rustic, coastal summer mantel with beach accents

I don’t know about you, but I think one of the worst feelings in the entire world is to feel left out.  Whether it’s intentional, accidental, preventable, whatever.  It always just sucks to not be included and know about it. No?


And you know what one thing I have felt completely left out of since joining blogland?


And you people have some seriously beautiful mantels out there.  And you host mantel parties.  And you update your mantels for each season, or holiday, or, like my friend Emily, your blog’s name is 52 Mantels and you update your mantel every week!

And, Emily even had a fun little mantel challenge to create a mantel entirely out things made from paper.  And, it was Emily who suggested I take one of the driftwood shelves in my kitchen and pretend it’s a mantel, somewhat fantel-esque.  Brilliant!

I did not make my summer mantel entirely out of paper, but I did try my hand at a couple of paper mantel accessories.  Like a book page bowl and a paper mache letter B.  And I decided to go with a summer theme, cause, well, it’s summer.  :)  And I’ll apologize now that all of the pics are relatively dark.  This was a late afternoon project in an east facing kitchen. :(

And then once I had my fantel all decorated for summer … I fiddled with it.  Would it work better without the paper bowl that didn’t really turn out how I had hoped?

Does that make it too off-balance and should I take out the book page framed word art I made my dear husband for our 13 year anniversary of living together?  See the 13 there on the frame?  :)

The grey lettering says “you’re pretty much my favorite of all time in the history of ever”, words I found Pinterest.  True statement.

And does the sprig of flower in the corally thing I found at a beach hide my little ‘hope’ sign made on driftwood with a little shell?

That sign is the pair to the other driftwood, shell and sea glass sign that says ‘joy’.

And, would I like the look better without the little pop of hot pink flower?

And, what if I added these other pretty white flowers I found instead of that little shell?

Oh, or, what if I put those flowers in a little blue mason jar and took away the tall blue bottle we found, along with the other bottles, while scouring for driftwood one day?

Ohhhh, I could put the little blue mason jar with the pretty white flowers on the end where the paper bowl was, then I could put the word art I made Joel back on the other side and all would be right with the world.

I didn’t actually realize how much I missed fiddling with decor like that until I lost a couple hours minutes doing just that. The reality is, I can’t keep it like that, because our glass containers filled with food stuffs need a home and storage space doesn’t seem to just be appearing at random in this little breadbox of a house.

But, it sure was fun to be back in the game, even just for a hour minute.  AND, it has inspired me to rework a few things around here that I plan to make happen this summer.  Meaning there will be some changes in this here home, and since it’s designated to happen in the summer, one might call it a Season of Change.  More to come on that in July, but it is bound to be a ton of fun.  You just wait.  :)

(You can see how to make the pallet word art, that little Welcome trough, and how to make the book page covered frames.)

In the meantime, have you heard of the Before & After series over at OPC and their sister site The Better Half?  It is their 5th anniversary of doing a wonderful series that benefits a wonderful cause.  Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit that is not only near and dear to OPC and The Better Half, but also myself and my in-laws. My father-in-law has volunteered tirelessly for Habitat for many years, he’s been his local chapter President and to this day collects cans for their cause throughout the year. The work that Habitat does is tremendous and the intention of the Before & After series is to help raise awareness for Habitat, and support their mission to provide decent, safe and affordable places to live.

This year, OPC has decided to run the Before & After series a little differently than in the past, and have invited a few other bloggers to join in the fun.

Fred volunteering with Habitat Sandtown

Here’s the Plan

You submit pictures and a story from a home improvement project you worked (no contracted jobs) sometime over the past year. Every week of the summer (June 20 – September 21), a winner is selected and their story is published online. Each winner gets a $50 gift card to either Lowes, Home Depot, or Amazon, and OPC makes a donation of $100 to Habitat for Humanity in their honor! At the end of the Summer, the best submission, as voted on by readers, wins a bonus $150 gift card to one of the three stores above.

The bloggers participating are:

June 17, OPC’s The Better Half
June 24, Pretty Handy Girl
July 1, Beneath My Heart
July 8, ten june
July 15, Southern Hospitality
July 22, Charles and Hudson
July 29, House of Hepworths
August 5, the space between
August 12, Remodelaholic
August 19, DIY Showoff
August 26, My Blessed Life
September 2, Home Stories A-2-Z
September 9, Bear Rabbit Bear
September 16, Burlap & Denim

We will each be picking one winner from ALL of the submitted entries in the week we’ve been designated above. :)

Ethan volunteering with Habitat Sandtown

Here’s How to Enter

If you want to submit a before and after story, email us your submission at Your entry can be in the email itself or attached as a Word document. Make sure to number pictures in order so it’s easy for us to reconstruct the story, and please attach the pictures as JPEGs even if you also embed them inside the Word document.

Keep in mind that good before and afters include interesting pictures (before, during, and after) and a descriptive story. Here are some great examples from last year.

Also, OPC has a link party open for all the bloggers out there to submit your great transformations.


  1. andrea says

    oh my friend — this mantel is WONDERFULLY YOU!!!!!! it has your essence and that is just so awesome!!! guess no more feeling left out — you are in baby!!!! unfortunately your excellent taste does not spill over into your baseball preferences but none of us are perfect : ) hugs…

  2. says

    I was telling my hubby last week how left out I feel without a mantel! Great minds. We decided to build a fake mantel too. I like your drift wood idea. We also live at the beach, so this is perfect. Thanks for bringing the inspiration for the fantels. xoxo

  3. says

    Your mantel is beautiful. I love the fresh combination of blues and greens. And the natural elements are so soothing. You did a great job.

    Sharon @ mrs. hines class

  4. says

    Holy wow! I was not expecting to read my name on your blog this morning!! I’m so flattered and totally glad you fanteled. I love a good fantal!! :)

    I actually spotted this loveliness yesterday on a little blog called The Lettered Cottage (perhaps you’ve heard of it?). I adore it’s beachy beauty. Great job!!

    Thanks for the shout out. You are too kind!! :)

  5. says

    I love your mantel and the beachy theme is so lovely. Your sign is amazing, such a fantastic piece. The paper bowl, B , shells and flowers are all very pretty. Love it. Just so you know, the party is for any surface anywhere that you create any kind of vignette. Kitchens, bathrooms, shelves, mantels, tables – just anywhere you display anything. Hope you join in again soon. Hugs, Marty

  6. says

    Yay for fantels! I finally realized that I could decorate something even though I don’t have a mantel, so I decorated the top of my piano. Fun!

    I love your beachy vibe, and those old bottles are just perfect!


  7. says

    I love your “mantel” We are thinking about adding one to our family room fireplace since it doesn’t have one (who does that?) Thanks so much for sharing at Tout It Tuesday. Hope to see you next week.

  8. says

    Mantel or fantel – either way, yours looks amazing! I love all the personal pieces you’ve included, like the little driftwood signs and the framed word art for your hubby :-) Love the blue bottles & jar and the blue B too :-)

  9. says

    How in the world had that bottle not been found on the beach before, I wonder. Great find! Reading your tale of fiddling with your fantel made me remember why I don’t ever change my mantel. I can’t decide and I like what I have and I’d like the new way and then I’d always feel like I was missing out or there could be something better. You have some really cool things there. Loved your paper bowl!

  10. says

    I think it looks great! I don’t have a mantel either. I am not big on fireplaces so we specifically did not have one put in this house when we built it, but I would love a mantel… I need to find me a fantel, too. :)

  11. says

    WOW!! It’s awesome! Every inch of your mantel is AMAZING!!!

    Thanks so much for sharing this at The DIY Dreamer.. From Dream To Reality! Have a great day! :)

  12. says

    Beautiful, Karah! The ‘fantel’ itself is a showstopper and then all of the different elements combine to give it such a relaxed vibe. I want to find a blue bottle when I go for a walk ; )


Let me know what you think!