I know it’s spring, but now is the time to think ahead to next fall and the warmth of a fireplace! Take advantage of a rainy weekend and build a mantel! As a child, I remember the prep involved with a wood burning fire. My dad fanning the flames (literally) and my mom used those pinecone firestarter things to give the smolder a little more kick.
And for 32 minutes we enjoyed a wood burning fire. Not a big surprise our family was one of the first on the block to convert to a gas fireplace.
One of the reasons we bought our brownstone in the suburbs house was it came with a finished basement. And, it had a dual sided fireplace. Score! Dual-sided fireplaces are like a two-for-one. We get the benefit of one fireplace straddled between two rooms. This stained wood mantel project smoldered in my mind for years.
WOOD MANTEL BEFORE
This is a rough image of the fireplace. The white mantel and tile front were too fancy for the basement vibe we wanted to achieve. Not to mention this screamed 2002 builder grade fireplace. But, the bones were good! It just needed an update. We finished this stacked stone fireplace update last year.
With the resurfaced stacked stone front, my attention went to the fireplace mantel. This drives my husband crazy because I am always one idea ahead of him.
The white mantel was too fancy for the space. I wanted a wood mantel but not too rustic. Living in Colorado we have to tone down the log cabin and bear images that come to mind of those, not from Colorado. #wink
This year has been a year filled with smallish house updates. And, it was time to turn our attention to the dual sided fireplace. The only problem with a dual fireplace is it’s best when both sides match. So when we updated one side we made a duplicate fireplace mantel on the opposite side. We did the same process when we replaced the tiles with stacked stone.
The coolest part of this mantel was the trip to a specialty lumber store.*** My husband loves this kind of thing so he took the lead to find the knotty alder wood.
Knotty Alder Wood Mantel Details
Knotty Alder Wood 1×8′
We built the mantel like a 3 sided box with the back open to make it easy to attach above the fireplace. We used 1x8x3 for the three sides of the box.
We used the furring strips to create smaller wood blocks to nail the pieces together (from the open-ended back side). Short finishing nails were used so the nails would not pop through the front.
Use a 2×4 (shorter by 5″ on each side of the mantel’s length and then screw into the studs. The finished mantel attaches to the 2×4 (because the opposite side of the mantel’s face is open).
Finish with making pilot holes on the top of the mantel and then screw into the 2×4.
We finished with Jacobean stain (my fav)