Wood Grain and Pretty Stain–Making a Chunky, Stained Fireplace Mantle 

Look it’s another fireplace post! How exciting! I can’t help myself…all this fall decor and fall weather is making me daydream about fireplaces….among a slew of other things.
Earlier this week, we discussed my sister’s new faux fireplace, but today I want to talk about my own. One reason I love my house is this huge fireplace in the living room. I don’t love every detail about it, but I love that it is huge and eye catching. I also love that it is right in plain view as you walk in the front door. First, as you walk in, you will notice my laundry doors, but then the fireplace will command your attention.

I think it’s so eye catching because the house is so light and the fireplace is so dark, so you can’t help but notice it. I both love that and hate that about it. The wood above the mantle is rough lumber painted white. I’m not sure how I feel about that, but I don’t hate it enough to change it at this point. However, the white painted mantle has been getting on my nerves. You can see the wood grain under the paint protruding out and it irks me that it’s covered in paint. Apparently prior to selling the house, the previous owners paid some big bucks to have a lot of the dark wood in the room (including the paneling) painted. It makes me sad….well painting the beams and mantle and above the fireplace, not painting the paneling…to that I say “good riddance!” I hate paneling.

Nevertheless, I was getting a stained wood mantle. But, as usual, Danny put restrictions on this fireplace. He said I could not demo anything, including the existing mantle. As for lightening the color, I could not paint, or whitewash the brick. For whatever reason he likes the dark 80s red brick and it has to stay.

So my only option was to cover the existing mantle with new wood because stripping the paint wouldn’t even be worth the trouble.
I removed everything from the mantle and cut a 1×10 board to fit on the top of the existing mantle. I had to cut knotches out on the corners. Yes these are crooked. They had to be in order to fit.

Then I nailed on some 1×6 boards for the sides.

And another 1×6 on the front.

I made it so that it would slide onto the existing mantle just in case I didn’t like it, I could take it right off. Right…like I would decide I didn’t like it…funny.

After some stain, I put everything back in place and I really like it 🙂

It blends in with the dark brick a little more, but I’d still rather have that than painted rough lumber. Now you see all the pretty wood and it looks more rustic. It’s not perfect, but with my restrictions and a few bucks, I’m okay with it 🙂


fireplace 2

Any thought? Opinions? Ideas? I’d love your feedback!

I have plenty more projects on my to do list so stay tuned! Also, I’m looking for a new blog name if you creative people out there could help me out!

Happy building!

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10 Comment

  1. Cecilia Bramhall
    September 10, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    I can’t wait to see what you do to cover the vents. I like your mantel cover – it turned out nice! I too have an 80’s fireplace my husband won’t let me whitewash. I’m stuck with the look of orangey brick. Trying to come up with an idea to cover some of it up so curious to see what you do.

    1. Shara, Chasing A Dream
      September 10, 2015 at 7:49 pm

      Thank you! I can’t wait to see what I do either haha! I am tired of the dark grout and brick. I have been thinking for a while and can’t seem to come up with anything. I haven’t given up though! Maybe between the two of us, we can come up with a solution to update our 80s brick without painting 🙂

  2. thistlewoodfarm
    September 10, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    Hey neighbor!!!!

    Love your blog and your creativity! The mantel looks so custom and the fireplace looks so pretty!

    Happy day!

    1. Shara, Chasing A Dream
      September 10, 2015 at 8:02 pm

      Thank you! It was a simple project, but I just needed to see that wood grain and not paint! Haha. Thanks for checking it out!

  3. chris aka monkey
    September 10, 2015 at 9:35 pm

    i dunno but could you build something like the white piece and stain it like the mantle or maybe a lighter stain? xx

    1. Shara, Chasing A Dream
      September 11, 2015 at 9:38 am

      That’s an idea. I’m afraid it would blend in if I stained it, but I may could whitewash the wood or something. I will think on that for a while. Thank you!

  4. Norita
    September 11, 2015 at 8:40 am

    S: Have you thought about some type of ‘support ‘ for the mantle that the base would cover the vents and appear to be holding the mantle in place? Maybe a little routing on the sides to give some definition but still be straight lines. The brackets might even look more like iron or metal than wood?

    1. Shara, Chasing A Dream
      September 11, 2015 at 9:37 am

      You may be on to something. As soon as you said that I thought about really big corbels. That may be overkill to have corbels that tall, but it’s got me thinking. Thank you!

  5. Lorraine Aha
    February 11, 2016 at 4:17 am

    I had a full wall of orange-red 1970’s brick around my fireplace so I mixed up some of the paints I used on the walls with glaze and sponged them on randomly and SPARINGLY. Since my bricks were all one color, I used 3 colors of paint. The result is a wall of antique-looking brick that blends so much better with the room. The look is softer, not harsh. Since your bricks are already multi-colored, I think you could sponge on some of the gray paint from your walls, maybe mixing in some white to add more shades of gray (but not 50!). The result should be softer looking, not as severe a contrast with your walls as the current brick, and the mantle will be the real star. You can practice on some spare bricks to see if the effect works (and if your husband approves). I think the white piece you made to cover the vents is a bit stark and flat. You could add some trim to add shadows and relief (from the flat whiteness). However, if you lighten the brick it might look just fine.

  6. […] few other changes have taken place in here like the fireplace mantle, wood shelves, and new coffee table plus we totally changed the whole layout but, now it looks […]

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