is WOW~ what fun! And what a trusting friend, lol, good thing you have fantabulous taste! Second~ that's a tiny mantle for such a big fireplace! I think that is where the heart of the problem is. The stone is beautiful all the way up, but what about a pop of red somewhere or one of those very large clocks placed higher up (it seems like everything is grouped low, but could stand to go a few feet higher b/c if the ceiling space.
Can't wait to see what you come up with!

September 13, 2010 at 7:15 PM  
Blogger Linda @ A La Carte said...

First thing I thought was those lamps are too little for that FP. It is so huge it needs something substantial on the mantel to balance it. Too many little things across it. I do love the star! Good luck, I know you can do it you have a great eye!

September 13, 2010 at 7:15 PM  
Blogger Heather* said...

I LOVE the star...but it blends too much...maybe use a punchy rustic red or black...I also would hang it slightly higher. I would take the lamps out of the picture and place huge stalks of hay grass in clear glass vases tied with a ribbon that co-ordinates with the star and then maybe place some chunky tall pillar candles at the base of the fireplace to match again...not sure if this helps but you have tons of people commenting with ideas so ONE should work :)

September 13, 2010 at 7:15 PM  
Blogger Sherry @ No Minimalist Here said...

From what I see her home is lovely and the stone fireplace is amazing. I think the mantle piece is too small for such a large fireplace. I would beef it up with a heavy beam or box. Next I would add some color by removing the star and adding art. Lastly, go for larger items and ones that colors do not blend into the stone. I would love to see any changes she makes.

September 13, 2010 at 7:17 PM  
Blogger Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

Debbie, the very first thing I noticed when I saw the mantel is the size of it. It is too small for the fireplace. It needs to be all the way across and more substatial. Thicker ledge and some nice corbels on each end would help the most before the accessorizing part. I don't know if they can afford it, but if they are diyers it shouldn't cost much.

September 13, 2010 at 7:17 PM  
Blogger Shell said...

P.S. on the ficus~ It's only bad if she decides not to put up a Christmas tree and decorate the ficus instead...don't laugh (okay you can), my mom did it one year. She boycotted a Christmas tree b/c nobody except her or my Dad would see it so she put lights on it and hung little ornaments. When Sue gets to that point, then it's time for an intervention!

September 13, 2010 at 7:18 PM  
Blogger KimberlyJ said...

If it were mine I'd add a more substantial mantle. Something like an old beam would be nice. The stone work is gorgeous but the mantle gets lost. Then more substantial decoration could be used also.

September 13, 2010 at 7:20 PM  
Blogger Maureen said...

To me, the scale is wrong. The stone wall is so substantial that the mantel and base get lost. As others have said a nice chunky mantel and base (hearth??) in a nice mahogany color. Then the other pieces can be decided.

Good luck.

September 13, 2010 at 7:31 PM  
Blogger Allison {A Glimpse Inside} said...

I am in agreement with many here... too many small things and I think that star would pop a lot more in a different color. Take the lamps away entirely.

Needs a grouping on one size with different sized items, one being rather tall. I wouldn't put anything under the star, then something on the other side of the mantel to balance out.

September 13, 2010 at 7:31 PM  
Blogger Vanessa said...

Wow! What a gorgeous fireplace! I saw on an HGTV show awhile back a fireplace JUST LIKE THIS and the family lived on a lake too. They used a great BIG architechtural piece on the top part and I'm pretty sure (this is going to sound crazy) it was a rustic Canoe or a large barn door/shutter or something like that. I think it needs DRAMA but in a rustic/country kinda way. You know? One big piece as the focal and then definitely a much more substantial mantel and then very few accessories. Maybe 2 huge hurricane candleholders on either end and one big, beautiful dried flower arrangement in her colors? Am I getting carried away? :-)
Beautiful home!

September 13, 2010 at 7:39 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Debbie, my first thought when I saw the photo is this needs some color, perhaps a painting or paint the star. I'd change out the mantel to something heavier. They might find an old mantel or make one from reclaimed wood. With the ceiling height in this room I think the fireplace needs more weight. Beautiful room and the views from her kitchen windows are fabulous!

September 13, 2010 at 7:46 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

I agree with Carol and Kim, that mantle needs to pump some iron and bulk up. I like the idea of corbels as well. Too, the red punches of color(or a distressed, glazed red) is a good suggestion. Yes, yes, those lamps gotta go. Too, the tree is alright by me, but if it is covering those lamps, get a real plant unless kids or pets are not compatible with plants. Too, I like the ideas of tall chunky candles(with stands) and a tall bird house, but not together. You can do it, and by the way, where is goldie when you need her, oh, yes that's right, she is terrorizing RMSrs in their bedrooms, LOL!!!

September 13, 2010 at 7:48 PM  
Blogger Kathy@ Gone North said...

Wow! Beautiful home!! I would definitly do something to beef up the mantle, at least. And then lose the lamps. Add some color, paint the star a barn red, or an empty frame around it in red. Add something chunky.. BIG candle holders on one side...
Maybe a really large clock or someone said an archectural piece... that would be fun & a conversation piece.
Then I would definitly lose the tree... add some tall grasses/dried weeds??? in a really cool vase. Add something to the hearth as well.
Can I come & help?? : )

September 13, 2010 at 7:56 PM  
Blogger Kathy@ Gone North said...

PS....Make sure that you post "after" pics :)

September 13, 2010 at 7:58 PM  
Blogger Melissa Miller said...

Wow! Her home and fireplace are simply stunning and gorgeous!

The first thing I noticed is the mantle is way too small. I think it should be carved wood and much thicker for the scale of the stone and height of the room. The accesorries are too small as well and there are too many. No lamps maybe large candles and a vibrant painting or a large tapestry. More color added too!

I hope I helped! ~Melissa :)

September 13, 2010 at 8:01 PM  
Blogger the cape on the corner said...

i definitely think a tall mirror with a decorative frame, or at least a chunky frame. she could maybe dangle the star over top of it, you know how people do wreaths in front of mirrors. which, by the way, i have never seen before blogging, lol. love those views!

September 13, 2010 at 8:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This fireplace is GORGEOUS!!!! It's a huge focal point, because of that I think there are too many small things there. It needs some more substantial items, with some pops of color to stand out against the rock

September 13, 2010 at 8:16 PM  
Blogger Donna said...

Hi Debbie,
I think the mantle itself is much too small for the size of the fireplace. If she likes the rustic look, maybe one made from a part of a very large tree trunk. And I think those lamps are way too small in scale, and the style is not right for the setting. Hope that helps! Fewer but larger pieces would make a bigger impact (the star is perfect, I think). BTW, thanks so much for stopping by and commenting on my Halloween stuff! It's always a treat when you visit!

September 13, 2010 at 8:19 PM  
Blogger Gina said...

I haven't read any of the comments so I'm sorry if I repeat what the other's may have said.

My first thought? The mantel needs to be "beefed up". I think it's too small for the gorgeous fireplace. I'm thinking a wide, thick, rustic looking, piece of wood.

September 13, 2010 at 8:25 PM  
Blogger Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

I totally agree with Kim about enlarging the mantel and adding corbels if that is at all possible. I love the star, but would she consider painting it a reddish color or maybe a mustard gold. Need some color. I would eleminate the lamps and add some really beefy and tall candlesticks on one end, and then a fabulous basket or vase full of fall foliage that is really tall and spreads out a little on the other end. A much taller birdhouse, mantel clock, stack of books or something else next to the candlesticks. Just think huge when you are picking things out. A basket full of wood on the hearth would also help ground everything and draw the eye down a little. Good luck. Can't wait to see what you do. Hugs, Marty

September 13, 2010 at 8:26 PM  
Blogger Susan Freeman said...

The first thing that comes to my mind is that the mantel is not large enough. The stone and the massiveness of the fireplace can use a more substantial mantel. If she did that, she could keep the decorations a bit more subtle and let the stone and the wood be the focal point. While I like the lamps, I would use them somewhere else. I would lean some great prints on the mantel for a less structured look.

Susan and Bentley

September 13, 2010 at 8:27 PM  
Blogger Pam - @diy Design Fanatic said...

Definitely gorgeous fireplace and stonework. I think she needs a heavier mantel to start with. Then a few heavier things on it. I love the fireplace screen!

September 13, 2010 at 8:30 PM  
Blogger Olive said...

As has been said too many smalls. It needs three large pieces that command attention. Two maybe of the same thing (not lamps) and something slightly smaller. The star would be great painted a different color...I know you can do that! hugs♥olive

September 13, 2010 at 8:31 PM  
Blogger Jemsmom said...

I think the mantel needs to be a lot bigger. It is easy to basically make a box minus the back with crown molding pieces and fit it over the existing mantel. I think a black would be cool, but a rusted orb color would be beautiful too. I think it would look really cool to lay some tall old chippy painted doors against the wall with some big chunky candles on each side. I think with the stone work (which is gorgeous!) keeping it simple would be key. Can't wait to see it!

September 13, 2010 at 8:39 PM  
Blogger Becca Bertotti said...

Hey there, Debbie! Your friend has a beautiful home !! I agree though that her mantle accessories are a bit on the small side. If she was able to "beef" up her mantle a bit, that'd be beautiful. I also picture larger-scaled pieces there ... possibly a large basket on the hearth holding firewood or, perhaps, pumpkins. Possibly, big chunky candlesticks at varying heights. And, yes, I'm with you that the Ficus tree might have to find a new spot !! Again, she has a beautiful home !! Take care, Becca

September 13, 2010 at 8:42 PM  
Blogger Here On Crow Creek said...

I wonder how it would look to spray the stay a creme color.Seems it gets lost in all that stone. I like the tree. Something on the mantle to run long ways and maybe hang off the sides a little. Im not a big fan of the lamps but it does need something tall there. Over all she has a beautiful home and I really love the fireplace:)

September 13, 2010 at 8:43 PM  
Blogger Kitty Deschanel said...

That fireplace is gorgeous! My advice? That star is just kinda blending in right now. Could she paint it a different color to make it pop? Perhaps another color from the room. Also, methinks there are just a few too many things on that mantle.
I hope this helps! Post photos when it's redone! :)

September 13, 2010 at 8:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't read the other comments so I might be repeating what someone else has said. I don't think she needs the lamps at all! The star doesn't show up, it should be spray painted. I think a red would look awesome if she has red in her decor, if not a bright color that does go with her decor. She needs bigger items on the mantel of varying heights with some color. Because the fireplace is so rustic, she really needs to add some softness and some color up there.

Hope this helps.


September 13, 2010 at 8:46 PM  
Blogger Terry @ La Bella Vie said...

ps I do interior re-design on the side in life:)

September 13, 2010 at 8:50 PM  
Blogger Blondie's Journal said...

I think all of the tips and ideas are fantastic, Debbie. My only opinion is that the mantel piece be larger itself. Thicker wood at least. Heavier pieces will be out of proportion if the mantel is this small...

Good luck to your friend!


September 13, 2010 at 9:05 PM  
Blogger Anita @ GoingALittleCoastal said...

My first thought was a bigger mantel as it seems thin and narrow for such a big beautiful fireplace. But it also needs more height. So, lose the lamps and add a tall glass vase with filler in it or a even a galvanized vase. Something with tall grass or willow branches. I like the star and the color. I suspect it shows up a lot better in person. You could even raise it some and then have a mirror, art or a decorative piece to one side with the vase to the other. I know the hearth would be a lot harder to swap out so I would just add something to it like a rustic crate with maybe a colorful quilt in it or a plant. Oh and the birdhouses are on the small side so if you keep those I'd add a 3rd and larger one to go with it then raise one of the small ones up with something under it. Whoa, sorry this is so long!

By the way my son's girlfriend is from Buffalo and she is very warm and friendly too!

September 13, 2010 at 9:10 PM  
Blogger xinex said...

I am thinking birdhouses on a stand would look better cause they are taller. Bigger elements too would look better....Christine

September 13, 2010 at 9:18 PM  
Blogger Leo said...

If possible, I would install a larger mantle. Because there is so much stone - which is lovely, I believe less is more. I would take the big star down. It is not in scale and the color is too similar to the stone and actually, it takes away from the beauty of the stone. I would not replace it with anything and instead focus on putting taller scale items on the mantle...I would ditch the lamps and put various sizes and shapes of vintage vases and bottles...tall and thin and round and chunkier....and include in one or two rounder fatter pieces of a coral sculpture in a creamy white color...for contrast. The coral would look great against the stone. Thats my two cents.

September 13, 2010 at 9:27 PM  
Blogger Emily {Frilly Details} said...

What a gorgeous fireplace! Wow! I think it would be stunning to build a bigger mantle above the fireplace. The one there now is nice, but it's pretty small compared to the large scale of the fireplace. Adding some bigger, chunkier accessories would help too.

September 13, 2010 at 9:29 PM  
Blogger AmericKim said...

I haven't read the other comments, yet. I thought it would "fuddle" my ideas. I'll go back and read after.

The first thing that impacted me was the size of the FP. It is huge, the mantle; not so much. Perhaps if the mantle were much bigger with some anchors underneath and painted white (to match the other wood). I also think that those lamps belong on a dining room buffet. Mirrors would be great across the mantle. All different sizes (some really large or at least one). These are great for lightening up the dark stone and if the veiws from the window are directly across the room -- WOW what a statement that would make. You can decorate around mirrors with small clear vases. Perhaps with a rose in each or something seasonal for a touch of color. I love real plants. If the mirrors provide light from reflection, you will not need the lamps, therefore you don't need to hide the wires with the ficus.
What do you think? I would love to know what you think of my opinions (just wandering if I'm on track or not). Good luck. I'm sure whatever you guys decide on, it will be fantastic!

September 13, 2010 at 9:37 PM  
Blogger NanaDiana said...

I wish I had time to read all the other comments but I don't so here goes. I think the main thing wrong is that the mantle is too narrow for the size of the fireplace. We had one like this when we moved into this house. We basically built a "box" around it and made it much bulkier. We have a lot of stone too so I like a thick wood "beam" for a mantle. (a fake/boxed one or a real beam).

I would lose most of the stuff on the mantle...most stuff is too small and the lamps are really too small. I like the star but it needs a bit of ooomph to pop it. I see some rusty/orangish color on the pillows...maybe a dry brush coat of that on the star and a deeper color on the rim of the star to make it pop out.

She could also, in place of all that, hang a beautiful fabric piece (a big rug, a big flag or blanket/quilt type thing might work too) close to the top of the stonework. I would not cover much of it up myself..because I think the stonework is beautiful to look at.

I don't mind the greenery at all..I know some people hate the fake ficus trees but she hasn't overdone it with fake flowers,etc..and it looks like a nice tree.

That being said, she has the right idea...just the wrong sizes-lol-it has happened to all of us at one time or another... Diana

September 13, 2010 at 9:40 PM  
Blogger AmericKim said...

Just read the comments...we all agree; bigger -- much bigger mantle. great ideas out there and what a fun job.
Again, good luck. have fun! :)

September 13, 2010 at 9:42 PM  
Blogger Bring Pretty Back said...

I think the comments you have gotten are great. I have no decorating ability That's why I love blogs so I can learn from the ones that do! I hope you post photo's of what she does to change things!
Have a pretty day!

September 13, 2010 at 9:43 PM  
Blogger afistfullofweeds* said...

I only read about half of the other comments....but, there NEEDS to be a much larger and thicker mantel...Then fill it with larger contrasting colors. JMHO Rhonda

September 13, 2010 at 10:11 PM  
Blogger Lizabeth said...

Hi Debbie- Fun project! I definitely would get rid of the lamps and the black vase. It looks to me like the mantle and hearth are made of a bluestone? They are unique and I don't see how you could change the look of that without a great deal of work. How about a clay pot turned upside down with the red birdhouse set on top and the little one set next to it....try a couple of painted large candlesticks. I have made the assumption that the star is staying, so I'm looking at it from that point of view and trying to work with what you have already and adding some fixes! Have fun! Liz

September 13, 2010 at 11:32 PM  
Blogger Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

What a lovely fireplace! I agree with others than the mantle is too small, as are the accessories. The star blends in with the stone- look how the red birdhouse stands out- if the star was painted red or black it would definitely stand out more, too. A large colorful piece of art could also work well there! With such rustic stone, I think the accessories need weight and substance- like large black iron pieces, etc.

September 14, 2010 at 12:02 AM  
Blogger MJ said...

Well Debbie, Im a Jersey girl so you know I got an opinion!

The fireplace is the stone. However I dont know the budget but if possible I would bulk up the mantle...its not the right scale for that big stone centerpiece. It should go all the way across and be chunky..

The lamps do not suit this fireplace at all. I would do either a large mirror with chunky candlesticks in a black iron or pottery in maybe rust color.

Or.....paint that beautiful star a red or rust tone(it looks like she has some of that going on in the sofa pillow and also the valance in the kitchen. And then accessorize with some metals.

I would also add some accessories down below. Maybe a basket or some iron pieces.

I gotta agree with you on the ficus, not a fan either. How about a nice piece to hold wood to give it that authentic look. Maybe some signage above that on the wall to tie into the star rustic theme.

Cant wait to see what you do.

September 14, 2010 at 12:41 AM  
Blogger Heidi said...

Okay, my two cents: I think the problem is with the mantel itself. The proportion is off compared to the mass of the fireplace and the rock wall. It would balance better (in my opinion!!) if it were beefier. A handyman could build up a new, similar but thicker box type stucture around the existing mantel - to give more visual weight. (it could be clean lined and modern, or classic and traditional). Then, a few well chosen, larger accessories that relate to each other in some way, grouped together in 3's or 5's, would be more pleasing to the eye. At least, that's how I would approach the project. It's basically a gorgeous fireplace that just needs a little oomph!
Good luck!
Heidi - Heart and Home

September 14, 2010 at 12:43 AM  
Blogger - Brittany aka Pretty Handy Girl said...

It is hard to see the things she used on the fireplace because there isn't enough contrast between the stone and the objects. If the star was painted white, a light color, or maybe even red it would pop. Or put a mirror or light colored artwork/canvas behind everything to give them a light color to show up on.

Also, I'd love to see her mantle itself beefed up. It is pretty skinny for a massive wall of stone. I think the decor looks nice, it just doesn't show up.


September 14, 2010 at 12:58 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I think the star should be white. Maybe a crackle effect? I am a big Texas star decor gal. The star should stand alone. But I like the bird house...

September 14, 2010 at 2:12 AM  
Blogger Nita Stacy said...

My first thought is that the actual mantel is way too small for this fireplace and that is what is causing the problem. I would beef it up by building a box of wood to cover it. I think I would do a rough wood look...even though that is not my style at all. But you could build one with pretty moldings too.

I'd paint the star chippy white or put a large mirror there. I'd get rid of the lamps. And use a few larger elements that would change of course with the seasons. I love the stone work. I think this is a very beautiful's just that mantel....too skinny.

I'd get rid of the plant. I'm not a fan of fake plants at all.

Can't wait to see the do over.

September 14, 2010 at 3:01 AM  
Blogger Farah said...

Hi Debb, although I am bit late to suggest anything but I was very busy with some home affairs...
FP is really nice itself but with decorating ideas its tough I think, its stony image is difficult to handle, first I think she should add colours, bold colours that die down a bit of a hardy image... And what she has now on the mental are small items something much bigger than now. Because the over all look of FP is huge, large and with a mascline touch, in my opinion she decor it that gives the place a bit softer touch.. Star which hangs , is also merged with the over all colour scheme of FP, may be a different paint enhance it more..
I am waiting for the end result Debb...Love

September 14, 2010 at 3:09 AM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

Years ago, I lived in a house with a similar fireplace. Paneling from the 70's, not stone like hers. It it was the same floor to ceiling dark type feel, so I know how hard it is to work with that.

I agree that the fireplace needs some work. It seems a bit mismatched to me.

First thing I'd do is ditch the lamps. I like them, but lamps don't belong on a mantel. Those look a little fancy on a rustic type fireplace too. If she has a sofa table or accent tables, move the lamps there.

I like the star, but it blends in too much with the colors of the stones. If she wants to keep it above the mantel, I'd paint it. Try that red color in the accent pillows on the sofa. However, I like the metal as it is, so I'd find a wall space to move that to. That empty spot on the stair landing might be nice.

Then I'd get a large vertical picture or several smaller pictures stacked on top of each other to play up the vertical height and take up some of that blank space. These pictures would hide some of the stone too. I like the stone, but having so much of the same material can be a bit too much.

I'd stick with natural or rustic accessories as she's doing now. For me, the problem is that everything is pretty much the same small scale and all vertical.

Maybe go to HomeGoods or TJMaxx and get a pair of pottery pieces in that red shade to flank each side of the mantel. Candles would be nice too. Or if she wants to keep with the rustic theme, get some larger birdhouses to mix in what she already has. Then maybe get some greenery or a floral arrangement that hangs down and drapes over the mantel edge just to give it some softeness.

One thing I also notice is that the bottom of the fireplace is pretty bare, so your eye is drawn up high and stays there. It was hard to even notice all the other great stuff like the couches and other accents in the room. I'd pull the eye down by adding some accessories like a large basket with a throw and some magazines or something on the other side of the fireplace. I don't know how often she uses the fireplace, but a basket with lightweight accessories isn't hard to pull out of the way for safety's sake if needed.

Tell her not to listen to you about the tree. :) I like that she has something tall to balance out the height of the fireplace and add some soften to the room. And like her, I'd much rather see a tree than electric cords. I'd keep that where it is.

Overall, I think her decorating is really nice. The small accessories are just lost in that room. If she goes big and more dramatic, I think that will make a huge difference.

September 14, 2010 at 3:18 AM  
Blogger Amy @ Keep'n The SunnySide said...

Options I would suggest.

1. Install a larger Mantel & then paint the hearth a more dramatic color like the red that's in the little bird house.

2. If a larger Mantel is not an option, paint it same color as newly painted hearth color.

3. I love the star, but it blends in too much.

4. I agree with the others.. there are two many small things on the mantel. The eye needs to see some height and dimension.

5. How about adding some foliage?

Just a few suggestions since honesty is what she's really looking for. GREAT bones though.. that fireplace is a real focal point in the room!

September 14, 2010 at 6:13 AM  
Blogger Julie Kwiatkowski Schuler said...

A big family portrait. Hey! I know someone who makes those ;)

September 14, 2010 at 6:30 AM  
Blogger ~✽Mumsy✽~ said...

I have no clue as for decorating idea, but one thing spoke to me is that the mantle piece should be bigger, and the color should be changed so it could stand out more..My two cents, again :-)

September 14, 2010 at 8:01 AM  
Blogger Becca Bertotti said...

Hey there, Debbie! Thanks for coming over and leaving such a sweet note about my Fall decor! It's fun to be back, active in blogland! I look forward to catching up on all of your awesome projects! Too, I can't wait to see how you help your friend transform your beautiful space. Take care, Becca (Adventures in Decorating)

September 14, 2010 at 8:16 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Oh Goodness! You have plenty of opinions here. But, of course, I must leave my 2 cents.
1. I'm okay with the faux Fica, it's just way to small. Big stone wall...big greenery.

2.Nix the lamps. They are too delicate and frail for the heavy stone.

3. The star is proportional but needs more color. Maybe bright red instead of the darker color.

I guess that is 3 cents worth... :)

Beautiful home!


September 14, 2010 at 8:42 AM  
Blogger riya said...

it's nice....

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September 14, 2010 at 9:25 AM  
Blogger linda said...

lamps are way to small if she wants to stay in country mode i would get a very large colorful canvas the star just blends in to much .I would use a large candle stick with a colorful candle .You know how i love bird house and birds so i would keep them

September 14, 2010 at 9:28 AM  
Blogger linda said...

ps if she wants to keep the star you can bring your magis paint can out mabey that pretty colonel red:)

September 14, 2010 at 9:34 AM  
Blogger Bec said...

I think she should look into having a wooden wrap around mantel built to go over the existing, wimpy, built in one. Dark wood would be really warm. Then add all kinds of levels with decorations. Nix the lamps and add in candlesticks and holders in different heights.


September 14, 2010 at 2:17 PM  
Blogger Connie said...

What we're all talking about here is VISUAL WEIGHT from a heavier mantle to heavier objects on it that don't blend in with the beautiful stone.
Keep us posted.

September 14, 2010 at 5:45 PM  
Blogger Lori @ Projects Plenty said...

I am in total agreement with everyone who commented that the mantle needs to be beefed up. A big chunky piece of distressed wood with corbels would be spectacular and be in line style wise with the stone. I look forward to seeing what you and your friend do.

September 15, 2010 at 10:58 AM  
Blogger KimberlyJ said...

Just came across a February post (Living room reveal) on Funky Junk Interiors. Donna used a large chunky mantel. She made her's, it's a good visual to see what it could look like.

September 15, 2010 at 1:36 PM  
Blogger Jenna@Breathe Beauty said...

I agree-more color. The first thing that strikes me is that the fireplace seems a little overpowering due to the brick not blending into the home. How about brushing a light coat of yellow paint to compliment the rest of the walls in the home? A technique I have used for an imperfect paint job is to just use an old rag and brush over the surface. It gives sort of a muted appearance without being overly heavy or obvious. I also think the lamps are too small. Seems like she needs more of a statement piece. Never the less, what a gorgeous home!

September 16, 2010 at 1:01 AM  
Blogger Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

Beautiful home from the photos you have been sharing! How awesome that you two met and are both from Buffalo.

I love the big star...I do think a BIG mirror would be great... Such a large area, that it could handle larger pieces of decor on the mantel...color added...

Can't wait to see what you two come up with :o)

Blessings & Aloha!

September 18, 2010 at 8:48 AM  

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