Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Mantel redo

One day I will have a mantel that does not require nearly as much fuss as the one we currently have.  I will put a mirror or a picture over it, a couple knicknacks on it, and be done.  Until then we have this monstrous corner fireplace with a huge cave over it meant to house a TV from the olden days.  Ugh, the cave.
Here's how it looked right after Thanksgiving.  Like Pier 1 threw up in it.  Pffftt!
When I found out we'd been extended here, I said to Tim, "I can't look at that cave for the next two years.  We have to do something."  (I really meant you have to do something.  And I only have a limited time to put him to work around here before he leaves again.)  As I mentioned before, if we owned the house we'd just close it up and drywall over it.  I wanted to ask the landlords if they would mind us doing that, but Tim didn't feel comfortable with us asking them.  At one point Tim dragged down a big ugly old mirror that used to hang over his dresser from his bachelor days.  It wouldn't be so bad once we  he cleaned it up and painted the frame.  But it wasn't even tall enough to completely cover the cave.  Delaney could stand up in that thing!

By then I had already been to the ends of the Internet looking for ideas.  Right now it's a trend to use things from outside, like old barn doors, gates, windows or shutters in the home.  I've seen old doors made into coffee tables and things like that.  It's even better if you can say it came from a building or other structure, and it has history and adds character to your house.  We'd both seen old pallets sanded, stained or painted, and placed over mantels.  Tim could grab a pallet from the flight line.  But would it be big enough to hide the cave?  (I keep switching tenses and I don't know how to stop.  Sorry.)  Below is one of many examples of pallet mantel decor.  People use these things even when they don't have a cave to cover up!

I'd seen plantation shutters in mantel decor too.  I told Tim I wanted plantation shutters, and thought about ordering them custom-made from a company I found online.  Maybe it would look a little like this:
Tim wasn't a huge fan of that idea, but he knew he needed to do something, so he went to Lowe's to look around.  I was hoping for shutters.  He came back with something I did not expect: picket fence posts.  He lined them up in a row and asked me what I thought.  I was like, "Hmm, interesting.. It could work."  We both liked how the one piece, when it was done, was still kind of weathered-looking even though it had been stained.  Then he cut one to fit and stained it.  I liked it!  So he spent one day during the Thanksgiving holiday cutting, sanding, and staining the rest of them, putting them together, and securing them to the entrance of the cave.    

When he was done, I didn't know exactly what to think at first.  Yes, the wood looks beautiful and blends well with everything else around it.  But now there's a fence on our mantel!  I like the idea of bringing the outdoors in to a certain extent, but making the outdoors a permanent fixture is a bold step.  It sets the tone for the entire room.  It commits us to a certain kind of theme, which is rustic and old looking (or something).  On one hand I love it and on the other hand, there's a fence on our mantel!  I guess I'd probably be saying the same thing about the pallet or the shutters.  I'm happy with it.  It's the next best thing to having a wall there instead.
Once the stockings are hung, we're all set for Christmas.
I've got to hand it to Tim for coming up with a creative and cheap solution to what is really a temporary issue for us.  I chuckle at the thought of the owners, or potential new renters or buyers coming in the front door and saying, "What's that doing there?"  But it has its charm and I will embrace it for the two remaining years we have here.

What do you think?  How did we do?

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