Keepin’ It Real: The ugly scoop on 3 problem areas in my house.

Last week I shared my 5 favorite new products from the CHA winter trade show, and tomorrow I’m going to share some of the images, displays and people who inspired me while I was there… but today, I’m going to keep in real and show you the sad, dreary little spots in my house that need some serious inspiration and TLC.

That’s right… I’m going to share the ugly with you.  This is not a Before & After post, this is a This-Is-Terrible-How-Can-You-Call-Yourself-A-Craft-And-Lifestyle-Blogger!? post.

Let’s start with The Mantel From Hell.  You know I hate my mantel, right?
This is its current condition.

A) That dark paneled wall that HH says I can’t paint.  It makes it difficult to do anything.  The whole shebang is off-center and asymmetrical as well.  Diff-E-cult to work with.

But it’s late January… still no excuse for:
B) The remains of an arrangement from my blue and green Christmas.

Yeah…. pathetic.  It was festive, now it’s just kind of a holiday graveyard.

Which brings me to:
C) These little cute little green trees.  Well… they were cute and green and sparkly when my sister brought them over on Christmas Eve.  They were in the kitchen, but after Christmas I moved them to the mantel, where I promptly forgot to water them or give them any care or attention whatsoever.
They are still green and sparkly, but that is only because it turns out that their Christmas magic was sprayed on them in the form of green dye and glitter.  Now they are stiff little Tree Skeletons.

D) Mercury glass.  Shoved out of the way.  Sitting in a clump.  Mad glass, sad glass, no class.

My goal is to have this mantel prettied up and ready to share on Monday.  Somebody please, please hold me accountable.  Monday, OK? (**** Um, OK…Tuesday…)

Then there are the two other wall spaces that get me all cranky when I look at them…
The dark, boring hallway…

It needs paint, it needs a gallery wall, it needs something.  So far I have only had enough energy to get irritated whenever I walk by.  This is one of the next projects that has to happen around here.  Ugh.  (When did I get so lazy…?  I love to paint.  What’s wrong with me?)

The other area that Has. Bothered. Me. Since. We. Moved. In. Here. is the dining room wall.

We’ve been in this house 4 years, and the only thing I’ve done to this wall is to glower at it and talk smack about it behind its back.

A) I have creative “writer’s block” when it comes to doing anything about all of this space.  I love the Family Rules subway art I made a few years ago, but I think it’s time for it to go somewhere else.  It’s too small for that big wall.
B) See?  More space.  (That’s part of why I love Halloween.  I can just fill it up with bats.)

And because I’m Keepin’ It Real today, I’m just gonna share C – F too.
C) Candle wax I need to make into new candles.  Hubs just loves it when I leave that kind of thing sitting around.  pfft. Not.
D) Misc paperwork that sits on the table and gets scooped aside into piles at dinner time.  And then left there.  Sometimes for days…
E)  Silver bowls that should have been put away right after Christmas.  Hubs loves these sitting around too.
F) Kid paper work, headphones and someone’s water bottle collection.  (Does anyone else have people who leave half full (I’m an optimist) bottles of water all over the house?!  Makes me nuts!)

I know I’m not the only one with rooms like this.  Right?
I’m hopeful that what I saw at CHA will spur me into action somewhere (anywhere!) in the house.  See you tomorrow with my CHA inspiration post.
Wish me luck!

(*********UPDATED: The mantel update will be posted Tuesday, 1/29/13.  That’s what I get for promising things without first checking my calendar!  Duh. *********)

about Vivienne Wagner


  1. says

    What. Have you been off being busy having a life? How dare you.

    My mantel was bare. After Xmas, until I did the V-day thing. It was sad too.

    I think the hall would be really cute with some board and batten! I know it’s popular but I have loved it for years! Could you do it in a bright, glossy white? It would brighten it up and really set off your great family photos. Maybe a big mirror too to bounce the light around.

    And yes, I think we all have that spot where everything in the universe lands! That surface you clean off. Turn around. And it’s magically full of cr*p again 😉 It can’t just be you and I.

  2. says

    Yes, I have a real home too and the half full water bottles lying around is so my house (thanks to my 17 year old). Might I pose a few suggestions? Hope you don’t mind. For your dining room. I see a huge mirror over the buffet and some larger lamps. Can’t help you with the paper problem there. I have that little prob. too! It disappears on house cleaning days. Since you can’t paint the wall behind the mantel, you could always go with a huge mirror there too to bring in more light or a large piece of artwork that is light and bright. Perhaps with some movement (i.e. large piece of framed marbled paper or water scene) along with a collection of large vases or chunky candle sticks. Your hallway would look great in large horizontal stripes. You can go subtle with gray and white stripes or bold with Navy and white stripes. If you go Navy, I see golden (gilded) frames for your gallery wall pictures. Just suggestions. Like you wanted them, right. LOL

  3. says

    I would get a thin sheet of plywood and frame it out with some trim to put over the mantel if hubby won’t let you paint the wall. Then you can paint or staple a pretty fabric to it and still add photos or whatnot in front. And it’s changeable seasonally (or in my case when I’m bored of it).

    PS. I am the plant assassin. Just ask my hubby why he won’t buy me any real plants anymore.

  4. says

    Oh my! That dark mantle would drive me nuts too! I would put up some material to cover it. They have such fab fabric nowadays!
    Good luck on your projects…I have a few areas like that too.
    Like my living room walls have never been painted!! Sigh!!
    20 years!! I know…and you thought you were bad! Ha!

  5. says

    My kids all have a sports water bottle that they like to drink from– but then they just all end up on the counter half full– but I want them to drink lots of water so I don’t know what to do with them.

  6. says

    Mirrors and Hercules Hooks are your friends. The mirrors take up space, bounce sunlight and candlelight, and reflect your mantle decorations back into the room. With these hooks, no waiting for DH to charge the battery to the drill, no trips to the store for anchors. Hang even heavy mirrors by yourself, done and over with!

  7. says

    I think you should follow the above advice. Have HH make something to cover up the dark wood that pops over it. Then if you sell the house, the wood is still there and not touched by paint. Men and their love of non-painted wood. What is that????? Also, maybe you don’t feel so inspired and let things die on the mantel because you have no love for it. I have a few things like that in my home. The get ignored, like my mantel!

  8. says

    If your mantel saw my mantel, yours would win for being better looking than mine. Mine is hideous {90’s oak wood meets 70’s lava rock wall… I’m gagging as I type this}. It’s on my to-do list, but hello, life with 4 boys?!? I’m too busy cleaning up their water bottle collection 😉
    Laurie @ Gallamore West

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