living room wall makeover

The first apartment my husband and I lived in had a fireplace with a tile surround but no mantel. Growing up in an older home with ornate fireplaces this seemed really strange to me. I started to look for mantels while shopping at antique and junk stores and found a beautiful LARGE mantel that had been removed from a historic home that had been destroyed by a fire. The mantel was a steal due to some discoloring caused by the smoke but other than that it was in perfect condition. I knew the smoke damage would not be an issue since I wanted to paint it white. I was able to use it in our first home and am so excited that I was able to get it out of storage to use it again in our current home three years later.
 a view of the living room taken on moving day May 2010
 mantel all dressed up for Christmas along the above small wall

We do not have a fireplace in our townhouse that the mantel could cover so I decided to lean it against the wall and use it more as decoration. When we moved in a year ago I had planned on putting a mirror in the opening and a piece of artwork above the mantel (inspiration from Eddie Ross's blog). However, now that I have a little one I am already starting to think of him crawling and playing and being a boy which makes me nervous to have glass right at his height. Maybe I am being a little overly cautious and considering Will is only 3 months I probably don't have to worry about it breaking for awhile but all I can picture is the glass coffee table that my brother and I broke when we were little and the glass that went everywhere. I would really like to avoid that if I could. Now I am thinking of painting the opening with chalkboard paint because I think he will put that to better use then a mirror :)
mantel as of last month

I love the mirror above the fireplace which is another antique store find that was gold and got a fresh coat of white spray paint (you can see it gold in the above Christmas picture).  I had originally intended to put some sort of cabinet for storage on this wall but since our living room is on the smaller side the chair in the above pictures would have blocked the cabinet. I love how the mantel adds interest and I can still walk behind the chair! Of course I still need to anchor the mantel to the wall before Will starts to pull on things so maybe this would be a good project for the month of April. Dave are you reading this :)

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