Easy DIY Floating Fireplace Mantle

I could not believe how easy it all came together. The change to the feeling of the entire room was instant!

Y’all! Finally! I am so excited to tell you that at long last we have a fireplace mantle. With the holidays on the horizon I just could not stand living without one another second. How could I decorate if I couldn’t even hang my stockings? Priorities, people!

For months the process has seemed daunting, but in reality it was so easy that I am actually mad at myself for going so long without tackling it. If a floating mantle is on your to do list, jump on it! Within just a few hours you can totally transform your fireplace. The total cost for our project came in under $50! We are in love with it. What do you think?

Getting Started

The issue that had scared me away for so long was how to attach a mantle to the brick masonry. It turns out we were lucky enough to be able to reuse the two old anchors that someone else had previously drilled into the brick. (I have to wonder what the old fireplace mantle looked like and why someone would ever remove it?) If you’re hanging on drywall or wood, your project will be easier, too!

Once you’ve settled on how you will attach your mantle (Google this if you need help!) you will also need the following:

– Three 1×8 boards
– 2 end cap pieces (leftovers from cutting your 1x8s)
– 1 2×4 support board
– bolts/screws to attach to wall
– Liquid nails
– a nail gun and nails
– clamps
– sand paper
– tools to distress your wood
– stain

It turned out that with my dad’s help, we only needed to purchase new sandpaper, the 1x8s, the 2×4, and the bolts that screwed into the brick anchors. Easy!

With the help of my handy (and often mentioned) painter’s tape, I was able to determine map out what I wanted the mantle to look like and I determined I wanted it to be 8 inches thick and 55 inches long. We cut the 2×4 support piece just shy of the 55 inches and attached it to the wall with 1/4 inch bolts, being sure it was level along the way. At this point we pulled, wiggled, and did all we could to be sure this support piece was sturdy and secure enough to hold the future mantle and decor. I can’t lie, I was so nervous the whole thing would come crashing down but no such horror happened even when my husband was basically hanging from the board.

Once the support board was in place it was time for the fun to begin! My husband had already cut the 3 1×8 boards to 55 inches and trimmed the end cap pieces to fit to form what is basically a box. Once I had sanded down the rough cut edges I was able to to start distressing the boards. Using nails, a flat head screwdriver, and a hammer, I dented, chipped, scratched and banged away at the boards so that they no longer looked new. I also used two different colors of stain to create a more custom look. (I always wear gloves and use a rag when staining. I feel like this gives me more control of the saturation than a brush would.)

We left the boards to dry overnight and started again the next day when my dad arrived with the air compressor and nail gun. This project could be accomplished without the nail gun, but let’s be honest, it made it a whole lot easier. At this point all we had to do was clamp the boards together to form the mantle, being sure that the front of the mantle showed no edges so that once hung, it would look like one solid piece of wood. We used liquid nails for extra security and nailed the “box” together. We took extra care to be sure that when nailing the boards together that all the edges lined up as smoothly as possible.

Once the mantle was fully assembled, I hammered down all the sharp edges of the 1x8s to give it a more rounded appearance and add more distressing, especially on the corners. Then it was time to install! We centered the mantle over the fireplace on top of the support board we had already installed, made sure it was level, and then nailed all along the back of the mantle to attach it to the 2×4. Voila! It was done. I could not believe how easy it all came together. The change to the feeling of the entire room was instant!

The fireplace is so much more impressive with the mantle right? All along it was just lacking in character and getting lost in the room. Now it feels like the star of the show, finally standing out from the built-in shelving, wood beams, and sliding doors.

Also recently I have gotten a lot of new questions about the painted brick on the fireplace. The whitewashed effect was created by using water to thin out leftover white paint from our bathroom and lightly brushing it on, being sure not to saturate any one area. Once I had one coat finished, I stepped back and decided to go over it all again. The whole process did not take long at all, but I didn’t take photographs or videos at the time. Trust me, it is so easy to do! Don’t be scared. I didn’t buy or use anything special, just what I had on hand. I literally did it the first day I had the keys to this house, just jumping right in to get it done. The impact is dramatic as you can see in this photo below…

Can you believe how far we’ve come? Now that we’ve knocked this big item off our to do list, I think I can settle in and enjoy the holidays without thinking of too many other projects that need to get done. I will say though, tackling something I was scared to try has me more confident and curious as to what else we could accomplish!

Don’t forget, you can always check my saved stories on Instagram to see videos of this project if you’re more of a visual learner. Easy. Peezey. Go for it, friend!


Fresh Cut Hydrangeas

A tip on how to help your cut hydrangeas bounce back

Boy! It feels great to be back home in our routine after a wonderful (but exhausting) vacation in Wisconsin. I’m a creature of habit and being out of my own home for so long really takes a toll on me mentally and physically. We also had some unexpected travel drama so needless to say I slept nearly 12 hours our first night home and have been taking extra care to have quiet time this last week.

To help us get back into the swing of things we stopped by Trader Joe’s and Costco on the way back from the airport. Of course we stocked up with delicious, healthy food, but what I’m most excited about are the fresh flowers I picked out at Trader Joe’s.

After the long car ride home my beautiful flowers weren’t looking so great and I set out to find out how to help them bounce back. I knew some folks were able to keep hydrangeas looking gorgeous for long periods of time, but what magic did they have up their sleeve?

The best advice (and easiest!) I came across said to submerge the blooms in water for up to 45 minutes. That felt too long for me so I trimmed the stems under water at an angle and went for 15 minutes of soak time. Let me tell you, it worked! Those blooms bounced right back and here we are an entire week later and they’re more beautiful than they were to start with!

Aren’t they gorgeous? They’re exactly the breath of fresh air our family room needed. I’m curious to see how long they’ll last. I’ve never had flowers look BETTER after a week than when I got them. Do you have any green thumb tips to share for keeping cut flowers fresh?

Transformation Tuesday

It’s been a busy week around The Pinewood Cottage playing catch up after a wonderful “staycation” for the 4th of July. I’m just not sure how I feel about middle of the week holidays but I think I’m not a fan.

Yesterday I got to work putting some of the final touches on the guest bathroom and I can’t believe how far it’s come! I will post a full tutorial on how we did the counter (and plank wall!) in a few weeks. For now, let’s just focus on the new shining star… the wood mirror frame!

Once the walls were painted (SW Pale Bloom on the planks and SW Eider White on all others) I knew the old white mirror frame wasn’t going to cut it. The problem were that it was the perfect size, we had two in the house already, and I’m cheap! I wish I had a true before photo showing the mint green walls but let’s take a moment to appreciate how far this tiny room has come.

As you can see above, the white on white mirror left a lot to be desired. I needed to add some life back into the room and tie the vanity area into the wood shelving on the opposite wall. That’s when my thrifty-by-nature creative side came up with a plan.

First, I sent my husband off to Lowe’s to pick up 1×4 planks. We’d measured and his math skills (much better than mine!) determined we’d need 3 planks to cover 2 mirrors. They came in around $7 a piece so this entire project was completed for around $21. That’s a winner in my book.

Next I measured twice and broke out the trusty old saw to start my cuts. Pre staining I laid the wood out to be sure I liked where the design was going. For more of a rustic look we didn’t worry about corners, just two longer pieces across the top and two shorter sides fit in. Building actual frames is not my speciality, but this method is easy and anyone can do it.

Now for my favorite part, staining! I find staining so much easier and more rewarding than painting. I gave a full run down of this process and saved it on Instagram but here are my helpful tips for staining:

– use 2 or more stain colors

-wear gloves

-use a cloth instead of a brush

-blend your stain colors

The stains I used were Classic Gray, Early American, and Jacobean.

As you can see, using multiple stains helps give the brand new pine boards interest and age they wouldn’t have otherwise. I was nervous about attaching the boards to the existing frame, but it went so smoothly. I just used predrilled holes through the existing frame with screws in each end of the boards. The screws come in through the back and I love the clean look. Now I have a brand new look for less.

Would you consider repurposing something you already own like this? It doesn’t always workout but when it does it’s such a great feeling! Every time I walk by the bathroom I’m so pleased with how it’s turning out. One more big project to go: stenciled tile floors. Stay tuned!

Friends, family, & my most FAQ

Thanks for joining me! If you asked my friends they’d say I’m about two years too late in making this leap into blogging (Hi, Brooke! Hi, Whitney!). While it’s been something I’ve always wanted to do, I’ve never had the confidence to push publish until now. I have each of you to thank for that! Every comment, like, and message with questions or suggestions as I’ve been making our new house a home has made me certain this is the right path for my life right now. With my Instagram slowly (very, very slowly) growing it just seems right to start a blog to track all of our fun projects and adventures.

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

The best part of this journey so far has been hearing how my ideas have inspired friends in their homes. While I’ve gotten a lot of feedback on different projects that I’ve done (which I’ll be sharing on the blog later!), the most frequently asked question is “Where did you get your rug!”

I love being able to share that this beautiful rug is from Amazon! At an already affordable price, Prime offers free shipping right to your doorstep. Who could complain about that? It’s made settling in to a house with a hard floor so much easier on the little babe and our dog. The polypropylene is easy to clean and the thickness is just soft enough for on the floor play. I did pair the family room rug with a thick rug pad because I knew we’d spend more time playing in there.

I actually did a “crazy” thing because I loved this rug so much. I ordered several different sizes and have it all throughout our house. I honestly couldn’t find another rug (that I could afford) that spoke to me the way this one did. Even with the distressed print and beautiful blue and gray colors, it becomes almost a neutral backdrop for the other furniture and decor. I also know tons of friends have the same print in a different color. It’s a very friendly rug for all different styles.

Have you ever ordered a rug on Amazon? While I love supporting small businesses, it definitely makes small town mom life much easier. Let me know if you’ve ordered this one. I’d love to see it in your home!