Monday, August 29, 2011

DIY Mantle: Warming up the Naked Fireplace

Sorry for the lag, guys. I got a little caught up between a weekend at home and a weekend of pure fun and relaxation (and a week in between).
 Quite a few changes have occurred between our playground adventure and now. 

The biggest change is our new mantle. It has added such a sense of homey-ness to our little old apartment! 

For some reason, the fireplace in our apartment (big selling point for us, btw) is just on a blank wall. It has a nice white frame and painted black insides, but it just exists. Which is a crying shame considering it is such a nice feature, and it is on one of the huge vaulted-ceiling walls. It just felt.... naked

(This is the only picture I have of the wall pre-mantle. I guess it was shy because it was so naked)

And here is how we did it. 
-We bought a length of 1x6 from Lowe's (And they cut it to size for us, of course)
-and 2 decorative L-brackets.
-We already had stain from the coffee table project

Here are my raw materials 
(On our new balcony furniture, but we will get to that in another post)

We intentionally got a board that had lots of knots and "character" to it.
But as straight as we could find. Lots of jokes were made.

This time I used an old towel instead of a paintbrush. It was equally as messy. But I work at a preschool so I am totally over caring about messes. Wood stain on my hands is much less of a concern after snot and poop.

I love the color that it turned out to be! More than the coffee table, really. I didn't use the ebony undertone.
And I stained the L-brackets. (No pictures. Just use your imagination)

Here it is again "Before" with all sorts of project materials in the way of what could be a beautiful fireplace.

I made Josh hold this at a dozen different heights. 
In the end, about 3 inches above the fireplace frame was the location that won our hearts.

The brackets have a receiver built in, so all we did was unsuccessfully look for the studs and drive in a screw. We then decided to include an anchor and felt much better about the life expectancy of whatever ends up living on the mantle. (So it wouldn't fall)

So it looked like this for a few days. 
You know how patient I am?... well the stain wasn't even dry at this point. But I was so anxious to get it on the wall that I just covered the edge that touched the wall in painters tape. Worked like a charm, by the way. 
Remember that big ole frame? Yeah... We had plans for that. More on that later.

Now for a detail pic:

See the swirly L-bracket?! So purty.
 Budget Breakdown:

Lumber: 1x6.........$7.00
2 L-Brackets.......$12.74

And what became of that frame? Well, I'll show you!
We spray painted it (The pictures above were already sporting a cream colored spray paint. But I wasn't diggin' it.)
We moved on to a light blue (A nice accent for our very tan-brown-cream living room)
It was looking awfully "Baby Boy"ish, so I made sure to distress it lots with our handy dandy orbital sander. Better. 
Then we wrapped the whole thing in chicken wire.

I'm really lacking on pictures of this process, but basically we 
  1. rolled out some chicken wire, 
  2. used all-purposed snips to snip a line we thought was approximately the correct length, 
  3. put the frame face down
  4. (carefully) wrapped the wire around the edge (pulled it tight)
  5. and staple-gunned it on the back
Except we under-estimated a tad on the length, so on one side it didn't reach the back. We just decided that would be the top and no one would see it anyway. Except you. No big.

And here is the front: (bad lighting for all these... I apologize)


After! Nice and level... YAY!
So now to decorate that behemoth sucker.
I have a feeling it will have many different faces throughout its life above my mantle.
Here is the birth of the first one.

Anyone remember these?! I made these moss letters for our wedding. 
Here is proof:

So I removed the orange ribbon and added lace in its place.

Naked mantle

All situated. 

Left details

Right details (I love my felt birdie)

 Josh picture of details

A very fulfilled couple.
(oh, and this was all after we took a hike through Percy Warner Park...)

So we are allll ready for autumn to roll back around so we can utilize our now-beautiful fireplace. And Christmas so we can finally hang stockings!

A couple other changes that deserve a nod are our new lamp shades from Target

Once we (I) saw these, we (I) was hooked. We (Josh) promptly returned the plain jane ivory shades to Lowe's and we fell in love with these burlap drum shades.

And the ladder found a home!

I'm still open to ideas on how to spruce it up. Please comment below if you can think of something!

There are a couple more projects to fill you in on, but that will have to wait for another day.

Stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Haley! Love your blog and DIY-ness! I've always really enjoyed observing all the subtle, gradual changes that take place when decorating a home. The moss letters are beautiful. I think I might have to try and cover a whole oversized square canvas with moss.

    Anyway, maybe you could use the ladder as a rotating art/photo gallery. The pieces would probably need to be in frames of some sort, but maybe they could be attached to the ladder with fishing line/sections of hemp and hanged from each rung. OR (with excited emphasis) the whole ladder attached to the ceiling (parallel to the ceiling) as some sort of organizational tool: pot rack, homemade light fixture. !!!!