WELCOME to CAROLINA PANACHE! I believe our homes should be a haven, a place of beauty and peace that reflect who we are and what's important to us. I'm on a journey to add personality and panache to every corner of my house. For me, good design evolves, grows and changes with the needs of one's lifestyle. I want my home to be creative, to be stylish, to be entertaining, to be real. I hope you will join me on my journey. It's always more fun to travel together.
This blog is all about bringing style and elegance to the home. The art of dressing your home goes beyond hanging a few items on the wall and arranging furniture. Much like a fabulous set of earrings or a new stylish handbag may take your little black dress from fine to fabulous, home accesories and key furnishings can take your rooms from ho-hum to singing the Halleluiah Chorus! Join with me as we discover new ways to add panache to every room of the house.

Magnificent Mantels

Anybody ready for Christmas again? No? Okay, this post is NOT about CHRISTmas but I did want to talk about MANTELS today. If you are fortunate to have a fireplace in your home surrounded by a lovely mantel, then you have been blessed with a perfect area to create a focal point within your room. Below is a picture of my family room mantle at Christmas this past year. As you can see I chose a very subdued color pallet of soft green, gold and ivory.
Usually, after taking down all the Christmas decor, the mantel is left pretty bare. I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do so I began looking for inspiration. I came across a website called InvitingHome.com and found a couple of examples.

This photo sort of worked as my inspiration although I varied my arrangement, which you will see further on in this post, somewhat. But I really loved the symmetrical feel of the three framed prints, two are hung on the wall above and the third is "leaning" or "resting" on the wall centered between the others while sitting on the mantel. Using the two vases of tulips to balance the ends and two smaller objects to fill in the dead space, the arrangement almost has an asymmetrical flow and I really like for the eye to be encouraged to roam over the entire vignette and see each individual piece while appreciating the whole. The soft wall color and neutral accessories make for a very restful and calming retreat. Even Fido looks peaceful!

Here is the same mantel accessorized differently. Here we truly have an asymmetrical grouping. But the rules of balance and scale are used with care and so there is comfortable rhythm to the mantelscape.

In my family room I do not have a raised hearth but in this picture you see an inviting stone hearth, raised to a comfortable height to sit and warm yourself by the fire. The top of the mantel is not shown clearly but from what I can see, a framed piece of art is all that adorns this example. However the earthen pottery, toss pillows and tall candlestick to the left really cozy up the space and make it a beautiful focal point in the room. Now, on to my winter mantelscape....

My fireplace is surrounded with wood work and molding painted a semi-gloss white. It naturally becomes the center of focus. Before the holidays I had the room repainted from a rich gold to a soft, muted pear green and had the framed art moved from another area in my home to hang above the mantel. Using the colors in the art as my pallet and the inspiration from the first example I shared, I began to pull accessories together to build the grouping.

Two tall boxwood topiaries frame out either side of the picture.

I wanted to pull out the yellowish-gold in the Cheetah print fur and play off of the heavy black and gold frame.
I had these plates on hand. They are part of a 6-plate collection. I use four of them in plate racks in the formal dining room so I decided to use the extra two on the mantel. The colors were perfect. I elevated the plate stand by using a couple of reference books in burgundy leather with gold embossing. The addition of the burgundy hue adds richness and depth to the color story. Beside the plate I placed an urn filled with bear grasses and Lilly of the Valley.

On the opposite side of the mantel, I placed a larger urn next to the boxwood and then placed the second plate beside the urn. I had to elevate the larger urn slightly to balance the plate on the opposite side. Next to the plate, I used a single scrolled bookend.

Using other accessories of similar color around the room helped to pull it all together. A black urn trimmed in gold holds an arrangement of gold, green, brown and ivory silk flowers.

A wooden bowl of green Anjou Pears reinforces the color scheme.
Some of you have asked for an update on the Power Room - I hope to have some pictures posted soon. Unfortunately my hubby came down with a cold and has not felt like playing "handyman" for me, so I hope to get him feeling better soon and complete the project. I can't hardly wait! Also, Kristen at http://kristenscreations.blogspot.com asked about the cheetah print hand towels. I was fortunate enough to find them at a Marshalls store. I have seen them since then at a TJMaxx so perhaps if you have a Marshalls or TJMaxx near you, you will come across them. On Monday I will be doing a special post called "Moneysaver Monday". I would like for as many of you as possible to comment and tell me how you are saving or going to save money in 2009. I also will announce my first ever "Give-a-Way" on Monday and yes, it will help you SAVE money!!!


Tardevil said...

My vote is always for the tropical! :O)

Linda Charlene said...

sister...when did you get a dog?

Melissa Miller said...


I LOVE your boxwood topiaries and Leopard artwork.

Just an all around magnificent display. :)

Lynne (lynnesgiftsfromtheheart) said...

The boxwood topairies are gorgeous. I have quite a "thing" for them right now. :-) Great post. hugs ~lynne~

Susan @ A Southern Daydreamer said...

Gorgeous... and so happy you posted about mantels! One of my projects this year is to add trim to our fireplace...it looks contemporary and I'd like it to be a more traditional..and the fluted boards on either side are one of the items it needs!

I love the way you pulled the colors out of the picture and onto the mantel...and into the room. Is there a cheetah throw on the sofa?? (I know nosey...but I was wondering!)

I think I need an inspiring piece of art for over my fireplace...hmmm... I don't think I have THAT one...with some browns, maybe copper... hmm..you've got my mind spinning... (I hope I don't hurt myself, LOL)

Have a great weekend...

CIELO said...

Beautiful beatiful beautiful! I love everything white comes decorating.... you have created a very lovely virtual home here, and I'm glad I've found you.. thanks for stopping by the house in the roses to smell the roses....



PAT said...

Your mantel is lovely.

Tammy @ A Walk in the Countryside said...

I just discovered your blog last week and love it! My Christmas gift this was from my hubby was a new fireplace. I had it beautifully decorated for the holidays. HOWEVER, it was too bare once the decor came down. I have been moving things around all week trying to fill in the space and balance the area. Thank you so much for the great ideas!

Kristens Creations said...

Thanks for posting where you purchased the cheetah towels. We don't have a Marshall's and I've already checked T.J. Maxx, but I will check again soon, they are always getting in new things. The mantles you posted are beautiful, especially yours! Love the topiaries. Thanks for your nice compliments on my mantle. I really appreciate it!! Kristen

Miss Janice said...

Your mantel definitely looks magnificent! I love the look! I also love that cherub arrangement you did. Everything is just beautiful. Please stop by my blog. I have a friend who needs our prayers!


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