DIY Fireplace Mantel Reveal!

Hello friends. Today I'm checking off one of the time-consuming projects I've been working on this summer and I'm pretty happy with the end result.
Hooray! Our DIY fireplace mantel that we built around an old wood remnant-- with its beautifully carved finally done!
And I think it's perfect for our cottage style home.
My newly built mantel finally brings an end to the fireplace transformation in this house.
These photos give you a glimpse of the 20 month process, showing you the original-1965-wall, the red brick we uncovered beneath the drywall and added to, and the subsequent paint and design of the entire 15-plus foot wall.
I plan on sharing how we transformed this living room wall soon. But for now, it's mantel time.
If you want to see Part One of this DIY mantel along with some how-we-did-it pictures you'll want to go here: .
Otherwise, welcome to Part Two--and the reveal.
Above is the photo after the plywood 'boxes' were added (part one)
If you remember the last post ended with:
the 3 plywood boxes built as the mantel base
the addition of 4x4 posts along both sides of the mantel
the fir boards added for the top of the mantel
and the installation of the antique wood remnant on the front
Before we nailed the 4x4s I gave the plywood base and each of the 4x4s a quick coat of primer paint.
A quick word about the wood we used.
Even though I planned on painting the mantel--because of the weathered remnant I was building it around, I decided to use basic stock wood for the rest, so the rougher look would blend better with the remnant once it was painted.
The 4x4s had been run through a planer so they were smoother but still had the 'fence post' texture.
The top of the mantel was the only higher quality grade wood piece we used.
Once my Dad helped me with the basic structure, and rebuilt and attached the wood remnant (part one) our work together was done. At this point I was on my own and it was time for me to decide on the final look of this mantel.
Remember. I had never cut a piece of molding with my miter saw yet. Gulp.
And even though I'd been collecting ideas for this mantel on my Pinterest board for a while, it wasn't until the remnant was on front that I could get an idea of what kind of trim might work.
I started at the bottom because I knew I wanted six inch trim there. So I bought an eight inch board and ripped it into a full six inch.
Then came my first mistake.
I forgot to double check these first pieces with my level (until after they were nailed) and even though they were barely off center I could hear my Dad's voice saying, "If you're gonna do it, do it right. You better pull that off."
Ugh. I learned my lesson. No more forgetting to use my level.
After a few trips to the molding section of Ganahl lumbler and Home Depot, and bringing home a few pieces of fancy molding, I realized that what this mantel needed was simplicity.
There was so much going on with the intricately carved sea shells, that every elaborate piece of molding I held up to it seemed to clash. I decided to keep it clean and simple looking.
My first ever 45 angle cut on my miter saw!
Woo-hoo.... had to stop and get a pic!
All done and ready to paint!!
I was a bit nervous about how the old wood would 'take' the paint. And truthfully it was hard to say goodbye to the weathered finish that I love so much---in another home I would happily have an entire mantel of this luscious distressed wood.
It just wouldn't work in this home---on this wall.
Goodbye old wood, hello painted wood---I'm not sure I like you.
Ok. Just so you know, it ended well. It just took a few good coats to penetrate the cracks.
If you would like to see the final mantel--please follow the link below and stop by my blog. Unfortunately I hit my max for pictures.
As always, I thank you for visiting!

Leslie H
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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