I shared early in the fall that I found an antique mantel removed from a local home built circa 1810. I was so excited about bringing that piece of history into our house. Overall the measurements seemed like they were going to work, but after we got it home and inspected it more carefully, we realized that it would need more than the few tweaks I initially thought. I was pretty bummed, but Jeff and I were sort of excited at the idea of designing and building our own mantel. So, I sold the antique one on Facebook Marketplace and started looking for some inspiration.
This is mantel option number one and the one I looked at initially when I searched for inspiration about a year ago. I liked the uniqueness of the curve above the firebox and I felt like the simplicity of it would work nicely in our living room. There would be some challenges to making a mantel designed after this one, though, and Jeff wasn’t as fond of the curved detail as I was.
This was mantel number two on our list of options. I knew it would be an easy build and would also work with the style of our home. The trick would be finding moldings that would be worth featuring so prominently. I also wasn’t sure if the scale would work right with the space we had to work with. But, I loved the classic design of this one.
Mantel option number three was one that involved building boxes to give the mantle a bit more depth and prominence. I liked the idea that it would be “chunky” and we wouldn’t have to rely so heavily on stacking wood boards to create thickness and building up molding to give the mantel structure and support the shelf.
I drew out some initial ideas and dimensions and we went to Lowes to see what was available that would work for one of these designs or perhaps a hybrid. We made some selections, buying a little extra to give ourselves some options, and then when we got home and removed the mantel, we realized that the plans we carefully made laying out boards and trim on the floor of the lumber aisle wouldn’t work. Instead of the floating mantel shelf being attached to a piece of timber that was screwed into the wall, it was supported by 2 x 4s that were built into the brick. Unless we wanted to cut them off, we needed to change plans and go in a different direction.
The funny thing about all of the planning and Lowes trips is that I thought this was a small project that would be done by lunchtime. That’s how off my protect time-frame estimations typically are and I should just add a day or two to all of my estimations! We ended up grabbing sandwiches on our second run and we were definitely not done by lunchtime!
Anyway, the new mantel build is underway and I’ll share how we did it in another post. Which design do you think we went with? One, two, or three?