Mantelscaping

The lobby of the Carlyle by Dorothy Draper

For most people, dressing the mantel is an opportunity to express their creativity and whimsy. They may even be possessed of such zest and inspiration that they will change it out seasonally or for festive occasions. Alas, I am not one of those people and it has taken me all of two years to navigate the quagmire of mantelscaping.

Kelly Wearstler once told me that one should think of accessorizing a room like an outfit - balancing the proportions, textures, and colors, AND that it is these finishing touches, like a great cuff bracelet or belt, that lift the ensemble to the next level.

A simple but well-styled mantelpiece by Kelly Wearstler

The possibilities of 'scaping a mantel are endless. The first question may be - mirror or painting overhead? Billy Baldwin preferred mirrors...

But I already have much too many mirrors in the room. Of course, I could follow Frances Elkins' example and just leave the wall gloriously blank....

The Clow Residence in Lake Forest, Illinois with architecture by David Adler and decoration by Frances Elkins

But for that to work, the entire room needs to be flawlessly edited and the architectural details meticulously executed. Anyway, I'm more English County House clutter than moderne chic, so naturally I took a closer look at Mr. Buatta's oeuvre...

I adore this room he did for Kips Bay a few years ago and even tracked down the tulipieres at a now defunct online website, but somehow they didn't look as snappy. Click here to get your own, inspired by the enormous ones at the Duke of Devonshire's manse, Chatsworth, pictured below.


It was but a hop skip and jump to cachepots, and Janet at William-Wayne was waiting for me with a mirrored pair which reminded me of the planters used in the orangerie at Versailles, which you can pick up versions of here.

Janet convinced me orchids were a more interesting choice than topiaries, and the crisp white of the petals against my Forget-me-not blue walls reminds me of Butterfield 8...

So without further ado - the BEFORE

so very triste....

to "bring on the stiffies!"