Thursday, June 10, 2010

My Beach-Inspired Summer Mantel

When you grow up in New England, you spend a lot of time at the beach. I was very lucky to grow up in Coastal Connecticut, and then every summer we took vacations to Mount Desert Island, Maine (home of Acadia National Park – if you’ve ever considered vacationing in Maine, this island can’t be beat!).

Through the years, I’ve collected a lot of sea glass, shells, sea-smoothed rocks, and even driftwood. My bathroom has a year-round “beachy” feel to it; I love being reminded of home every time I’m in there.

I alluded to this on Sunday, but I wanted to show you guys my summertime mantel:


Every natural item (except for the moss) was collected personally by me. Since most of these items came from God Himself :), it really cost me hardly anything when all totaled up.


I collect these glass jars with corks; they’re so easy to find at yard sales and flea markets. Mine have cost between $.25-$1 a piece. Usually these four are upstairs in my bathroom with the rest of my collection, but I decided to bring them downstairs for the summer. Some I leave empty, some I like to fill with shells of one color, and some I like to fill with various bigger items that have caught my eye:



I found this great old jar at a yard sale last year for $3.75. Normally I would never pay that much, but I thought it was too cool to pass up:


Here’s the other side of the mantel:


The two blue-green jars were yard sale finds ($.10 and $.25):


For the jute wrapped-jar, I just took a thrift-store glass that Lindsay found for me (for $.45 on sale!) and wrapped some twine around it. These are all over Ballard Designs’ spring and summer catalogs.

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I saw distressed white candlesticks in the Spring Pottery Barn catalog, and I knew I could easily replicate it. I took my original candlestick (you can see it in this post), gave it a very rough coat of Heirloom White spray paint (that I did on a very windy cold day so it looks totally horrible) and sanded it down:

059 I am in love!

You’ve already seen my thrift-store “greenhouse” that I filled with moss:


And underneath all of the items I just chucked my last scrap of burlap left over from all of these projects.

But the “piece de resistance” is my lovely piece of driftwood, straight from the shores of Maine:


Isn’t it so beautiful? I love how rugged and curvy it is at the same time.


(I am all about being a responsible beach-goer; this wood was away from the beach, closer to the pavement, and it’s the only piece I took.)

So, there you have it! My serene, beachy mantel. :) I shopped the house for everything, but even if I had purchased all of these items, I still would have come in for under $10. That’s the way I like it! :)

Linked to:

Frugalicious Friday @ Finding Fabulous
Weekend Showcase @ Tatertots and Jello
Sunday Showcase @ Under the Table and Dreaming
Mantel Party @ The Stories of A 2 Z


  1. ok we are WAY too much alike - I literally JUST finished changing my mantel over to summery stuff - which is mostly beach inspired too! too funny! yours look gorgeous, I love beachy themed stuff!

  2. I really like your mantel. I don't have one, so it's fun to see how you and other bloggers decorate yours. I love all the items and the best part is you've collected things yourself. It makes it so personal and neat that way.


  3. Great job on your mantle! I love the jars with corks and collect them too! :o)

  4. I love the way your mantle looks! I really like the little color the colored glass adds. Really pretty.

  5. Love your mantle collection! It's soothing and meaningful! really pretty : )

  6. This is gorgeous! Love all the bottles! very pretty and perfect for the summertime!! Thanks so much for joining the Sunday Showcase! I greatly appreciate it! Hope you have a wonderful week! ~ Stephanie Lynn

  7. This is SO pretty! Very relaxing and calming and I love the colors!

  8. Thanks for stopping by our little blog!

    I was about to do a post for readers to help me with my mantel.. I just can never seem to make it look like.. well.. Yours!

    I love everything on your mantel and how it looks like it all has just accrued naturally overtime.. It just seems so effortless and timeless!

  9. I love decorating with natural elements and yours are lovely! That little terrarium is adorable ;).

  10. OOh, I love all the textures and natural elements. Great job!

  11. Your mantle looks great! I LOVE the driftwood, too. I'm a sucker for stuff like that. I have drift wood out of our local creeks and rivers - nothing quite as cool as yours, though!

  12. I love it! I love bringing nature indoors! Especially the beach...I miss the beach I incorporate as much as I can indoors! I miss decorating a mantel...I live on army post now and there's no mantels!!! Nice blog too...blessings~Army wife

  13. Great job on your mantle! I love what you have done with the mantle to encorporate the beach theme!

  14. I came over from Kimba's DIY Day, and I have to say I just love your mantle! All of the natural materials look great with the jars - the contrast in colors and textures look just like what I imagine when I think of a New England beach. Thanks for sharing!



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