The Wintertime Mantel

Hi, I’m Karen.  You may remember me as the gal who brought you the exciting post One Mantel 24 Looks!. And who can forget … Painted Wood! A summertime fireplace.

Today I have for you The Wintertime Mantel.  A post so filled with magic and imagination you’ll be seeing rainbows.  THIS is the LSD of posts.

Fine.  FINE.  It isn’t the LSD of posts.  When you get down to it this is really just 2 pictures of my mantel.  But they’re pretty good pictures.  I mean, for an amateur.

Here’s a bit of the back story on this winter mantel.

The only thing more exciting than putting up Christmas decorations is taking them down.  By day 24 of living with Christmas decorations I start to feel a little overwhelmed.  By day 25 the sight of them makes me itch.  And by day 26 of looking at multiple Christmas trees and garland hanging from everything I feel so claustrophobic I drag my pillow, my book, a roast beef sandwich and sleep in the yard.

So no matter what, every January, once the decorations go away, I clear out a bunch of other stuff too.  If before Christmas there were 7 things on the sofa table, there will only be 3.

If before Christmas there were 14 things on the mantel there will only be 2.  Then I get a grip and put a few things back again, until I find that comfortable balance of cozy yet simple.

Huh.  Look at that.  This post is really turning into something.  It’s MORE than just two pictures.  There’s words and everything! And a bit of a story!  Looks like you could be trippin’ yet.

Now it is time for the unveiling.  My daytime and my nighttime, wintertime mantel.

Day Mantle




Night Mantle

Woahhhhh! What a post!


  1. How cozy! I can feel the warmth through the photos. The design is beautiful! Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Carol says:

    Thank you Karen for showing a picture of a lamp on your mantel. We live in what used to be the tenant farmhouse for a neighboring farm. It is so cute and charming. Our mantel if very plain, which I love. After taking down my Christmas decorations (which includs a string of lights under greenery) I thought the mantel continued to need some light. I’m so glad there happens to be electricity running to it. I placed a small very charming globe style lamp on it, along with my other normal decorations. I was able to hide the cord between the mantel and the wall. I think it looks fabulous but my husband says no one puts lamps on their mantels. I have been searching on Google to find a picture of lamps on mantels and couldn’t find one. Finally I came across yours and it is perfect to show him! Especially the comments from people who love the lamp lighting on it! Thank you because I was about to take it down thinking I didn’t know what I was doing! Now, I’m keeping it up!

    • Karen says:

      Glad to help Carol! If your husband says that the lady from the Internet doesn’t know what she’d doing either, you can tell him that very mantle has been featured on television and in design magazines. :) If all else fails stick your tongue out at him. ~ karen!

  3. Karen Duke says:

    Karen, I’ve seen several photos of your beautiful fireplace and have thought I should let you know that soot on your mantel tells me your chimney has a drafting problem. Usually this indicates the fireplace opening is too large for the chimney that’s drafting it. Make sure and call in a good chimney sweep when spring comes!

    I have an article on this problem if you get a chance to look it over:

    • Karen says:

      Hi Karen – Oh, I get the chimney swept every fall just prior to burning season. And the draft is fine too, not to worry. The odd time smoke will come billowing out but it’s only if there’s some horrible downdraft and the logs are too far forward in the fireplace. It’s amazing how quickly a little bit of smoke will stain! I will read the article tho! Thx ~ karen!

  4. Marla says:

    the lamp! where did you get it? Great post!

  5. kelliblue says:

    Gorgeous. As always. PLEASE tell me you use a fireplace screen – I wouldn’t want your fluffy rug and your fluffy sheepskin (and your HOUSE) to go up in flames because of one stray spark!

    So Karen – how about a post on DUSTING, or how does one keep a house looking like a home, especially when one has animals? I hate cleaning with a passion, but your place always looks so divine and mine…? Meh. Not so much.

    • Karen says:

      kelliblue – If you were photographing your house for all the world to see, it’d look good too, lol. As for the screen, I used an instant log for the picture so I wouldn’t have to use the screen (which is big and bossy looking in a picture). ~ karen!

  6. Lauren from Winnipeg says:

    The fake candles are right up my husband’s alley since he is terrified that one of our many animals will knock a real candle over and burn the house down. Myself, I can’t give up the intoxicating fragrances of Voluspa coconut wax candles.

  7. Diana says:

    We have that same Matisse print. One day my 5 yr old grandson looked at it and said, “Grandma, that Snoopy dog has boobs.” Now we only see Snoopy and like it even better.

  8. karol says:

    What a cozy, cozy picture in the evening. Lucky gal.

  9. beth says:

    My friend dee has those candles with a remote! they truly are magic. Your mantle or mantel are both so perfectly in sync. LOVE.

  10. Yep this post totally blew my mind!!!

    • Carolyn says:

      I’m sorry my post blew you away.. Nothing was meant to harm anyone… It was a joke. I wasn’t stone, i wasn’t tripping. Just having fun on here like everyone else.
      You sure have to watch every thing you say on here. This is the second time someone has been bothered by words I’ve said.

      • Karen says:

        Carolyn – Feral Turtle was referring to the end of my post where I said “Woah! What a post!”. It didn’t have anything to do with your comment. Not to worry! ~ karen

  11. Debbie says:

    LSD, Mary Jane, am I back in college? Should we throw in a little hash (and I don’t mean corned beef). Actually, I never did that stuff – too scary. I knew lots of folks who did, though. Ah, memories…

  12. sera says:

    I love it! Can you come over and do my mantel next? I have the problem of having too many things that kind of need to stay on the mantel, like two wolf sculptures that my mom-in-law made and a giant cloche (for which I still haven’t found the perfect inside display). I’ve pulled all the christmas decorations off except those battery operated copper twinkle lights from restoration hardware. I love the light they cast. Unfortunately the rechargeable batteries I use never work past two days. Sigh. Also, I’ve lived in my house three years now and we still haven’t had a fire. Who knows how long ago that chimney had maintenance and I know for sure that the thing needs to be tuck-pointed. I’d love to make the sitting room more inviting, but if it were up to me, I’d buy new furniture for it (it’s all my husbands brown leather – cold in the winter, hot in the summer, pillows and blankets slide right off. grr.) Am I babbling? oops.

  13. jenny says:

    Oh to have a working fireplace…. sigh. Nothing like having a closed off fireplace mock me from across the room during a polar vortex. Lucky lady!

  14. Barbie says:

    ….Also, where did you get those big glass candle holders? LOVE LOVE!!

  15. Barbie says:

    OK! I gotta go find out about those dang CANDLES now!
    LOL I always have trouble with my mantel and decorating it. Especially after Christmas. Love the idea here. I don’t think I have a lamp with a base small enough thought to fit on my mantel. I have learned one thing for sure about mantels (for the next time we build a house) make it “deep” “deeper” “deepest”! Or it will frustrate the decorator! Mine is NOT deep enough to really get a good thing going on it! :(

    PS: It that soot on the front of your mantel? Or just a discoloration of the paint from the heat of the fireplace? I kinda like that look actually! LOL ….but I’m a lil weird that way.

  16. Jeannie B says:

    Your fireplace would look perfect in my living room. But I’d have to get rid of the piano to make room. Day or night pictures, it feels so charming and so warm and cozy.

  17. Bols says:

    Oh – you mean the MANTEL!
    Mantle is an entirely different animal:

  18. So of course I had to pop over to Amazon to see just how expensive those candles are…..WoW!
    but definitely worth it. They look so real. The thing that cracked me up tho was the fact that you can by a REMOTE CONTROL to turn them on and off. Did you buy the remote too? I have visions of you laying on the couch with a book, a big ol’ bag a chips, a glass of wine and the remote for your CANDLES,haha

    • Larraine says:

      Drives me crazy — the candles that are Cdn $99 on are less than U.S. $30 on and that’s not all due to taxes and shipping. Amazon, are you gouging by any chance?

  19. kate-v says:

    OK – so where is the DIY on those candles? They’re perfect candidates for an how-to .

    • Karen says:

      Ha! Well it involves circuit boards and soldering so for the time being I’m going to stick with buying them. :) ~ karen!

  20. toekneetoni says:

    it looks great. the evening shot with the fire looks wonderfully inviting.

  21. Richard Birney-Smith says:

    Is the silk screen above your mantle by Rob Roi? If not, by whom?

  22. Liz says:

    That lamp….oh my. It warms my soul. Where is it from?!

  23. Carolyn says:

    Cozy, i wish we had a firer place. Looks like someone tried to burn your mantle of. Maybe too much wine. Sorry, their selling that Mary Jane now, and I feel good…. I noticed you have a flag in the picture, was your father in the service. I had five brother in, two are gone. :(. Karen, I love you post. First thing I read every morning.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Carolyn – No, not in service. It’s just a cloth flag I found at a flea market that I liked and felt sorry for. ~ karen!

  24. Jen says:

    Just curious, but why do you have a US flag on your shelf?

    • Karen says:

      I found it at a flea market and it seemed liked it needed a home. ~ karen!

      • Larraine says:

        Glad you gave it a good home, Karen and a lofty place of respect. That flag was folded for some veteran’s funeral.

        • Karen says:

          I actually folded it like that. I thought that was just the way one folds a flag, but you might be right. It might supposed to be reserved for a veteran! ~ karen!

      • enny says:

        A big thank you from those of us in the US – especially those of us who have military relatives!

      • KJ says:

        (from the American Legion site) What is the proper method for folding the flag?
        The Flag Code does not require any specific method. However, a tradition of folding has developed over time that produces a triangular-shaped form, like that of a three-corner hat with only the blue union showing.

        How to Fold the U.S. Flag:

  25. Nikidee says:

    Hang on. Ill be right over. That comfy Ikea fur covered chair & roaring fire are calling my name.

  26. Elen Grey says:

    I’ll be right over!

  27. Sandy says:

    Love it! That fireplace would be wonderful sitting by at night with a glass of wine.

  28. Ev says:

    Luminara candles are expensive for sure, but they are the most realistic fake candles I’ve ever seen! Got a stick one (taper) for Christmas. Hope the prices go down on the pillars soon!

  29. Su says:

    I’m with you – when the Xmas decorations go back in the box a few other things go in a b
    ox to be stored also…. less is more after the holidays…. less mess less stuff…. and I LOVE those candles – I have a few myself :)

  30. Carol says:

    I just want to come and live at your house. Everything you do is beautiful. Unfortunately, at my house, with four children, a messy husband and numerous indoor animals, such beauty is hard to come by. I think I will just sit here and stare at your fireplace.

    • Debbie says:

      As an almost empty nester, I can tell that you have a beautiful home! The beauty is in the four children, the messy husband and the numerous indoor animals. You made me smile nostalgically and miss the madness. For a moment. I do miss the innocence, theirs and mine, of that time, while I love where they are now. Maybe, one day, I’ll experience it again with grandchildren.

  31. Clara says:

    I like the lamp on the mantle but would love to see a post on how you hide your electrical cords. I seem to remember you mentioning you do that well.

  32. magali says:

    I came home yesterday after being away for a little over two weeks. I am scared to see what happens tonight when I take the tree out. I can’t even blow on it without needles falling. I even found some needles in my bed sheet this morning even though I have yet to start taking it down!

  33. Laura Bee says:

    So inviting, I made a little “ahhh” noise when I scrolled down.
    Ahhh ~ warm, cozy & groovy.
    Going to work soon, if I feel cold I’ll think of this.

    • Debbie says:

      I made the same “Ahhh” sound when I scrolled down. Think Karen would invite us over? I’ll bring the hot chocolate.

  34. Cathy says:

    Well after the night I just had( still at work) I’m ready to curl up in front of your fireplace; will have to leave the photo on my phone and curl up with it! Gorgeous!!!!
    ( I am too old for this shit)

  35. Stephbo says:

    My massage therapist has those candles, and they are AWESOME!!

    • Karen says:

      They look even better if they’re in some kind of hurricane. You can’t tell at ALL that they aren’t real. ~ karen!

  36. carey says:

    Ahh, that’s more like it. Simple and beautiful. Ornaments and pine scent can become so annoying after being jolly for far too long!

  37. Helana says:

    Nice. But where on earth are you hiding the lamp cords?? How do you do that??

    • Karen says:

      LOL. My entire family … we are MASTERS at hiding cords. In this case it runs along the crease between the mantle and the wall, then tucked in behind the moulding and through the bookcase. ~ karen!

  38. Jasmine says:

    It’s all I can do to control myself on Boxing Day to remove every scrap of Christmas decoration. I try to relax (after all, that what Boxing Day is for-24 hour pyjamas while eating yards of Purdy chocolate), and then as soon as the sun rises in the 27th of December…Wham! Boxes are filled with every manner of decoration, including some that have nothing to do with Christmas. The house is stark, clean and ready for the new year. Ahhh. Nice mantle, by the way.

  39. Fifi says:

    Great fireplace….you got so lucky to not have some ugly tile from the 1800’s stuck on it all original? I don.t have a fireplace (waaaaa!) nor would I trust myself to not burn down my house with a real wood burning fireplace, I would settle for a nice looking gas substitute ! Question….do you normally have a fireplace screen in front, when a fire is burning? Would be such a shame if that goat/lamb/sheep chair caught fire . What kind of screen do you have Karen…any pics on your site ? I have fantasized about making one with an iron frame, but filled in with a glass mosaic design…how cool would that be in front of dancing flames? Enjoy your cozy fire…sure comes in handy this cold winter season ! ;-)

  40. Jan says:

    Sharp pokey antler not too comfy to sit on naked…

  41. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Evening looks unbelievably gorgeous..I want to come sit there and read..sigh..

  42. Edith says:

    I’m buzzing man. It’s so rad. Beautiful. Day or night version. Woah…… hit me again.

  43. Jamieson says:

    Beautiful. Our Christmas tree and decorations have been up since December 1. We were supposed to take everything down this week but we both got sick so everything is still up and we are nearing double digits in January. Until I’m up to taking it all down I’ll just tell the neighbours we’re Ukrainian.

    • Summer says:

      Same at my house-maybe this weekend-just too sick-Ukrainian is my excuse as well-I do have a friend who celebrated Ukrainian Christmas-does that count?

    • Wish I’d thought of that excuse! I took everything down and packed it neatly in the boxes, but the boxes are all over the place, I haven’t the energy to bring them to the attic! At the weekend, I swear. And I would swear it in Ukrainian if I could!

  44. Marti says:

    Great mantle. Love the daytime/nighttime pictures. I had no idea that lamp actually produced light. The very idea! Who knew?

    And candles… gorgeous glow! They produce… soot?

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Marti. They’re fake flicker candles by Luminara. They’re expensive but they’re GREAT. They aren’t like regular fake candles … Here’s their site … ~ karen!

      • Marti says:

        I think I hit my yearly limit, buying stuff on Amazon (yes, through YOUR portal) about two days ago. Pretty sure they’re going to revoke my privileges. They sent me a letter, “NO! You may NOT be the sole support of Karen in Toronto! Let someone else have a turn supporting her eating habits!” Yup… they threatened to take my cards… all of ’em.

        And that’s doing something. So I’ll just admire yours from here. As I do frequently. :P

      • Diane R says:

        Hi Karen,
        Is there a way you can post your link to I only use that amazon link now so a small percentage of my purchase is donated to the villalobos rescue center in New Orleans. (Pitbulls and Parolees). If I can help both of you out, that would be a good thing. There are many charities to choose from, but animals are special to me.
        Thanks so much if you can help and Happy New Year! Love your home.

      • Stephanie says:

        A possible cheaper alternative: buy a normal pillar candle, burn it down a bit. Then, carve out the inside a bit and put a cheaper flickering candle inside. Hidden inside the big pillar, I bet it would look pretty good. Karen you could do a test run and video the results to compare the two.

        • Karen says:

          Hi Stephanie – I don’t even need to do the test run, it wouldn’t even compare. These candles literally have a life of their own. They aren’t like a normal flickering candle. :) ~ karen!

        • gabrielle says:

          Yes, but do they SMELL like a candle? Even though I actually forgot to blow mine out once this year (and remembered clear across town) I cannot have candles without the total candle experience (even if it includes an occasional panic attack)!

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