Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Mantel Mission

My mission, should I choose to accept it, is to design our fireplace mantel.

My father-in-law is heading up from South Carolina to help us with our main level bath this weekend. Time allowing, he will also take a crack at building the mantel. 

Sooo...I haven't exaaactly designed a fireplace in the past. Ever. But, I know what I like, so that is always a good place to start. I know I want something simple, and white, but with a bit of flair...of the Chinoiserie variety. Now before you go thinking that I'm going to emblazon a dragon across my hearth, do keep in mind that I understand the term "resale". So, I'll try to keep the flair subdued since this IS a permanent structure that we are adding to the living room.

Here is the current state of our fireplace and living room:


So far, we've tackled paint, molding and furniture. Our poor little mantel doesn't give me a ton to work with, but it does have a white brick surround, which Carter and I both love. And we plan to paint the brick portion that extends onto the floor white as well - that will look dynamite against our dark-ish hardwood floors.

I don't know the correct terms for parts of a fireplace/mantel. I want the "top part" to use the same crown molding that we use in the living room to offer some continuity to the space.

Below the crown (I believe the area is called the "frieze)" comes the flair. I will once again thank John Loecke whose dining room profiled in Cottage Living* has been a little treasure-trove of information. He used a trim on his chair rail that was just lovely - and the mag divulged that I could own that decorative trim through a company called Decorators Supply.

After some deliberation, I have chosen this trim below to go across the front of the mantel. It is six inches tall, and thus will provide the chutzpah that I seek. Painted white, it will blend nicely with the rest of the mantel whilst keeping it interesting.

image via

The rest of the fireplace shall stay simple. Simple white legs that will surround the white brick hearth. I might do a little more research to see if I can find a nice clean shape to show my father-in-law.

I have scoured the interweb looking for fireplace pictures. Perhaps these pretty examples will inspire your own mantel mission:

image from Mrs. Howard (the store)

This mantel is the closest I have found to what I want, and it is of course a Howard creation. This one is WAY more ornate that what we'll do, but it does show what I'm planning with the decorative trim - although ours will just be horizontal, and not down the legs. But you get the idea...

image: IPC Images via

image: Paul Whicheloe via

I heart the room above on so many levels. I think I first saw it in Cottage Living. Oh dear, it's amazing. And I do enjoy the fireplace.

image from Better Homes and Gardens

This image above shows my eventual vision of having low bookcases built on either side of the fireplace.

image via 

image from Dear Daisy Cottage via

*Special AO Note - Please forgive me that I have not shared the pictures of John Loecke's dining room that I keep taunting you with...but I'm saving them! There will be a whole post just on that room.  I'll bump it up for next week so that I don't keep you dears in suspense. It will be worth the wait...unless of course you know the room of which I speak, in which case, you are envisioning it already...

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