Wednesday, June 15, 2016

How to Install an Antique Mantel

At our old house we had a mantel that was disproportionally too large and off center for the space and it was impossible to style properly. When we bought our old farmhouse last fall, it had no fireplace or mantel and I was (not so secretly) happy about that. The idea of not having to deal with a gigantic mantel seemed pretty awesome. And it was, but then I got to thinking that I actually kind of missed having one and it would be perfect in our dining room (the living room is just too small).

I honestly thought that I would find one that I loved at Brimfield, and we saw a few, but nothing that grabbed me. A couple of weeks later, I found this one, in my price range on a local swap site.

It is so incredibly heavy. And we knew we wanted to make sure it both looked original to the home and that it would be secured to the wall (I'm looking at you, Figgy!).

So, we started with a blank slate wall and our mantel. We put the mantel face down and added in a piece of beadboard to fit the opening and secured with paneling nails. We then cut strips of the beadboard and attached it to the top and sides of the mantel so that when we attached it to the wall it would lay flat and have no gaps. Now, I know you are thinking, "why didn't you just cut one piece and attach it to the entire back?". That would have made more sense, however, we couldn't get a piece of the beadboard large enough because I insist on making every project more difficult that it needs to be and wanted it to run vertically.

Next up, we (and when I say we I mean contribution was moral support and painting), measured the spot for the mantel; centering it on the wall. We then used a flush cut tool to cut away the molding so the mantel fit flush to the wall.  We set the mantel in place and attached it with screws that are used to install kitchen cabinets. The screws were put right up under the mantel part and painted over so they are not noticeable at all now.

Removing the molding left a gap of unfinished floor. We remedied that by using a scrap piece of molding that we had just removed to fill in the gap.

The last step was to paint. I had initially intended to go with white (our trim color), but I have painted the interior doors a deep gray/navy (Glidden's Gray Metal) and wanted to bring some of that depth into this room. Additionally, I really wanted the mantel to be a statement piece and feel that the darker color achieved that.

There's a lot more I want to do to this space, but am feeling so fantastic about the direction it's headed!

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