Tuesday, October 23, 2012

OMG OMG when is Christmas here??!

I wish it was the day after Thanksgiving right now. Why, you may be asking? Because I have a REAL mantel to hang stockings from! Dudes. Eight or so months after installing our propane fireplace in the addition of the living room, we finally have a mantel!

Check check check it out.

Building this was a lot of work and a bit of a brain teaser, but Branden and our bff-slash-handy-helper Josh were able to form a thinktank and construct the surround and mantel. I admit I wasn't sure how it would all come together, but it looks ahhhh-mazing.

We started with a 1x6 board of solid red oak, supported and secured to the wall (don't ask me how because around this time I was most likely just dancing around the room singing Christmas carols). Then we used leftover crown molding from our kitchen renovation to trim it out. This crown is beautiful--it's the same solid maple crown that runs above our kitchen cabinets and the installers had an extra huge piece that they left us, so it was great to put it to good use.

Oh, and see those gorgeous tiles for the hearth there? We special-ordered the large marble tiles (fancy!) and then found these nice stone and glass mosiac strips to trim it out. Branden did an A+ gold star job on laying these tiles a couple of weeks ago. Such a wonderful man, he is.

After the mantel itself was secured (again, I was la-la-la'ing in the background), we started building down the sides of the surround, adding 1x3 boards and rosettes at the corners.

Then we added fluted pieces on the sides, some more trim around the top, and the plinths (new word we learned... translation: the big blocky things at the bottom).

It was definitely starting to come together, but still looked a little disjointed because of the different woods. We knew from the beginning that we were painting everything white, to match all of the trim throughout the house, so I had to have faith that it would look seamless once it was painted.

And lookee there! A few coats of primer and white paint later, and it looks like one beautiful, glorious piece.

I can practically smell the chestnuts roasting. (Okay not really since this is a gas fireplace but whatevs, you know what I mean.)

I am so freaking psyched about having a real mantel to decorate for Christmas. I've talked about my issues with not having a real mantel before, and how upsetting it is. Those years of faking it are gone! (Is it December yet??)

Part of the reason why we finally had to jump on this mantel project now is because we are also finally having carpet installed in the living room! BIG THINGS ARE HAPPENING! This means that we actually won't have the plywood we've been living with for the last 9 months in the living room addition. Pinch me!

In preparation for the installation, last night we had to empty out the entire living room (which meant shoving everything from that room into every other room in the house, but if it's temporary I can so deal with that). We also had to rip off the carpet in the living room, plus the stairs and upstairs landing, since we're recarpeting those as well.

So after some grunt work, we got the room cleared out and everything hauled off for trash pickup. (You know what's not so easy? Two people moving a piano.) It would've cost an additional $350 just to have the installers remove the existing carpet and haul it. For a few hours work, it was totally worth saving the cash on that.

Here's the upstairs landing, stripped of its decades-old green carpeting (god I won't miss that AT ALL):

And the staircase, with the carpet ripped up:

There was clearly a runner on these stairs for a very long time! I later put a few coats of white paint on the running boards that go up the wall on either side. It helped brighten up the stairwell quite a bit. I didn't get a good photo because I was delirious from exhaustion and huffing paint fumes for too long, so you'll just have to wait. Deal with it.

And finally here's the living room, all emptied out and ready for carpet:


Can't wait to show you what it looks like when it's installed!! Woop woop!


  1. Can't wait to see the new carpeting. BTW, the mantel looks ah-mazing! Does this mean YOU'RE REALLY DONE???

  2. YES!!! It's so shocking. We'll always have little stuff to take care of, but no more big horrible unfinished messes to deal with! Woohoo!


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