Recently, I found a website called Houzz.com, which I love. There is a section called Design Dilemma, where you can post a picture or question about your house, and designers will weigh in with their suggestions.
I've always had problems with my mantle decor. Like, I've never been able to figure it out. There are so many beautiful mantle decor pictures on Pinterest, and still, mine just looks like a catch all for whatever home decor crap I shove up there.
This is it at its best. Lame and usually littered with toys which I
shoved out of the way cleaned up.
So I posted my question on Houzz, and they all said the same thing. The mantle is too small and the wrong style for all the stone. I noticed on Pinterest, that whenever someone had a huge fireplace with a crap ton of stone, they all had a simple beam mantle. Found this blog post on pinterest, showed it to hubby, and he loved it. I was never able to find the thin veneer that she used, and the guy at Home Depot didn't know what it was, so I skipped that part.
Now, apparently I've forgotten how to blog, since I didn't take half of the pics that I wanted. Lame, right?
First thing we did was pull down the top trim piece, which made a HUGE difference. Hubby and I have always hated it, but never thought to take it down.
Then I painted the ceiling that needed it.
And can I just say, 12 feet doesn't sound that tall, but when you're up on a ladder, painting at 4 in the morning, it's pretty damn tall.
Next I hit up Home Depot, and found some wood that I liked. It was called whitewood and I found it in the lumber section with all of the tall, straight boards.
I bought one
1x10 at 6 feet long
one 1x8 at 8 feet long
one 1x8 at 6 feet long.
I made sure that the boards were straight and had some pretty knots in them. I had them all cut to 67 inches, which would give me 4 inches of room on each side when installed on my stone. I made sure to keep my scrap pieces, since I knew that I'd want to use the scrap piece of the 1x8 to cap off the sides. Then it was as simple and making a box. After I attached the 1x8's to the 1x10 with some wood glue and screws, I measured the sides and had hubby cut my scrap piece to cap off the side. Those were around 7-8 inches. In this pic, I had the sides just sitting in there, which is why they look wonky.
Then I filled in the screw holes and all the seams with stainable wood filled, and after that dried, I sanded the crap out of it and made it super smooth and worn.
Then came time for staining after I applied the wood conditioner. The whitewood is super soft, and I wanted to make sure it took the stain evenly. The color I used was "dark walnut". This was one coat that I let sit for a couple of minutes. I ended up doing one more coat of stain, because you can always add more, you can't take it away. Which is why I tend to err on being too light than too dark.
While I was doing that, hubby disassembled the mantle inside. I swear, this thing was built to withstand a nuclear bomb, it took a while to pull it all apart.
Again, there should be a picture here to show what it looked like after we pulled off the decorative pieces, but imagine a wooden box built around some 2x4's.
Then it was as simple as sliding on the box that I made, screwing it into the box that was already there, go drop $40 on candles at Walmart, and voila! (I've seen somewhere where a lady bought cheap drinking glasses, covered them in contact paper, and they looked like candles for a lot cheaper. But I'm an instant gratification kind of gal. Plus, with it being at eye level, I was worried that it would be obvious if I tried to fake candles).
And since we all love a good before and after shot...
Let's party like it's 1999...