art/toronto house/bungalow/abstract/hugo guinness/french bulldog


I played around with a new mantel arrangement on the weekend and this is what I've come up with. Mr. A and I have been acquiring some cool new art pieces lately – mostly abstracts and still lifes – so I thought it was time for a change. The main objective was to incorporate two of the new pieces and inject a little modernity. 

This one followed Mr. A home from a shopping trip recently and I loved it as soon as I laid eyes on it. It's a signed watercolour abstract and is beautifully framed in gilt. I am very drawn to the muddy olive green in this painting. I think it may even inspire some decorating changes.

Truthfully we've had this one for a while. Mr. A liked it right away and snapped it up last spring. It's naïve, as in, maybe done by a high school art student. I did not like it one bit when he bought it. I kinda hated it. A lot. But after living with it elsewhere in our place for a while, I have decided to give it a shot at the main event – front and centre on the mantel. These two paintings work very well together and this messy thing is growing on me.

The rest of the arrangement consists of some old favourites that I simply had to keep in place. On the left my beloved Hugo Guinness "Mark's Dog" I love how it peeks out from behind the vase in its playful stance. You probably know the story of this piece by now, but just in case you don't you can read some of it here and some more here. The pair of vases are cloisonné and we found them at the Brimfield Antique Show a few years ago. I have since moved the little bubble clock (a gift from a friend) to nestle alongside the pretty brass oak leaf wreath. I think every mantel needs something a bit mysterious like that piece. What is it? Where did it come from? The crumbling gilt mirror is a stalwart – it will take a lot to get me to ever edit that one out. Still, the day may come...

This is what the mantelscape looked like before. Perhaps too many small bitsy things. That portrait is a treasure. A fine oil that was a surprise no-occasion gift from Mr. A to me. But I feel she needs to move to the Tweed House. I think an Edwardian home more suitable for her than our Toronto mid-century bungalow. But there'll be construction dust in Tweed soon (fingers crossed) so for now she's found a fun little interim home to the right of the fireplace.

Here she sits, nestled among a typically Margot and Kevin assortment that includes IKEA-framed Damien Hirst wrapping paper we picked up gratis at the Angès b. store in Paris in 2000, a $2 Value Village lamp that I spray-painted celadon green, a vase from the Canvas Home Store in NYC, an empty antique gilt frame and a shapely faux-malachite painted papier maché urn I found in Maine. The combination makes me chuckle. She may be under appreciated here, but at least she will be saved from the soot assault of her former post.