Update: Picture above Fireplace - Before and After PICS

jan_in_wisconsinMay 6, 2011

I posted here not so long ago about a Monet print I really wanted for above our fireplace. I Photoshopped a mock-up, and the feedback here was really positive. So, I ordered the print, and I made some other changes for that seating area, as suggested here.

Les suggested I move the candleholders to the hearth and find some red candles. I purchased the French country tray from e-bay, but I'm disappointed in it, as it is not as brightly colored as it appeared online. Plus, it came from China, apparently, and I think it contains lead. So, I'm looking for another option for the tray and what to place on it. I had the large vase somewhere else, and I thought I'd try it on the hearth. Les also said some curves would help balance the staight lines going on everywhere - another reason I thought the curved vase would work.

I hope you like it, and if you have other thoughts for making it better, please share! Thanks to everyone for chiming in with your opinions and ideas on the previous post. I do like it so much better now!

BEFORE (Photoshop Mock-Up of the Art Print):

AFTER (The Real Deal):

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Beautiful, Jan! The room is so tastefully decorated and not overdone. I love it.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 3:51PM
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Personally I don't care for the red candles and tray. I think you had it right in the beginning.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 3:53PM
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Very, very pretty. I love the print. Your room has such a nice, peaceful feel to it.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 4:47PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I think you have a gorgeous fireplace and a pretty room, but I also like the before picture better.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 5:49PM
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Pretty print -- and I have a few suggestions:

-Perhaps remove the pillows from the chairs -- the color is a bit off with the tones in the print. Perhaps a simple white cushion?

-I do like the white candleholders sitting on the hearth -- but I do vote for white candles. Perhaps even taller ones than the original white candles?

-I do like the white vase (really pretty!!) -- but perhaps change the silk greenery to a slightly fuller look (that falls over the sides) -- but stay to the tones of greens in the print.

-for the summer months -- find a much bigger round white wood/woven tray for the ottoman. Or perhaps a dark brown ones -- and then add a pretty white box for contrast?

Just some thoughts -- hope you don't mind!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 6:07PM
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The Monet looks really nice! It was a very good choice. I also like the new placement of the candlesticks and vase. Just my opinion, but I like the white candles better, and I think you may want a much bigger, sturdier tray for the ottoman.

It's such a pretty room. I love your fireplace, your draperies, and the fabric on your club chairs!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 10:14PM
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I like the red candles, but I think you need taller candles. Those look like they might be between 4 and 6 inches tall - you need something about twice that.

Also, arrange the candleholders so that the taller one is on the left back, the shorter one to the right. That carries your eye from the outside of the fireplace into the center.

If you would rather switch candle colors, I would not do white, but a warm gold or deep beige, kind of the color of the chairs.

I like the white vase, but not the bright green greenery. I think that green is part of the reason the red candles don't work as well for some - it feels like Christmas colors. I would find some taller, more drapey( as teacats suggested), perhaps more in browns and mossy greens - like grasses and some dried pods, etc.

I think the red tray is too small, but I like the touch of red there.

The painting is great, of course. I just think you need to tweak a few details and you are there!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 10:42PM
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I also love Monet every since I went to France in high school. I really enjoy that particular print and the touches of red youve incorporated into your room.

Where did you get your magazine basket BTW?

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 12:31AM
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Very pretty!

I like the candles and vase on the hearth. In the first photo the mantle seems a bit top heavy and the candles are crowding you Monet print.

I agree with all of teacats' suggestions, so I won't repeat them, except I vote for a slightly warmer tone candle than stark white. A cream color would complement the stone.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 2:56AM
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I've always loved that print and it looks great above your fireplace. Even though it makes sense to add some pops of red to tie into the picture, I'm not liking the red accents for some reason. I think I would put the candlesticks back on the mantel with the white candles. I like the white vase, but not sure about the greenery..maybe some kind of golden straw/wood something?

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 7:53AM
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The print is PERFECT...such a lovely room!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 8:51AM
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I just read Cote de Texas's post on symmetry, and the picture of your room could go in her post! Very pretty! I particularly love your chairs with their wonderful roundness, and the fun fabric. The whole feel says please sit here and be comfortable.

I like the candlesticks on the hearth and I love your vase; it fills in the negative space of the curve on the chair. I'm not sure about the red color of the candles, but like Les, would not go to white candles. I would try her suggestions of a gold or beige color candle.

I would think about punching up the color of the pillows on the chairs. Perhaps to a brighter red, or perhaps add more of the spring green that is in your arrangement to the room in the pillows. And I would increase the height of the arrangement in the vase. I love the green, but then green is part of "my favorite colors."

I would get one of those lead testers and test the tray for lead. If it tests positive, I would dispose of the tray.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 9:15AM
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arapaho - Thanks, just a little more tweaking . . . and hopefully it will be where I want it to be.

natal - As I mentioned initially, I am disappointed in the tray, and I will be getting rid of it. I included it to show those who had followed the original post what it looks like. I'm on the lookout for some candles that will work better too. The first image posted is only a Photoshop mock-up. The art print in that photo isn't real, but the other mantel accessories are.

nancybee - Thanks, I do like the art print in the space. It really makes me happy every time I look at it.

bumblebeez - I'm going to make some adjustments, and hopefully the space will come together better. The mantel really can't handle more stuff besides the picture.

teacats - Thanks for the very helpful, specific ideas. I agree that the candles are too small, and perhaps not the right color. I will say that the pickings for home decor in my area are frustratingly limted, yet, I don't like to shop for certain things online, as the color pictured is not always reliable.

On that note, the print colors are brighter IRL than they appear in the photo, probably due to the reflection of recessed lighting. There are many shades of green in the print, including both mossy greens and truer greens. But, I like the idea of finding something to spill over the edges of the vase and in a less bright shade. The greens there now really aren't as bright in real life as they appear in the photo.

The pillows on the chairs were custom-made by our decorator, who matched them to the adjoining kitchen/dining wall color. I see what you're saying - that they're not as bright as the red in the print. Maybe I could use a different, more bright red set for the summer months to go with the print and then use these for the winter when I would change out the mantel print. I'm torn on that, as some have said that artwork doesn't necessarily have to match everything in a room.

I definitely need a bigger, better tray, as you mentioned. Boy, if you have any sources for that, please let me know. The ottoman is large, which demands a larger tray too. Also, I would like the tray to be a lighter color and include some accessories in red, if I switch out the candles on the hearth to some other color.

Thanks for the great thoughts and suggestions.

jlc - Yes, I agree about the tray, and I will be looking for a better candle color choice.

Les - I can see that you're right about larger candles looking better. I will work with the greenery and candle color to achieve a better look. Great thought to move the candleholders around and find better greens. The tray was a big let-down, and I can't wait to find something else. Sigh . . . it's quite a process, but I'm pressing on! :o)

val - Thanks so much. I got the magazine basket at Wal-Mart - Better Homes and Gardens brand.

juddgirl - You're right that the mantel does look good on its own, with the print. Not much else could reasonably fit up there, and visually, it also would look too heavy. I'm working on getting the right size and color candles, after hearing everyone's thoughts about them.

Msrose - Something needs a little tweaking with the colors of the greens, candles and tray, for sure. Thanks!

loribee - Thanks so much. There's a good consensus that the print works well, so that makes me feel good about it.

barb5 - I should check out that blog post on symmetry. I love symmetry, but with a casual twist. From the posts here, it seems like I'm getting closer to having it pulled together and just need to harmonize the accessories/colors a bit more. I'm so upset with the tray I ordered online. I don't like it, as it doesn't look anywhere near as nice as the seller's online photo. I'm getting rid of it no matter what.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 4:06PM
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the print looks great!!

i too would change out the candles---to something like the gold in your chairs or curtains and about 6-9" tall. i think the candlesticks look nice on the hearth! agree that the tray isn't right for the ottoman.
i too do not care for the pillows with the chairs.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 5:59PM
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Your chairs are beautiful! The drapes have sytle!...love your fireplace and ottoman. The pillows on the chairs....maybe dark brown ones? The white candle sticks with red candles don't look very calm...or go with the rest of the room.....the serving tray....looks out of place...

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 8:21PM
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The print looks beautiful in your beautiful room. When I see your room, I think of earthy, warm, and comfortable. I like the pillows on the chair, but I'm not crazy about the red candles. I think they detract from the "whole" which, as I already said (and deserves to be repeated), is beautiful. Maybe, like Les said, candles in cream or gold, would add to the warmth.

I also think I would replace the "controlled" greenery in the white vase with something a bit less controlled, like an asparagus fern, to mimic the free-growing florals in your print.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 8:39PM
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busybee3 - It's definitely back to the drawing board for the candles. As for the pillows, I'm still torn. As I said, the adjoining kitchen/dining is a brickish red, and there is an opening to the dining room just to the right of the chair on the right. Does that make a difference? The pillows carry that color into the living room.

nicole - Others share your thoughts about the pillows. I'm thinking of sewing some covers for the existing ones, so I can continue to use them. The serving tray has to go.

deeinohio - I'm on the hunt for some new candles. I do want the room to look warm, inviting, and comfortable. The winters are long and cold, so I prefer warm colors in general. I can see your point about the greenery. I'm sure I can find something more naturally free-flowing. Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 8:51PM
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Oh, I like it. Very pretty, Jan. The room has a soft warm inviting look to it, kinda' like a sweet gentle hug. The painting looks great. I like the idea of big vases on the hearth, and smaller pieces on the mantel. If you look in my Fireplaces thread in the Gallery, you should find lots of inspiration on how to decorate that fireplace with things you probably already have in your home.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 9:51PM
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jan, i LOVE your chairs-their style and the fabric...i just think that the pillows detract from them...don't fit style wise or color wise,imo. i look at the photo and see gorgeous fireplace, drapes, and chairs---and the pillows stick out, detracting from all. in the whole scheme, they might carry in the color, but i don't think it's the best way to do it...i totally understand wanting to coordinate the colors from kitchen with fr...but i think that the print probably does that- and beautifully!
is there a couch in the same room the pillows can go on?? (i know i've seen pics before, but i don't remember...)

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 9:25AM
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oceanna - Thanks, that's the look I'm going for. I will check out the Fireplaces thread in the Gallery, for sure.

busybee3 - I'm open to switching out the pillows. I guess it's just harder than some things because a designer chose the fabric, had the pillows custom sewn with nice, heavy down inserts. They were pricier than I normally pay for things. We do have a sofa and loveseat in the room (light brown color), but microsuede. They are from our previous home, and eventually we'll replace them with something else - hopefully within the next couple of years.

Do you have any suggestions for a better pillow option? I'm stumped as to the direction for both style and color. Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 10:55AM
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Okay, so I was looking around online at the Ballard Designs website for pillows, and here are some options from their site:

Burlap (I have a pair of lamps in the room with burlap shades, so maybe this is an option?):

I have two lamps like these in the room with burlap shades:

Sage Linen:

Sage Check:

Off-White Twill:

Off-White Quilted:

Lynwood Toile Red:

Crimson Twill:

Celery Twill:

Caramel Twill:

Butter Twill:

Of the above choices, I like the burlap, sage linen, off-white twill, red toile (too much pattern going on with the chair fabric?), and celery twill.

What do you think? Anything there that could work? If so, I can Photoshop something up again with the choices. I just don't want to make another costly error. What about the pillow size and shape?

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 11:31AM
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A designer is just a person with an opinion. Sometimes it's better to follow your own instincts.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 11:40AM
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Can the chair pillows work on the couch somehow, perhaps layered with other pillows you have there?

If not, consider just making new covers - you don't have to get rid of the insides.

If they are a standard size square, like 116x16 or 18x18, you can even use my favorite cheating technique. Regular cloth dinner napkins sewn back to back, will work perfectly to cover them. They are already hemmed, so you sew the three sides together, often right in the existing hem stitching, tuck in the pillow, then sew the fourth edge together. No hemming, turning, seaming, etc. Check out some of the places that sell linens, and you will be amazed at the great patterns you will find. Often sold in sets of four, even on ritzy sites like Horchow. If you can sew a straight line, you can do this.

I am not crazy about the solid color pillows. I think the burlap could work, but might be kind of dead against the chair color. I like the toile, but it seems too similar in pattern size to the chairs to really work. Funny, I like the floral pillow in the lamp pix you showed. Is that Pottery Barn? I think I saw it.

I am also wondering (and gee, I am hoping I remember this correctly) if you have any fabric left from your window treatments in the kitchen? If I am remembering correctly, you used the jacobean floral with the black background? Might be too much with the black, but if you have a remnant that you could throw on the chair, could be worth a shot to at least take a look.

One other thing you could try with the pillows is to find a contrasting fabric that has the red of the pillow, plus some of the warmer gold tones from the chair and walls, etc and tie a 'sash' around each pillow, knotted in the center and short ends just left on either side. A plaid or small print could work well for that.

Finally, and this one pains me because it is expensive, is this pillow cover. I am guessing you could use the existing pillows as the inserts, but it is still a lot of $$. Still, I think one of these on each chair would be stunning, and pulls all the colors from the painting and the room, plus the effective size of the design is much larger than the chair print, so no fighting! LOL

katherine floral embroidered pillow

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 1:47PM
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Les, that's a gorgeous pillow! I bet it would look great and if not easily returned.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 2:34PM
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I'd try the white candles you already own first. I think the red pillows on your chairs would work better with the white candles.
I'd then spray the tray white or gold and call it a day.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 5:15PM
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Les - The pillows may work elsewhere, and I do have some sewing skills, so I could definitely make use of the tip you had about sewing cloth napkins. That's definitely an option.

I agree that the solid pillows are kind of bland, and I would prefer a print. I love the red toile, but it looks like the size of the pattern would compete with the chair pattern.

The lamp (and pillow) picture is fron Pottery Barn. I do like that pillow, especially the bright, cheery red.

You are remembering correctly about the fabric I used for the window treatment in the kitchen (which was a fantastic suggestion on your part, because it looks great!). I have better than a remnant since I made a pillow with the same fabric for a front hall bench. I will try to post a picture in the next couple of days so you can see it, but it does have a lot of black in the background.

I love the embroidered pillow, and I actually saw it before and admired it. I may try to do some Photoshop mock-ups again with some of the new choices before pressing ahead.

dianalo - I am getting bogged down in the details, I know, but I also know it will be worth it in the end. I agree that swapping out the red candles for white/cream/neutral will make a difference in how the pillows look.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 10:15PM
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I also like this wool-hooked poppy pillow from Grandin Road:

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 10:26PM
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do you need pillows on those chairs at all?? i would take the pillows off the chairs and see how they look with nothing...try them on the couch or loveseat. even a smaller, pretty throw draped over one chair could look nice. or, try taking just the left pillow off the chair and put that one on the loveseat and see how the assymetry of only one pillow on the chairs looks...would let your pretty chairs stand out more...

i think possibly one of the flowered pillows that les shows or the poppy you show might work- but i would be concerned that the pillow would become the focal point rather than an accent.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 8:28AM
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I like your chairs, and if you are wanting to add some brick red, I think you need pillows with maybe a large brown (is that the color of your drapes) and brick red stripe, and I think large print or stripes because your chairs have a pretty large print on them. Small print on pillows (on your chairs) just get lost, IMO. I wouldn't match the color in your chairs, but the curtains (the darker color to add some umph!), and to pull the room together.

I think the poppy pillow from Grandin Road might work too.

For some reason, the red candles with the white candlesticks are just too much.

Lovely room though!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 9:09AM
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