For the last few weeks, I have been busy working on a mantel for our fireplace. Our kitchen was actually designed for a kitchen/family room combo, but we decided we didn’t need another place to sit and watch TV. So, we have one big kitchen with a fireplace!
I have wanted to add a mantel to it since we bought our house and now I am finally getting around to it after seven years.
As you can see, there was a piece of trim along the top which really is an awkward space. I see they were trying to connect the trim for the tops of the bookshelves together for one uniform piece, but I can’t decide how to decorate it. I haven’t had much luck decorating above the fireplace either. I am excited to have a place to hang stockings at Christmas time too, but my first goal was to have this completed before our family gathered at our home for Thanksgiving.
I started by removing the top trim piece and the ceramic tiles on the floor. I had to be cautious since this is an older house, wearing protective gear during the removal. Some of the tiles were already loose. It was not an easy job…and what a mess!
And here’s what it looked like after removing the large shelf and trim…
I had planned how I was going to attach the mantle before I began. Deciding on tile to cover the brick and designing the mantel are another story. I started by attaching 1×2 in. pieces and secured them with wood screws.
I used 1 x 3 in. Select Pine boards from Home Depot for the framing, then secured it to the smaller boards that were already in place.
It doesn’t look level in the first picture, but I checked it over and over with my level…
For the surface, I purchased a 4 x 8 ft. birch board that my Dad helped me cut into pieces with the table saw. We even had enough left over for the mantel shelf. The trim and paint will be added next…so will the tile as soon as I can make a decision. The guy at my local Home Depot said choosing the tile would be the hardest part of this project. He was right.
I decided I would add a thin piece of board from the mantel shelf to the existing crown molding to cover the gaps in the wood. I also knew it would be quite a task to cover where the old shelf used to be. This just made it a lot easier. I used both liquid nails and 2 in. screws to secure it.
Finally, before I began painting, I added baseboard and trim. I haven’t added quarter round yet since I still need to tile in front of the fireplace…and fix, or replace the flooring that was damaged during my project.
I really learned a lot during this part of the project. If I had it to do all over again, it would go much faster. Planning the look of the mantle was quite a task, and I changed my mind during the process as I was putting things together. I really happy with how it turned out.