A Year Later

Surprise!  It’s a New Year’s miracle!  I’m writing a blog post!

It’s been a year now since I’ve been moved in to the main part of the house.  There have been lots of little ongoing projects, but since we’re not knocking down walls anymore, it’s seemed like a pretty mellow year.  Here’s an update on what’s been going on – PLUS – a bonus DIY on the floating mantel shelf.

Toe kicks put in under the cabinets, still need to figure out what I want to do with crown moulding for the tops and finishing the undersides of the uppers.


Hung the sliding pantry door.  Still need to paint the damn 2x4s.


Shelves in the pantry.  Remember how ORANGE the inside of the pantry is?!  And yes, I did a lot of canning this year!


Crown moulding in the dining room.  And curtains.  Every downstairs window is finally curtained…a year later.  Thank goodness for country life and no real need for privacy.


Crown moulding and the pellet stove hearth and mantel in the sitting room*.  Baseboards and quarter round throughout the downstairs are also done.

*I’ve referred to this room as a lot of things (parlor, formal living room, fireplace room, study) but I’m currently trying to make “sitting room” catch on. 


I’ve also rearranged furniture about a dozen times.  I think both the living room and sitting room are arranged pretty nicely now.  Next things I’m thinking about for these rooms are adding a chaise/settee/loveseat in the sitting room, opposite the rocking chair, and building a new TV stand for the living room.

20150104_101408(Excuse the fly tape that is still hanging in the living room…)





Oh my goodness.  Before we get to the mantel DIY, I almost completely forgot about my bed project.  Remember my pretty bedspread and sheets?  They got an upgrade in a brand new, hand made, solid wood bed frame!  Here’s a link to how I did it and the original plans.



The swag light in the corner came from World Market.

Okay, on to the floating mantel shelf project.  I’m excited about this for a couple of reasons.  First, it was STUPID cheap.  This was a $40 project, folks.  Second, it adds a HUGE amount of charm to the pellet stove area.  Third, it’s attached to the wall.  This last one may sound ridiculous, but I’m serious.  I was shocked at how little information there was on the internet about building a floating mantel.  I did find one really nice blog post that I basically followed along with, but I kind of felt like I had stumped the internet.  So I’m going to put my method out there and maybe, hopefully, help someone else out.  Here’s a quote from that linked post.  Pretty much sums up exactly what I wanted.

Me: All I want is a chunky mantle that is classic and substantial, but not too simple-looking that fits well with the southern farmhouse feel of our home but isn’t distressed. And I need it to float in mid air and be sturdy enough to hold heavy stuff like Christmas stockings and giant candle sticks and not come crashing down on the kids.

Their method involved a 4×4 timber anchored to the wall with lag screws into the studs, then essentially wrapped with 1x lumber and dressed up with crown moulding.  So that’s basically what I did.  Except mine had to turn a corner, and had to accommodate the radiator pipe in the corner.  No big deal.  Also, I’m going to take this moment to say there are NOT very many inspirational pictures of pellet stoves placed in a corner with a mantel above them.  So, in case someone else is out there looking for a corner pellet stove mantel, I hope this is helpful.

First thing I did was cut my 4×4 to length and secure it to the wall with lag screws.  I used 1/4″x5″ screws and pre-drilled 1/4″ pilot holes through the 4×4.  Check for level!  I also did the corner differently than I would have liked to, to accommodate that pipe.  If I could have, I would have mitered the 4x4s in the corner.  Because I didn’t, and I was winging it, one side of my mantel is actually about an inch longer than the other.  I’m not telling which, though, because you really can’t tell.

Then I nailed a 1×4 trim board to the bottom of the 4x4s.  Again.  If I didn’t have the pipe, I would have mitered the corners.

Next, I wrapped the front with a 1×4.  Two things about this piece, though.  It is 3/4″ longer than the 4×4, and I line it up withe the bottom of the stacked 4×4 and 1×4, not the top.  I butted the ends in the corner, you could miter.

I wrapped the ends with a 3.5″ length of 1×4 – this is why the front protrudes 3/4″ on each end.

And put on the 1×8 top.  Two things to keep in mind when cutting the top board.  You’ll want the overhang on the ends to approximately match the overhang on the front.  So, for a 1×8, it will extend 3 inches beyond the stacked 4×4 and 1×4 on the front, and you should add 3 inches to the length of the corner to the end of the 4×4 to match the overhang.  Second, this corner is definitely best mitered.  I modified the left side of mine for the pipe by just cutting off the corner to where the pipe was.  Assembled, this leaves a small triangle in the back that is open, but totally invisible.

Finally, add crown moulding to the front and sides.  There are only 3 angles here, so don’t be too intimidated.  One inside corner, two outside corners, straight edges against the walls and you’re done.  You can do this.  Oh, and buy extra moulding, for peace of mind if nothing else.

This was my first solo go at crown moulding, and it wasn’t perfect, but wood filler can hide a lot.

After wood filler and sanding, everything looks good and smooth.  Two coats of paint, and it’s done.  I probably rushed this piece a bit because I was excited about it.  I probably could have sanded it better at all, and a third coat of paint wouldn’t have hurt…but it won’t really be touched by anyone, so I’m not too worried about the finish.  I’m planning to add a corbel on each end eventually, but have to find some that I like.


I do wish I had gotten to this before Christmas to hang stockings…but I’m still excited about all the decorating opportunities this is going to give me.  I also wish I could have built the trim up a little bit more, but when your mantel is nearly 10′ long, trim gets expensive quick.  I’m thinking about putting some wall decals up in that corner to further define the space.  I had thought about something like this.



Well, that’s where we are to start 2015!


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Filed under Finished Room Feature, How-To, Photos

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