Bookcase Update and Art Book Winners

My online e-design client, Jennifer, recently sent me an “after” of the family room we worked on together.   Jennifer wanted to update the space to make it more inviting and fun for her growing family, without throwing the baby out with the bath water (i.e, making the most of what she already had).  Here’s the “before” of the space we focused on:

Before_livingroom

family room bookcase before

 

It’s exciting that I can help people that aren’t in my immediate area with long distance e-design.  Here is a photo Jennifer sent me of the family room bookcase after:

painted bookcase

family room bookcase after online consultation

 

Online consultations require some faith and follow-through on the client’s end.  I think Jennifer did a great job following through with my recommendations.  After seeing the after, I had one additional suggestion for her.  I’m curious to see if you agree – I think the mantel should go a soft black color so that the fireplace isn’t bisected by the white mantel piece, like this:

painted bookcase

family room bookcase after, with black mantel

 

Please let me (and Jennifer) know which version you prefer in the comment section of this post!  Now, let’s talk WINNERS of my book giveaway, shall we?

And-the-winner-is___

image

 

Lisa Grubb wins a copy of Handmade Walls:

handmade walls

get your copy by clicking here

 

 

Sat H., Cheryl R., and Samantha L. win a copy of one of these art-filled books:

art for the eclectic home

get these art-filled books by clicking here

 

And finally,  Teresa with 2 granddaughters wins a copy of DIY Chalkboard Crafts:

chalkboard crafts

get any of these art-filled books by clicking here

 

I know you will all enjoy these books!  Thanks so much to Adams Media for offering these to my readers and for giving me copies, as well.  I will share before and afters  of my gallery art grouping that I will be creating for my stairway wall this spring.  If you won, Allison (my assistant) will be contacting you for your address.

lauraleiss

Laura Leiss art grouping

 

Even if you didn’t win one of these books, I encourage you to get one or more of them here. With 40 pieces of art in each of the art compilation books, you can’t beat the price (50 cents each??).  And if you want a few new DIY projects, Handmade Walls will teach you how to create fabulous frames and DIY Chalkboard Crafts will give you great inspiration for using chalkboard paint creatively. 

Don’t forget to cast your vote for white mantel or black mantel in comments!

Get my special report "Child and Pet Proof Decorating"
Free when you subscribe to my email updates!


Share this Post

56
Leave a Reply

avatar

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
MK
Guest

Yes, Kristy, I agree that a charcoal gray or soft black is better for the mantle. If I’d been painting in my own home, I would have painted the mantle white just like your client did because I don’t think outside the box or have the vision to know how it would look differently. In my mind, I would have thought that bringing in a different color for the mantle would look disjointed, but when you show the image of the mantle in the darker color, I totally love it. You just have that gift:)

jenwilsonLWK
Guest

I think both the white and soft black colour work for the mantel so this really just boils down to personal preference. I prefer the darker tone. If the fire is real (I was unsure) this might prove easier to keep clean too).

Laura @ The Turquoise Home
Guest

Definitely black!!

Debbie
Guest
Debbie

Definitely the black!

Elizabeth
Guest
Elizabeth

Hmm, I think I like white better.

jodi seaton
Guest

I like the subtle black.

Cat
Guest
Cat

I know it’s a big commitment, but I think painting the entire brick surface the same white as the shelving would be much more cohesive and contemporary without being too “modern.” That would really freshen up the room. Otherwise, I like the white shelving and I agree, the charcoal colored mantle is better than the white.

Beth
Guest

I’m actually a little torn between the two. The white pulls the strong white of the bookshelves & ties them together……as does the darker color. To me it is personal preference – if she likes the strong mantle statement, then keep it white. If she prefers to have it fade away, then paint it darker.

Paula Diekhoff
Guest
Paula Diekhoff

Yes, I vote for the softer black mantle, too and it gives me inspiration for painting my mantle.

Susie
Guest
Susie

I definitely think the mantle should be soft black. Otherwise I feel like I’m looking at a bright white line over the fireplace. The bookcases look great!

Vanessa
Guest
Vanessa

What an amazing transformation! It looks fantastic! I actually like the white mantel piece. I feel like it connects the brick area with the rest of the room, like the light border on the throw pillow and the white lines in the rug. Either way is a win!

Rachel
Guest
Rachel

I actually think she needs to paint the brick fireplace the color of the back of the bookcases, and then paint the mantle black.

Sat Hari
Guest
Sat Hari

Thank you so much for the book! What a treat to wake up to this morning!! My eyes are now peeled for the next Michaels’s discount so I can run out and buy frames. Forgive me for asking this next thing. How exactly do I get the book? The link takes me to Amazon for purchase. Can you up help me see what I am missing? As for today’s blog, I like the darker mantle. I think it balances the room by fading away, keeping the vertical lines tidy, and it ties in with the coffee table. Also love the… Read more »

Patty
Guest
Patty

I love the soft black mantle. It softens the wall and ties in nicely with the clock above the mantle. The white mantle draws the eye immediately too much. Good job.

Maggie S
Guest
Maggie S

I agree it should be black–this way the white line is the first thing you see instead of the whole area.

I also think that painting the brick white would look great–it would unify the whole area -but maybe someone at her house –like her husband 😉 – likes the natural brick

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

Absolutely terrific! I think the black mantel is the better way to go; it enhances the brick and accessories instead of competing with them as well as being more sophisticated. The blue painted on the back wall of the bookshelves takes the everyday white from ho-hum to really special. The dark blue rug makes everything else pop–would never thought to introduce that color but it is fabulous. Great work both of you!!!

Colleen
Guest
Colleen

I think the black looks better, but I’m with Cat above, and I would paint all the brick white.

Merri Ann Woelfel
Guest
Merri Ann Woelfel

I agree with Beth that it may be just a matter of taste. The darker mantel looks out of place to me. But, having stated that, I must say that I am in the process of hiring someone to help me with my family room … my lack of taste is just appalling :o))

Heidi
Guest
Heidi

The transformation is beautiful! I really like the soft black mantel – it makes the bookcases stand out more.

Alice
Guest
Alice

Black mantle, for sure!!

Rory
Guest
Rory

I agree about panting the brick white. The mantle is so thin that it just feels like an interruption in the wall no matter what color you paint it.

debbi in Texas
Guest
debbi in Texas

I agree with painting the white, although black seems harsh to me. Painted the same color as the interior of the shelves could tie all that together. Either way, paint the white. Looks fabulous; love the rug and chairs, and everything about it. Nice job

Debbie
Guest
Debbie

Love the bookcases painted white! Looks great! I also love the black mantel! I think if it were me, I would consider painting the brick white or maybe a white wash. Its a beautiful fireplace and would Awesome in white! Maybe with a reclaimed wood mantel 🙂

Judy
Guest
Judy

Changing the mantel color to a soft black was a subtle change that has a big impact. It is a finishing touch that takes the bookcase update from great to excellent!

Anette
Guest
Anette

Black is the better option here – I did have my doubts about that white line even before I read your text. Contrasts emphasize, and emphasizing the single mantle shelf didn’t really work here – in my eyes at least. It’s a lovely room!! I really like your blog, by the way! After having read a few of your entries, I finally took the step to go bolder with colours on my walls! Our house was a renovating object with crazy colours when we bought it (let me just mention the grass green kitchen cabinets against dusty pink walls…), so… Read more »

Melissa K
Guest
Melissa K

I’d have to agree with Beth. I’m torn and think both looks have their own merit. Great transformation though!

Maria
Guest

I agree with the others who’ve suggested painting the whole entire brick white or white wash. It would update the room even more. That said, it looks so much better than before, and the soft black mantel is my preference.
I would love to know what paint you recommended for the bookshelves. I’m thinking of doing something similar in my family room.
Thanks, Kristie!

Jann from Newton Custom Interiors
Guest

Funny, my first thought was paint the fireplace brick to match the white bookshelves, just like Cat said. I think it would really update the room.

Susan
Guest
Susan

Going with black!

Elaine
Guest
Elaine

Subtle black – love the shelves!!!

EB
Guest
EB

I would have painted all brick a soft white, then distressed

Kim
Guest
Kim

Black! The bookshelves look great — and I am slightly obsessed with your blog :-)! You have wonderful taste. I may have to contact you about paint colors for my cottage as our renovation progresses; I love it hat you’re in Nashville; I’m in the midstate too.

Becky
Guest
Becky

I am voting for white. Not liking the black.

Nicole
Guest
Nicole

I like the black better. Heck, I’d have some fun with it, and do it in chalkboard paint! 🙂

Samantha Ley
Guest
Samantha Ley

I like the black much better!

Jane
Guest
Jane

I thought the white looked good… but have to agree the black looks even better!

Colleen
Guest
Colleen

I’m amazed at the transformation that resulted from painting the bookshelves! The white trays and accessories look beautiful, and I like the symmetry of the baskets on both sides. I vote for the black mantle. I am looking forward to getting onto your schedule Kristie!

Jennifer
Guest
Jennifer

I like a dark grey/black option for the mantle with the brick as it is. If the brick was painted or washed, I’d say the same color as the paint with a wash or distressing. The dark definitely doesn’t stand out and create a strong horizontal line! Love the new look, great job!

Susanne
Guest
Susanne

The very first thing that I thought when I saw the after photo was “WOW that mantel really pops and makes a huge difference.” I like it better that way than black. It looks fantastic. I just knew that you were going to paint the bricks (and I probably would have liked it like that too) but I like them like you left them. Good job!

Francie
Guest
Francie

I like the black version or even the same color as the backs of the shelves. It makes the mantel more subtle rather than popping out from the brick. I totally see why she painted it white but think a darker color would be better. Of course if she lived in Nashville, I think your questions would include whether to do some brick faux painting magic. 🙂

Cilla Crane
Guest
Cilla Crane

I have a brick fireplace that we painted white with a dark gray/black mantle, per Kristie’s suggestion, and it looks FANTASTIC!! It was a big leap, but my living room is so much fresher and brighter.

kelly
Guest

I vote black also. The white mantel stood out too loud. Love the painted bookshelves and backs! So pretty!

Carrie
Guest
Carrie

Prefer the black for an elegant touch!

Nancy
Guest
Nancy

That brick arch over the firebox is really special. To that end, I’d go with the black mantel since it allows the arch to be the star of that area.

Cyndi
Guest
Cyndi

Black. It follows the darkness of the fireplace opening and seems to blend better.

Joyce
Guest
Joyce

I was torn as well, because the white mantel seems to pop too much but the charcoal black, although softer, looks a bit off paired with the dark black clock and makes me wonder IF it will look as cohesive with a blazing fire, since it ties in mostly to the dark firebox??? Perhaps just changing the accessories on the shelf below the mantle clock…using shades of blues from the book shelves and drawing in even some of the darker more textural decorative elements also from the shelves…just thinking out loud…either way it is a lovely room and a great… Read more »

Samantha
Guest

I love the beauty and the warmth of the natural brick color. I think the mantel would love stunning stained (or painted) in a dark wood color to match the furniture and better blend with the brick. A stunning makeover either way.

Kirsten
Guest
Kirsten

I see I’m in the minority here, but I just love the way the white mantel looks. It brightens and lightens the entire look of the fireplace, making the mortar stand out more than the reddish brick. Also, it makes the fireplace look like it’s an artsy middle section of the bookshelves–very unique. Not sure why, but the black/dark grey just looks drab and out-of-place. Love your blog, Kristie!

Cindy
Guest
Cindy

I just found your blog and I am hooked. I think you have an incredible eye for color and you are amazing at staging! When I saw this photo of the fireplace, I did a double take. It looks exactly like my family room. We have been debating what to do with the bookcases and now we are def going to paint white. It transforms the room and bring it more up to date. Did client have to sand or strip before painting? Thanks!!

Jenny
Guest
Jenny

I like the white. I think it brightens up the room. The black looks out of place to me.
Great job on the makeover Jennifer!