Let’s keep this show moving and get to the rest of the living room, shall we? One of the walls that had me scratching my head was the fireplace wall. As you can see in this terrible photo, we had these awesomesauce concrete floating shelf things that jutted out of the wall at what appeared to be random spots.
I’m sure they *weren’t* random and that they were lovingly and carefully crafted by someone in the 50’s or 60’s, but I just didn’t appreciate them. Most importantly, they interfered with my master plan. Everyone knows you don’t mess with that. So they had to go.
My builder worked his magic (which was also his hammer and chisel) and knocked off the slabs-o-awkward and this is what I was left with. I was originally thinking that I would re-tile the wall in some crazy, dramatic stone or maybe even just drywall over it and start with a nice, blank slate.
But then I changed my mind. Strange.
So, I decided to keep the brick, but now I was fixated on a proper mantel. I think it was like three weeks away from Christmas in this photo and I was scheming. Scheming of a way to get those stockings hung by the chimney with care.
But the scheming was taking a little while. I made everyone live with the crazy mantel chalk outline of death for a little longer while I wrapped my head around how I was going to do this.
|The tape stayed up longer than I’m actually going to admit.
I started by looking for some inspiration. I pinned many a pin. I tore out magazine pages. I scoured and studied as many tutorials as I could get my hands on. I was on a mission, y’all.
I was also on a mission to not spend ANY money out of pocket. I knew I had a bunch of supplies and yes, it would be WAY harder to customize the mantel according to what I had on hand, but I knew it would feel good to know that I didn’t break the bank trying to make my vision materialize.
So I dove right in.
|I like to think that my little team of nutcrackers were cheering me on.
Using my fancy, high-tech tape outline, I was able to gauge the maximum height that I wanted the finished product to be. Sometimes I lose sight of the overall project dimensions and end up with craycray proportions. I really didn’t want that to happen with what would probably be the focal point of the room.
I started by adhering 2×2 pieces to the brick using a masonry adhesive. They were going to act as my cleats and allow me to attach my mdf frame around the fireplace with my 18 gauge nail gun.
Then I had to cut the crown.
And the world went dark for a couple hours.
I could NOT, for the life of me, get this stupid crown to meet up properly. I was reusing some crown that was used in our old bedroom before we tore the ceiling down and I went through a LOT of scrap. I eventually got it to meet up close enough at the corners and just sanded the bejeezus out of it. It’s not terribly noticeable in person and if anyone walks up to it and points it out, I’m going to hand them a cookie and kick them out of my house. You’ve been warned.
Once I got the frame worked out, it looked a little plain, so I found some mahogany shim scraps that the drywall guy used to square up the walls prior to boarding. I mitered the corners and glued them on to the face.
Then it was time to slap some paint up on this
old new girl.
Pretty neato, if I do say so myself. But there were some nagging issues:
She needed to get the old Dap treatment. Oh, the sins that are hidden in my home because of this stuff…
Check out the after:
Smooth as a baby’s bottom. What’s that? You don’t believe me and want a closer look?
One more look? Two?
About a week after I finished, I was looking through some of the inspiration photos I had filed before I started and came across this:
I pretty much NAILED my inspiration photo and I wasn’t even using it as guide. Crazy.
When all was said and done, the white mantel looked a little washed out against the white brick wall.
Stay tuned for my next post to see how I remedied that situation *and* managed to do some camouflaging with the old floating shelves. Oh, the suspense!