Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Finally, a Mantel!

During the fourth year of medical school, all of the students go on a series of residency interviews to potential academic hospitals.  It is really a job search:  students submit applications through this one website to residency programs they are interested in, the programs review the applications and contact students for interviews, and then students go on the interview.  After the students interview, they create a rank list of programs (so they choose which school is their first, second, third, etc. choice), and the programs also create a rank list of applicants (they want this student the most, then this student, etc.).  Then this computer program analyzes the rank lists and "matches" students with programs.

So we knew we were moving this summer, but until March we did not know where.  Many schools (Hubby's included) have a Match Day ceremony, where everyone gathers and goes one at a time to get their envelope with the fateful letter.  This envelope holds our future!  I was shaking all morning; it is such a nerve wracking experience.  I was prepared to be happy with any of our top three choices, but was still terrified we would end up somewhere I didn't particularly want to go.

Just after noon on Match Day, Hubby's name was called to get his envelope.  I was such a basket case as he was walking up there that I almost forgot to snap a picture.  I was pretty much in tears when he came back to his seat and opened his envelope, and when I saw where we matched, I really did start bawling.  We were both thrilled with his program!

Now we only had about two months to find and buy a home and do all of the other tasks associated with moving to a new state.  Match Day was on a Friday; on Sunday I sat down to look at houses online.  Before Match Day I had done some searching in our top three cities to get a feel for the housing market and what our money could buy, but hadn't found anything that I liked that was affordable.  The Sunday I sat down to really look at our new city's available homes, and found our home.  It was the layout I wanted, hardwood downstairs and carpet upstairs, and it had a fireplace!!!  I showed it to Hubby and basically told him to get it for me.  We got a realtor, and a couple of weeks later on my spring break we took a trip to go house hunting.  We looked at eleven homes, but the one I found was "the one."  

We  began the "due diligence" and "under contract" rigmarole two whole months before we closed and moved in June. I was super excited and immediately began planning how I was going to decorate it.  I spent hours looking at the pictures of our home on the website, and I had a piece of paper where I listed each room and wrote out where I was going to put things I already had, and a list of decorations I wanted to buy for certain areas.  Maybe it was a little overboard, but that's what I do.  I plan and make lists!

One of the aspects of the home I was most excited about was the fireplace.  I have always dreamed about how I would decorate a mantel, and now I finally had one!!!  Hubby wanted to hang our TV over it, but my preference is that the fireplace and TV be separate.  I went to Ross and found a mirror to hang over it, and I already had some pillar candle holders and an arrangement I put together to use there, too.  I had it all planned and was ready to put it up when we moved in.

I seriously underestimated the length of the mantel.

Oops!  It would have been a simple and beautiful arrangement if only the mirror was larger.  That looked pitiful, and I knew that I needed to find more things to go up there.  I had some other pictures and decorations around the house, so I rethought some of my decorating plan.  This is what I came up with:

You can see that I rotated the mirror so it was taller, left the arrangement and candles for a framing effect, and added our wedding picture, a quote, and another candle.  The quote says, " Love generously-Care deeply-Speak kindly."  None of the elements are hung on the wall; I just propped everything up.

I also staggered the candlesticks so the tall one is placed further back than the short one, so they are diagonal from each other.  In our previous house, I had them on top of a bookcase, and whenever we would do an exercise video they would be in danger of falling off so we would preemptively take them down when we would work out inside.  I always knew when Hubby would work out because he would put the candles back right beside each other.  He didn't get the stagger effect, haha.

These are the principles I keep in mind when I decorated this mantel:

1. Framing 
The pillar candles and the floral arrangement are tall and create a frame, or some borders, for the elements on the mantel.  The quote and wedding picture also frame the jar candle.

2. Layers
This mantel only has two layers:  a background (the mirror) and a foreground (the wedding picture, quote, and jar candle).

3. Symmetry
A major theme in most of my decorating is symmetry.  This mantel has a center (the mirror and jar candle), then has a smaller picture on either side, and then a framing element.

4. Varying Heights
While it does have symmetry, it has just enough variation in the height of the different elements to be interesting.

I have been trying to decide when I want to bring out my fall decorations, so we will see how the mantel changes, and I am really excited to decorate it for Christmas!  I love a beautifully decorated mantel.


  1. So pretty! Congrats on the new decor, it looks fabulous!


    1. Shannyn, thank you for your comment! I just started my blog yesterday so you are the first one. I am SUPER excited right now :-)


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