Today we are over the moon excited to introduce you to another amazing new contributor! Sara is the beautiful genius behind the gorgeous farmhouse style over at Twelve on Main — go pay her a visit and follow along there, and today she’s sharing a gorgeous farmhouse mantel and fireplace makeover with us here on Remodelaholic, so be prepared to drool!
Hey there! My name is Sara and I am the crazy obsessed DIYer that blogs at Twelve On Main, and I am so incredibly excited to be here today on Remodelaholic! To say that its been a dream of mine is definitely an understatement. I have spend many hours poring over the incredible projects that lie on this website, and I am honored to have one of my own among them. Today I am showing you my mantle and fireplace makeover, with farmhouse charm of course.
If you have ever spent any time on my site, you will know that I am slightly obsessed with the farmhouse style, DIY projects, and everything home decor. We live in a small town, where farm life is quite central to almost everyone. Gardening, growing hay, and raising cows, horses and chickens are a way of life. Ten years ago, we built own first home here right smack in the middle of some of those hay fields. We did almost everything ourselves, including laying a hardwood floor when I was 8 months pregnant. Did I not mention that I was pregnant? Well, I will tell you, when you are pregnant, you sometimes make irrational decisions. I was just trying to get in my home before my son came. Thus came our mantle.
In the grand scheme of things it wasn’t so bad. But it wasn’t so great either. Here it is on my summer home tour. It was just….lacking I guess.
We had spent a lot of time and effort choosing the perfect stone, planning out the fireplace and making sure it all worked. Then came the mantle. A complete afterthought. What I mean is, when we were ready to install a mantle, we didn’t know what to do, so we did what made sense at the time. We grabbed an unused piece of beam from our porch construction and cut is to size. We installed the beam with the idea that it might be temporary. 10 years temporary. The breaking point for me was that the beam had drastically warped over time and was totally out of scale with the rest of the fireplace. It needed some work…and dusting. Have you ever dusted a rough cut wood beam? Ugh, no bueno.
Since the mantle was actually secured behind the rock with some straps, just tearing it down was not the answer. It would have been a difficult and messy process. So, we decided to wrap it.
Farmhouse Mantel and Fireplace Makeover
Here are all the supplies that we used for this project:
*Now, I am no expert, but this is what worked for us*
- 1 by 10 wood boards (whatever your preference)
- 1 2 by 4 stud
- Table Saw
- Miter Saw
- Screw Gun
- Masonry drill bit
- Grinder (for the rock)
- Masonry Blade (for grinder)
- Electrical outlet (to replace previous one)
- Brad Nailer
- Wood putty
Okay, so some of these things might not be necessary, but using a brad nailer instead of hand nailing each nail in is so much more convenient.
We started by securing the front piece onto the mantle. We made sure that the board was level, and shimmed it in spots where it did not meet the beam. We wanted to make sure this piece was exactly level so that the rest of the work would be level as well. Notice how far off the original beam was:
- We applied the front piece. We cut the bottom at a 45 degree angle.
- We installed the bottom piece. Nailing it to the front piece.
- You can see that it is not completely flush with the rock, that is because the rock was not flat. (You’ll see what we do with this later)
- We added the sides and then finally the top.
Once we were to this point, you could already see what a difference the larger, more accurately scaled mantle made.
What a difference a day makes…..
The next thing I wanted to do was to add some faux posts to balance out the rock and wood ratio. It needed more.
We started this step the same way we did the mantle. We cut the edges at a 45 degree angle to keep the look clean.
- We installed the outside piece first. We wanted to dry fit everything before we made it permanent.
- Once the side piece was fit, we then cut and fit the front piece. We did a dry fit with both pieces and made sure they looked right.
- We then spot nailed them together.
Now, here is where it got tricky. You can see in the bottom left picture, what it looked like on the other side where it was going to meet up with the rock. We did a little brainstorming and finally decided what we needed to do.
This is where that grinder with the masonry blades came into play. We measured and marked on the rock where we wanted the inside piece to sit.
We then cut a channel out of the rock from the mantle to the hearth.
This was actually easier than it may look. This is obviously not real rock… its manufactured stone. It was a bit messy, but we were prepared for that.
We then made sure to dry fit the inside piece, adjusting where necessary. Once it was exactly where we wanted, we took it out. The next steep was to install some wood blocks that would act as the glue securing the posts to the fireplace.
We drilled two holes into the hearth where we wanted to place the blocks. We used the masonry bit for this.
We then screwed the blocks into the hearth and did the same thing at the top of the post, screwing into the mantle to reduce the amount of times we would have to drill into the rock. We were pretty sneaky and made sure we drilled through the grout instead of the rock, which was much more difficult.
We could then secure the post to the blocks. Once the inside piece was put back, we then secured it to the post, and then secured the entire post to the blocks that we had installed.
Now, this is where is got fun! The base for the mantle and posts was all done. Its time to make it pretty!
We wanted to give the mantel a little more character, so we added another board to the top. We decided to overlap it to balance the rest of the design. We simply secured this with screws.
So, I am what you call a real pain. I am one of those that can never find the right trim when I go to a big box store. They are either too frilly(which is not me) or too builder grade. But, that’s why I married someone that is incredibly resourceful and can make whatever he wants. He made the perfect molding for the mantle. I think it is exactly what it needed, a simple 45 degree angled molding.
And, of course, I am such a pain, that I cant find a corbel that I like either. So, why not make your own.
Have you ever made a Pinewood Derby car? You know, those cars that dads make for their sons in Scouts? Well, I used the same idea to create my corbels. I told my husband to imagine they were two huge cars he got to construct. Makes it much more fun.:)
No, I don’t have hairy, manly hands. My hubs helped with this as well. We don’t do very many projects without each other.
We installed the corbels, added some small trim around the space where the post meet the mantel, and trimmed out the bottom of the posts as well.
Here we are almost done! The very last thing we did was add an actual 2 by 4 directly under the mantle that connects to both posts. I felt like the mantle needed to be a bit more beefy. I then made sure to fill in any cracks or screw holes with wood filler. I did not however, worry about the small nail holes. Part of my goal for this new mantel situation was to create something that looked like it had been here for a while. Something you will learn if you ever stop by my site is that I have made it my goal to take a new build and turn it into a home full of character.
The last thing we did was add some shiplap the the entire wall above the fireplace.
We painted it all out in Antique White, by True Value. It is my favorite white paint. I use it for everything.
We did a little cleaning. My crew is small but mighty.
And now…..it time to enjoy my labors. I decorated it simply with some farmhouse winter decor. You don’t need much when the fireplace and mantle are the stars of the show.
This project has been a long time coming and I am so glad I was finally able to get it done. I am also so very glad I could share it with you here at Remodelaholic! If you want to see more of my projects, here are a few you might be interested in:
Thanks so much for spending some time with me today and I hope you enjoyed my mantle and fireplace makeover with farmhouse charm.
More inspiring fireplace makeovers:
how to build a faux mantel (and hide electronics cords!)