Thursday, October 14, 2010

Faux Mantle {and Harvest Village} Charm

I've always dreamed of a home with a there anything more cozy, more welcoming than a beautiful hearth and crackling fire on a chilly day?  Sadly, our home doesn't have one {yet!}  But still wanting the look and beauty of a fireplace in our master bedroom, I decided to install a faux mantle.  Mine has all of the charm of a genuine fireplace  and is a lovely little focal point in the bedroom where I can decorate with things that bring calmness and beauty into our little nighttime sanctuary.  

For in the chaos of our busy lives, between dropping the little guy off at preschool or daycare, racing off to the office, or any of our weekend and evening activities, having a little haven in our bedroom for my husband and I is such a joy to our spirit.

We purchased the mantle in a salvage shop about 5 years ago. It was in deplorable shape...chipping paint, grey, splintered wood, full of scratches, chips and cracks.  We were told it was over a hundred years old (as the square nails we found in it most likely attest).

I was very unsure of how we could restore it to any beauty judging by its condition...but my husband reassured me repeatedly that he could make it "like new." 

He sanded it down to bare wood (through layers and layers of paint and shellac).  He filled in all of the cracks and did any necessary repairs.  Then he patiently primered and re-painted it a beautiful, lustrous gloss white.  I had him make a tiled insert and a wooden base to give it a more realistic, 3-dimensional look, and I adore the way it turned out. 

I can decorate it with photos of family and friends, candles of every size and shape, with seasonal delights and holiday decor.  It may not have the benefit of a genuine fireplace, but it still lends so much elegance to the room.  

For the fall, I have a collection of miniature, lighted autumn houses, fallish trees, and figurines that look darling when lit at night.  The soft flicker from their little windows cast such a spell-binding glow in the room.  No matter how hectic our day, the diminutive harvest village with its picturesque vignette of autumn in the country, brings a sense of peace to the room. 

 With a little imagination,
it's like gazing into my own little Walnut Grove
or my own little Avonlea :) 

My son marvels at all of the little pieces.  
A little village like this for young children is pure decorating magic!

It can be such a temptation for little hands...
but having it displayed on a mantle a little higher than they can reach keeps it out of harms way :)

Boys raking leafs into a fall bonfire.

A tiny harvest feast is set for the villagers.

A family sits and carves their Halloween pumpkins.
My collection grew over the years to probably allow me to set up four villages, 
but I keep them down to two:
this one in our bedroom, 
and the other in the dining room.
I rotate out the pieces so it's always new - always something different to notice :)

The pieces needn't be expensive: 
my first set was around $20 for three, lighted houses and a few figurines from Walmart.

Now companies like Lemax and Dept. 56 are making more and more
fall and Halloween village collectible pieces.

You can start a little collection by shopping for them on eBay,
and stores like Michaels and Joanns usually carry them, too.

It makes for an unique and captivating seasonal vignette
that's sure to delight you, your loved ones, and your autumn guests!


  1. Too cute. I love mantles, even faux ones!

  2. How lovely a little autumn village can be on a restored mantle. Your husband did a marvelous job with it. I once had mantles in three rooms of my home, but no more. I miss them. Oh the stories you and your little one can create using this village...

  3. I am forever amazed at what you and Tom achieve together! It's so pretty. I love the fall trees probably best of all in your villages. Also the meal on the table, too cute. Many years ago I collected miniatures and was always looking for something like that.

  4. I love the mantle... and your village is just beautiful. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  5. The autumn villages are so beautiful. I don't notice any cords (I dislike it when my cords show). How did you hide them? Oh, and definitely reminds me of times in Walnut Grove and Avonlea. Great post!

  6. What an awesome display! I'm truly going to enjoy reading this happy little place week after week.

  7. Oh what a darling little village! I know what you mean about wanting a fireplace to decorate. I finally got one last year in time to decorate for Christmas, and I've LOVED it! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment on my Halloween table. I loved having you over and hope you come back again! I am your newest follower, so you will be seeing me around! Sandi

  8. I blame (thank) you for my fall village fever! I wasn't going to set mine up, but then I couldn't help myself. I added one new piece this year, I think it's grandma's pie shop. I still get a thrill every time I light it up.

  9. Awesome! I love this! You did a great job and you are so creative! I am a follower and hope you will visit me at my blog


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