Living Room Love: Progress on the New Mantel

A while back I had mentioned a little side project that I was really excited about – I had plans to build a new mantel!

Our living room has original 1930s architectural features such as an arched ceiling and doorway, but the painted brick fireplace is out of place (it might even hide the original fireplace?). We have plans to give it a full makeover at some point, but for today a new wooden mantel will hopefully do the trick in updating it a bit (see more before photos here).

When I shared my idea of boxing in the top of the brick with my carpenter friend (thanks, Dave!) he thought that the idea would work well and gave me tips on how to build the box. I then took my measurements and headed down to Dixieline, a local home improvement/lumber yard.

I worked out my plans with the head mill man and began brainstorming ideas on what types of glue, vices, clamps, etc. I would need when it dawned on me that I ought to ask for a quote. Maybe the milling department (with their plethora of tools) would be able to build my mantel for a reasonable price.

The quote? $60. That included cutting all angles (and to build a box with no seams, there are a ton) and mitering of all of the edges. I would stain the mantel myself but I was 100% okay with that. Done and done.

We chose douglas fir for its durability and look (douglas fir was used in many of the homes built before 1950) so that the new mantel might even perhaps look original when all is said and done (aka bricks are covered).

Dixieline wanted a full week to finish the project… and I waited with excited anticipation.

But then this happened.


Somewhere along the lines communication messages were crossed and while we had agreed that submitted measurements would be for the inside of the mantel box, they were instead made to fit the outside dimensions. Aka the box was about an inch to short.

I explained the mistake to Dixieline and they happily agreed to build another. It would just take a bit more time. Sooooo I’ll hopefully be back with a happy ending to this story sometime soon!

More living room posts: updating a fireplace mantel part 1, bookshelf styling tips, decorating in layers: stage 1, inspiration boards, picking the perfect couch, custom lampshade, coffee table-to-ottoman, and the ‘before’ photos.

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