My Fireplace Mantel in Progress

My Fireplace Mantel in Progress

When I started working on my family room I wanted it to be very special, nothing that was just filler pieces and common decor. It would be as unique as this family is, with a lot of white and tons of French Nordic influence. Each area would have special pieces that I adore, collect and create.

At first my plan for the fireplace was going to be my typical candle holders, framed mirror and a few special knick knacks. Once the items were up, it had that basic look and the ‘special’ did not stand out. A mantel stands out. It’s typically a focal point, so I wanted it to be true to how I wanted the room to feel. I also wanted it to be a showcase of things loved; not just pretty items that I always seem to add to a mantel space that have no special meaning. So I did away with the mirror and candle holders.

I am just getting started and moving things around. I am still building it up. For now I will show you where I’m at and why I’m making certain choices.


I have a deep love for old vintage and antique French paperback books.

I do like the content….not that my French is much good at all, however, I really love the colors of these specific books. The faded whites to ivory tones of these deckle edge books just gets me. They have really neat covers. So I do plan to float these around and add more to the collection. The old vintage tiaras are a bit of a mess, but right now I’m moving things around. It’s funny, I am a self- admitted tomboy, but I own a pretty large collection of rhinestone tiaras and crowns. On the end is an AMAZING piece. It is a beautiful loving cup styled urn with a very romantic engraving on it. It states: Beloved Ann, Joie DE vivre , August 1972. (Joie DE vivre…..French phrase often used in English to express a cheerful enjoyment of life or ” Joy of Life” This piece is actually listed in my Etsy shop. Once in a while if an item is that special and rare I will use it till it sells.

It has the most beautiful tarnished colors. I added olive branches and lavender to the urn.










On the other end , going from the far end of the mantel in, are two beautiful collections of books, darker in color. Sitting on top is a rhinestone mask. Using books in this way does several things. It not only shows off the books but it gives you a different way to bring height to a special piece. I think I may be moving the mask and placing a favorite sculpture or statue on the books…this will give it special attention…we will see. Next is a very cool way of showcasing pieces-It’s a display box. This one is listed on Etsy. I may be changing it out. I’m thinking of a few different ways to show my tiaras, but we will see. Filling a display box with a collection of one specific item gives that collection importance and an ‘artsy’ appearance.

My favorite is the tall stack of very old deckle edge books. I love the rough old edges. I get many of my books from a shop called ‘Beach Baby Blues’. The owner of the shop, Susan Wagner, has an extensive collection. You can message her on Etsy if there are special books you collect. She has good ideas and great tips for beginners who want to start collecting. Her shop has very pretty book stacks to choose from. I do plan to add more books to the mantel area. I’m not sure how yet, although I have several ideas in mind.

The last piece up there right now is my Albino bull. I did paint him. I do sell these from time to time on Etsy. My plan for him is to frame him in. I am looking for the right frame now. On each side I will be adorning the walls with other pieces. I may give my horned friend a Santos style crown. The large Santos rosary may stay, but this may go through some changes also.

OK, my blog reading friends, that is where I’m at with my mantel. In a few weeks I will bring the completed space here so you can all see it. I really hope this gives you some new ideas as well. Remember, your mantel can be a very special space. Load it up with all things loved. I would love to hear some ideas on ways to stack lots of books on my mantel and the wall above…

With love, Anita.


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  • Susan Wagner says:

    Hi Anita !

    I am loving your Blog ! Thank you for sharing your book collection and mentioning My shop

    I like to use wood crates and old drawers to hang on the wall , instead of shelves for books , when I need to stack , display or go vertical !

    You could work your magic on them with some paint ~ even old wood cheese boxes can hold 2 or 3 small special books
    I find them easy to hang, just drill a small hole in each corner and Wa La !

    I look forward to seeing the frame you find and more of the mantel display
    Have a blessed weekend ,

    • Anita Spero says:

      Hi Sussan,
      Those are some awesome ideas! Thanks so much! Coming right from the book decor expert…
      Thank you for commenting.
      Anita Spero Design

  • Maggie Frank says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed Penguin Man, and yes, you seem to attract unique experiences! Lol!


  • Suzie says:

    I absolutely love your style! You are a one of a kind artist, with a great personality! You are so darned cute! I love the crowns, the rhinestones, the wings, and the cherubs! Oh…. And the violins that you add your awesome touch to…. Everything I love!!! I’m always looking on your etsy shop… At your fabulous art! Oh. How I wish to create some of those inspiring pieces of art!
    You are the best!

  • xxxxx says:

    Outstanding story there. What happened after? Take care!

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