After taking the plunge and painting our brick fireplace back in October we were finally ready to tackle building and installing a mantle. I perused the interweb taking note of other off center fireplaces and how the mantle looked being different lengths, materials, height, etc to settle on our rustic wood design. I also found this helpful building plan that we followed roughly to get us along.
We taped off a section 5 feet wide and about 2 feet from the top of the 'hole' to get an idea of placement. We decided to not run our mantle the entire (almost 8 feet!) width because we didn't want something that would cut off the fireplace from flowing with the ceiling and in hopes of creating a bit of balance to the off centered 'hole'.
Then we purchased three 1x8 boards that were all 6 feet long. We would eventually trim them all to 5 feet and use two of those trim pieces for the ends of our hollow mantle. But first I needed to rough them up a bit. Frist I sanded all four edges down with 100 grit sandpaper to make the edges more round and less "new".
Then I used a bunch of the same techniques found in this video by Young House Love on how to make new wood look old. I also added in some techniques like hammering in the tip of a paint can opener.
Here are the stained results of some of those techniques. The curved shaped in the center is from banging a hammer, the dashes towards the right are from hammering the edge of a screw, the wisp line going off the top on the left is from dragging a paint can opener and all the little dings that are scattered are from banging a bag of screws.
After all the boards were distressed, stained and assembled (you can get more how to directions from here) we finally were ready to get them up. Oh, and I forgot to mention that none of this would have even happened if B's dad hadn't come down to help. I did the distressing and staining but they assembled and hung (and rehung, haha). They put in two metal brakets that both had a 2x4 screwed to the top.
After a little reconfiguring to make sure we had everything level the guys had the mantle up after only two tries! And it was super sturdy! And it was level! Then of course came to accessorizing!
Since it is the holidays and hanging all my holiday decorations was the main reason why I fought for the mantle to get done so quickly I didn't slow down fast enough to snap a pic before the holiday deco got up. I took the avocado mirror that was originally in our entryway frame gallery to add some depth and color and kept the winter accessories that I had on the hearth. I also added a cute little banner that I made with leftover scrapbook paper and white paint and twine; it says "Happy Holidays".
And just because I love love love the finished distress and stain here is another shot with it paired next to the avocado mirror and crisp white brick.
And then finally to keep things real here is a shot of the whole shebang to try and give you perspective. And sorry for the varying light tones in this shot but it's not the easiest to capture. I love that the mantle gives some cozy warmth to that end of the room and balances nicely with the built in bookcase. We still have tons of plans for this space so know we are in the middle confusing space in time. Oh and forgive the rando barstool that snuck it's way in - I was probably using it as a tripod since I still need one.
Oh and yes that dark blob on the rug, that's ed.