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A"Merry & Bright" Christmas Home tour and A DIY Fireplace Mantel update

Christmas is such a sweet time of year!

This season I find myself in reflection and steeped in memories along with the possibility of what will come in the next year. I like to think about all the great memories I have of my kids jumping out of bed and running to the Christmas tree and the magic and wonder we try to create as parents.

We have always tried to make this time of year a little more magical for our children and even though they are grown now, I hope they can always look at life with a little bit of wonder and magic forever.

Although I have a healthy dose of reality when dealing with challenges, I guess I have always lived my life looking more at the realm of possibilities, rather than focusing solely on the challenges alone. And honestly, we all know life can be filled with all of the things that make it challenging sometimes, and yet somehow at the heart of it all, life can be filled with magic and wonder if you choose to see it. That is why, for me, Christmas is celebrating in the magic that supersedes the challenges or the more mundane parts of life. I want my kids to be able to celebrate and mark the challenges, but also dream of possibilities and wonder. I suppose I have always appreciated the simple things, to be grateful for all of life's lessons and to find the magic or silver lining in everything. That is what Christmas is for me, a time to reflect, celebrate, rejoice and to be thankful and earnest to living the best life possible.

My decor theme for Christmas this year is "Merry & Bright". It is significant to me because it makes me aware that even though we have challenges right now with the pandemic, racial inequality, a flailing economy, and the list goes on; we can look at the possibilities, the silver lining, appreciating what we have and working hard to change the future, to make things a little more magical, merry & bright through love and appreciation and a grateful and empathetic heart. This year more than anything, I want the world to mark the challenges, to work to make it better for all and to celebrate what it can be for everyone and to appreciate the simplicity of love and giving.

This year, the only thing I purchased for my Christmas decor was the two brass stars on my mantel and the gold star tree topper. It was fun to use what I already had and to make a "theme" out of greenery and a little bit of shimmer. My niece hand painted the "Merry & Bright" sign for me a few years ago and I placed it in the center of a wreath above my mantel.

If you have been following the blog you know that we have made a lot of changes to our house this fall and among those was a simple DIY fireplace update I did after Thanksgiving to decorate my mantel. I have wanted to do this project a long time and even though it was a pretty simple project, it had always been low on the list. But I decided now is the time and I went for it!

I added trim above the mantel and pulled the color of the mantle up to the ceiling to give the fireplace more impact. Before, I felt that the fireplace looked kind of dinky. Is dinky a word? But I think it lacked luster and needed some impact. You can create impact with an accent wall, for example, when you paint a bold or dark color on one wall in your bedroom, and this is another way to create that impact or design in your living room. Here is a few before and during project pics to show how to do the same thing. I could have placed a sheet of birch plywood over the textured drywall, however I choose the less expensive and faster option of just using the 1 x 3 poplar trim boards around the perimeter and then painting the drywall inside black to match the mantel. The mantel is painted in Sherwin Williams "Tricorn Black". This color is a soft black with charcoal and a blue tint.

Here is the mantel before the millwork was added, although I took these pics with my phone so they aren't the best, but you get the idea. I'm always in a hurry when I start a project! :) Also there are a picture of the during process to get the idea of materials used. It took me about 5 hours total from start to finish.

I cut the trim using a miter saw and mitered the top corners like a picture frame at a 45 degree angle. I only used three boards and nailed them on with a nail gun, positioning the top board against the existing crown molding. After the trim was nailed on, I lightly sanded the trim with a 220 grit sand paper and used putty to fill the nail holes, sanding the filled parts after it dried for a smooth surface for painting.

Here is what it looked like after I decorated for Christmas.

I'm a little on the edge about the textured drywall and may decide to add the ply board and more trim work later, but for now it serves the purpose. I love the dramatic look it gives to the room and serves as a focal point. It also lifts the eye up to the ceiling, making the room feel bigger. Crazy how that happens, right?

I really like how it turned out and I spent a total of $26 on the entire project because I already had the paint. You could easily do the project for under $50 even with having to purchase a quart of paint. The tree stand box, you see in the picture above, I built a few years ago so that I could build up the height of the tree!

(My very talented niece painted this "Merry & Bright" sign that I attached to the wreath.). Isn't she brilliant? :)

After the holidays, I will be showing you more projects that we have tackled in the homestead which include painting kitchen cabinets and an update to my daughter's room with new hardwoods and new decor. Hope you've enjoyed this simple Christmas Home Tour!

Until next time....

Hoping your holidays are Merry & Bright!!!



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