Tuesday, August 30, 2016

How to Build a Floating Wood Fireplace Mantel

One of my favorite renovations in our house--and certainly my husband's pride and joy--is our fireplace mantel. Not only does it look fabulous, but it was cheap, easy, and a fun way for father and son to have beating something up.

As with pretty much every surface in the house, when we moved in, the fireplace was all one color--vanilla. Boring.

After painting the brick a brighter white (I would have loved a whitewash look over the natural color of the brick, but I wasn't about to go through the work of somehow getting rid of the previous coats of paint), we were left with this "lovely" look for a mantel. Granted, it was a different color, but that was because we knew it wasn't going to stay. I mean, look at it! Maybe in 1974, but nope, not in 2016.

The best thing I can say about this mantel is it has an outlet.

Scouring Pinterest (oh, such torture to be forced to perform one of my favorite pastimes, right?), hubby and I decided on a plan. And it was a simple one.

After measuring, we decided on 1x6x8 and 1x10x8 pine boards. We liked the softer wood of the pine to work with. While we wanted the boards as straight as possible, we weren't too worried about how rough they were because step two involved beating up the wood as much as possible. That's where father and son had some fun using their muscles to scar the wood with screws, hammers, chains, and anything else they could do to make it look a little more rustic.

Inside the floating mantel. Crafted to slip over the existing brick one.

Once the wood was sufficiently beat up, my handyman crafted this box to slide over the existing brick mantel. You may notice that he didn't miter it anywhere--and that was on purpose.

No-Miter Mantel

Using the same Minwax mahogany gel stain I'd used on the beams overhead (see blog post about that here) in that room brought out the detail of the "flaws" and helped tie the room together.

The nice thing about the fact that the new mantel slides over the existing one is that there aren't any screw holes that had to be fixed, it can be changed at any time with no demo, and--it makes a great hiding place for letters or valuables or whatever. . . Not that I've done that. Probably.

Checking the fit before finishing the stain.

I think it turned out pretty great!