We're debating what our fireplace mantel should look like, and we'd love to hear your thoughts.
Since we bought the house and started working on the living room project last October, we knew we'd be making some pretty significant changes to the fireplace mantel. The mantel that was there when we purchased the house seemed fine at first glance, but when we really started looking at it we realized it was a slightly odd looking and somewhat out of place mantel that was put in around 1992.
It didn't mesh with the rest of the house, seemed to be somewhat shoddily built, and actually fell right off of the wall when I applied a little pressure with the pry bar. When I saw the back of it, I could tell it wasn't really meant for our house, and in a way, I was freeing it to go run and play with its friends in a field somewhere.
Now that we've made our choice to build a custom mantel rather than trying to find a salvaged mantel for the space, and we've made the choice to do our own version of shiplap above the mantel, we need to actually figure out how the new custom mantel should really look.
We've been researching and pinning different styles of mantels in homes of a similar age to ours (~1908), and we've amassed quite the collection of examples. Many are far too ornate, too decorative, too standard, etc, but a handful feel like they might be the right ones. Take a look at some of these selections and we'd love to hear what you think will or won't work well in our home.
Photo Credit: This Old House
This first mantel has a similar feel to our firebox with the brick surround and the panelling above, but the age of the home (an 1850 farmhouse) certainly puts the mantel in a much older category. I definitely like the relative simplicity of the design, and there may be elements we can borrow, but it does feel like it won't really fit in our room.
Photo Credit: HGTV
This mantel may not look at all like our home, and we'll almost certainly be painting ours white to match the trim, but there are millwork details about this option that I really like. The paneled sides, the change in depth, and the thickness of the mantel really seem like it would work well with the room.
Photo Credit: Old House Dreams
This Mantel from a 1906 Foursquare is a more traditional mantel you may have seen in a home similar to our home's age and style, especially that our home has several more traditional Victorian elements, like it's cause between two design periods. However, the Intricacies of the supports and styles are likely just too much for our home.
Photo Credit: Farmhouse5540
This mantel shows a very simplified look of a farmhouse mantel. More delicate details, breadboard wall, small panels, and detailed millwork on the sides. This may be closest to what would have been in the house, and there may be elements of it we can use, but the mass of the shiplap wall and large room would likely overwhelm something small like this. I like it a lot, but probably not for our room.
Photo Credit: Arts & Crafts Home
Okay, so I really love many details of this fireplace. The use of the paneled sides, the mild use of moulding (like base cap) as detail accents, and the large plain facia piece. With modifications I think a lot of this would work really well in our room, such as larger wrap around side columns rather than smaller ones like the photo. This is a real contender in my book. Wendy feels it's too fussy and formal for the look we're going for in the room, especially under the simple ship lap.
Photo Credit: Old House Dreams
Now this mantel may be extremely close to what we're looking for. It's in a 1910 Portland Bungalow and really has a lot of similarities to our home. The panels above, the overall simplicity, and the general look is what Wendy has been envisioning. I feel like may be a little too plain and simple for our room, and I wouldn't mind adding a little panel detail to the two columns, but it definitely is more or less the size and scale we're interested in.
So, what do you think about all of the ideas we're proposing. Any favorites, additions, ideas? We'd love to hear your thoughts as we're stuck in a bit of a stalemate.