Dec 242013

I didn’t stop working after finishing the tile. I mean, I stopped working on the fireplace because I had a craft fair coming up. But after poor weather led to the cancellation of that fair, I picked right back up where I left off. Here’s where it led me…

Fireplace Before and Progress (via

So pretty, right? And I’m really not just begging for compliments. I just am so happy with how things went here! Especially because I had a major case of regret for most of this project.

Before I dive into some small details on this project, I want to give a disclaimer that everything I share is based on our specific fireplace. So I won’t go into specifics on measurements because everything was custom made for our space. It’s definitely a hack-job, but saying “custom made” sounds better, right?

When I removed the mantel I was left with just some bricks. There were 2x4s built in to the brick so there would be something to attach the mantel to. I used some scrap wood to build out the brick so everything would be flush.

Fireplace Mantel Build 1 (via

I originally thought I’d rebuild the mantel from scratch. I wanted to make the new mantel a bit wider and shorter than the old one. I realized that the old mantel would be fine as far as the width went, since it was only two inches smaller than I wanted and I could cut down the top. I removed all of the nails and used a belt sander to remove all of the residue and glue from the old trim.

I used 2 1/2″ screws to attach the mantel base to the 2x4s built in to the brick and attached 1x2s for trim to begin the shaker style finish.

Fireplace Mantel Build 2 (via

The gap between the horizontal 1x2s was where I knew I’d use another trim. I found this trim from our scrap pile and I believe it was from the scraps left in the basement when we moved in. I haven’t seen it used anywhere else in this house, but it matches other trim used in style, though not size.

Fireplace Mantel Build 3 (via

From here on out you’ll see why I was so uncertain throughout the process…it looks pretty rough, right?

The hardest part with all of this was my goal to make all of the electronic cords hidden. Because there is a brick chimney behind the wall-mounted TV I couldn’t go behind the wall. I decided to build the wall out.

I started by making the “pillar” boxes (with small cut outs at the bottom for TV cords), then used scrap 2x2s and 2x4s (cut in half, just because I was using what I had and didn’t have enough otherwise) to build up the sides before I covered them with 1/2″ plywood. You can see that the cords will snake down, behind the pillar, down the sides and come out at the height of the electrical outlet, where I’ll put another built-in shelf for the surge protector and other electronics.

Fireplace Mantel Build 4 (via

No more progress pics because I was just keeping on keeping on and feeling like things were never going to go right. Finally the end was in sight! It’s hard to tell from this picture, but the upper side and top pillars are built out a few inches from the sides and the part behind the TV. That weird cut-out on the bottom left is where cords enter the back of our TV so I wanted to leave plenty of room.

Fireplace Mantel Build 5 (via

And now that magical moment when we can just fast forward to see the finished product!

Fireplace Mantel Build 6 (via

We’re still decided what to do with the bricks so I left them unpainted for now. I think we’re leaning toward painting them a dark gray, but white and black were both on the table at one point. I also have high heat paint for painting the inside of the firebox black.

Fireplace Mantel Build 7 (via

I did reuse the old mantel top, but sandwiched it between a new piece of trim on the bottom and a 1×10 on top.

Fireplace Mantel Build 8 (via

Here’s a sneak peak of the hidden cord system. I had to tilt the TV up to get this shot, so normally–even if you’re looking back there–you can’t see anything.

Fireplace Mantel Build 9 (via

Hard to believe it’s the same living room! I just gaze on it anytime I’m in the room. It really brightens things up, which is good since we don’t have tons of light in that room.

Now just a quick reminder of the very beginning, from before we moved in…

living room 2


…to after I built the first bookshelf…

fireplace before

…to the current look!

Fireplace Mantel Build 6 (via


Now I’m just itching to build the built-in shelf on the right so I can clear out some of the stuff on the other bookshelf and make everything look pretty!

  11 Responses to “Fireplace Mantel Reveal”

  1. Love it, Ash! You did such a great job! We painted our brick surround white (and I LOVE it) and we got high heat black BBQ grill spray paint and sprayed the inside brick black. It’s so pretty, it makes the flames really stand out when the fire is going. I look forward to seeing the rest of your improvements!

    • Thanks, Miriam! I did one coat of the hight heat paint already, but will need a couple more. It’s so stinky, though, I have to find a time we’ll be out of the house for a while!

  2. Wow, this turned out amazing! I am so impressed that you were able to cobble this beautiful thing together using so much of what you already had on hand. Great job!

  3. […] Next I demoed the fireplace mantel and tile, then retiled the floor in front of the fireplace, and finally I rebuilt the mantel area. […]

  4. Ashley that looks amazing!!!! Cant wait to see what project you start next!

  5. WOW is all I can really say. I love the shaker style. I just love the whole thing. You did a fabulous job and I can only hope that the one my hubs is about the build in the basement is just as nice.


  6. […] I’m sharing the current state of the living room. Since I just finished the built-ins and remodeled mantel, we’ve seen a good bit of the living room […]

  7. […] Update:¬†You can see the finished built-ins and mantel area¬†here. […]

  8. […] living room has made some major steps up in the last couple of months (thanks to the new¬†fireplace mantel and built-ins!), but one corner has been ignored. This space behind our front door also serves as a […]

  9. Thanks so much for posting this progression. You’ve done a great job, and the new mantel, wall looks beautiful. It’s exactly what we had in mind for our transformation, and I was able to use your plan as a template. I had been having trouble moving from concept to reality.

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