Gas Fireplace Part II
When we moved into our home my list of things I wanted to do around our house and yard was very long and a little overwhelming. After we completed the barn wood behind the TV we moved on to different projects like painting. I wasn’t sure how to finish the fireplace and I felt like it could wait while I worked on other projects.
I had a lot of walls to paint so that took a lot of time. I wanted to get walls painted in the bedrooms before I set up the beds and furniture. Too say the least what I thought I could get done in a couple weeks took well over a month and several trips to Home Depot. Have you ever noticed that painting always takes more time and more paint then you estimate?
The fireplace looked like this for several months because I was not completely sure how I wanted to do to make it look more finished. I wanted it match the atmosphere of the home but also stand out a little like a statement piece.
I painted the lower portion a pretty grey, it is a couple shades darker then the walls but at night when its dark there really isn’t a lot of difference. We had purchased the rock during the construction portion of our house build so that was installed prior to moving in. The two shelves beside the actual fireplace were also included in the fireplace upgrade we paid for with the purchase of our house.
Monte and I had a lot of discussion about the fireplace and how we wanted to finish it. I wanted to do something special with the mantel. It was originally built out and drywalled. I thought of painting it a rich chestnut or black but knew it wasn’t quite what I was wanting. In the deep corners of my mind I knew what I really wanted but also knew there wasn’t a way to make it happen without some major demolition and expense.
I invisioned a beautiful old beam as our mantel. Since we had our home built we didn’t have the ability to make changes or work on the house before it was 100% completed. If we were the ones working as the head contractors we could have added a beautiful beam in the building process. The modern fireplace in the show home didn’t have a mantel so when I picked a traditional gas fireplace I didn’t know I was getting a mantel. It was a pleasant surprise during the house construction to see one.
Monte knew my hopes but also agreed that it really wasn’t a possibility unless we demolished most of what we had spent extra money on. While we worked on figuring out an acceptable plan B we decided to go to Home Depot to see what some options would be.
After roaming the wood aisles at Home Depot we were able to find some beautiful premium pine that was long enough to cover the entire shelf without having a seam. I was adamant that we didn’t have a seam on the front. After finding the pine we decided that covering the already built in mantel with wood would be the best option since adding a beam was going to be too expensive and required a lot of tearing down to make it happen. It was going to be very tricky but Monte was sure he could make it transpire. This is where Monte really works his magic. He understands what I want, we decide on the product we need to use then he somehow figures out how to make it materialize.
It wasn’t going to be easy but we were up for the challenge. We used 1 x 8 premium pine to wrap the mantel. The wood looked so pretty even though it wasn’t exactly what I truly wanted it would be a close 2nd, something I could be really happy with.
The unbelievable Monte actually built this mantel cover by himself. I was at work when he decided he wanted to start on it so he went to a neighbors to borrow their table saw. He cut 45 degree angles on the edges to make it fit together beautifully. He needed to cut the top and bottom of the face and fit it to the top and bottom of the mantel. He had to do the same thing on both sides plus fit all the pieces together. Not only did he need to cut the edges but he had to make adjustments on the top because it wasn’t a straight line. By the time I made it home from work he had everything cut and nailed together and was ready to get it installed.
It wasn’t that tricky of an install but it did require a couple sets of hands. It was a lot lighter then it would have been if we’d been able to install an actual solid wood beam but still a bit to manage because it was so long.
After it was installed I gave the wood a quick sanding just to smooth out the edges. The premium pine we purchased was a smooth wood so I just need to knock off any roughness that came from the cutting and building of the mantel. I then took the amazing Annie Sloan dark soft wax to finish it charmingly and accent the grain in the wood. I love the richness of the premium pine and softness created by the Annie Sloan soft wax.
I really wanted the gas fireplace to make a statement. After finishing up the mantel we determined to add some crown moulding around the top of the fireplace build out. I love ornate crown moulding in beautiful victorian houses but it wasn’t what I wanted through out our home. I knew what I wanted in the main living areas but I thought something a little more sculpted just around the fireplace would be a nice touch.
We also decided to frame out the TV space. It was initially Monte’s idea to frame out the TV area. I had a harder time understanding what he was trying to describe when he first mentioned framing the TV portion. Lucky for me he is extremely patient and was able to help me understand and catch his vision.
We ventured off to Home Depot to see what was available for the crown moulding and trim. At Home Depot there were a few options so I was able to find one I really liked. Crown moulding is quite pricey but we were not covering a lot of space so we figured it was worth the investment. We purchased the necessary feet of the crown moulding. Crown moulding is usually sold by the foot not a length of board, we were sure to measure so we could get what we needed without much waste. We also picked up the primed mdf trim we were using to frame the TV area.
When we brought the necessary wood home I gave everything a quick coat of paint, the same color that is on all my doors and trim and baseboard making everything cohesive. After everything was dry it was time to install the crown moulding. Hanging crown moulding can be very tricky getting it lined up properly and getting the angels right. Monte had to do a lot of cutting to get it all matching up and fitting perfectly. Because the moulding doesn’t lay flat against the wall it is hard to work with and getting each corner cut so they fit together properly can be a bit of a challenge. It is also a challenge trying to nail it to something secure in the walls and ceiling. It is a good idea to mark the studs so you know you’re nailing into something solid.
I spent a lot of time on a ladder holding the crown moulding while Monte worked on making it fit beautifully. The family room has tray ceiling so there is a lot of lovely dimension in the space. It was worth the hassle, it looks so pretty.
Thankfully framing around the TV area was a lot simpler and not very expensive. We started by wrapping the sides of the indention and then trimming up to the wrap, framing it like a picture frame on the sides and top. Similar to how we framed the niche in the master bedroom hallway. We then added quarter round trim to the inside against the barn wood. I didn’t want to add the quarter round along the bottom against the mantel and barn wood. I wanted the woods to stand out as the beautiful woods they are.
After the crown moulding was up and the TV area trimmed I decided I wanted to run a couple pieces of trim on the corners from the top to the mantel. When the trim and crown moulding was complete we used paintable caulking on all the seams and nail holes to give everything the professional look we were after. I then gave everything a final coat of paint. I decided to also paint the top portion of the fireplace the same pretty grey as the bottom portion. I waffled back and forth for a bit trying to decided whether to paint it or not but finally came to the conclusion to paint it so it looked like one piece instead of two separate pieces.
I am so happy with the way the fireplace turned out. It was a labor of love even though it took a while to get to this finished product. I love the barn wood, I love the trim and I love the mantel. It is a beautiful accent to our space. We even got around to buying a bigger TV so it looked more in proportion to the area. We do enjoy watching TV but we don’t require something super fancy or massive. We definitely could have fit a bigger TV but I wanted to see more barn wood then TV. I think the overall look is absolutely stunning. I love sitting down on the couch at the end of the day and enjoying this beautiful piece that we were able to create.
The overall cost on the fireplace was $500. That includes the barn wood, crown moulding, TV area trim and mantel.