Mantels: Preparing for Santa

When we built the house, a year and a half ago, we couldn’t decide how we wanted to do our fireplace wall. We ended up having the builder put in the fireplace box and the drywall around it. We thought that within a few months of moving in we would decide what we wanted for a mantel and surround and then have someone come in and build it for us.

Fast forward a year and a half-we still have a blank wall!

Now Christmas is quickly approaching and a girl needs a place to hang her stocking! But I still want it to be something special, something worth the wait . . .

I have looked at lots of pictures . . .

Considered stone, and brick, and wood . . .

And crunched the numbers for all the possible options . . .

And we think we have finally come to a decision. . . We are going to buy an antique fireplace surround from a local antique and salvage shop that has been salvaged from a historic home. A “full mantel” with a built-in mirror. These pieces can be quite pricey if they have been stripped, stained, etc. But they are a fraction of the cost if you are willing to take one that has been, gasp, painted! Well sign me up because I love painted wood and I certainly love a rock-bottom discount!

So hopefully our fireplace will be similar to the one pictured above, although perhaps painted white. We are in the final stages of narrowing it down. I cannot wait to show you the finished project!

Santa, if you are reading this, I’m preparing for you as fast as I can . . . please bring chocolate, and Jimmy Choos, and perhaps a little something from Pottery Barn . . .


  1. I can’t wait to see the one you chose Erin!! Hurry with the reveal ~ you have some impatient people here you know…. “wink-wink”

  2. Ooooooh aaaaah! I cannot wait to see everything! And by the way, if you could help a gal out for a second: how do you get on the Jimmy Choo list with Santa? I need the dish on that one! Please! ;D

  3. Sounds like a great idea. Just make sure to check your local building codes to see if there are requirements for clear distance that the opening of the fire box needs to be from the wood of the surround. This will affect the size of the fire box opening in the mantel that you are specifically looking for. Usually it’s between 8-12 inches. If it is not in compliance with the code, it could become a problem when/if you sell the house. Can’t wait to see the pictures!

  4. how exciting, erin! we looked at a bungalow last year that had a wonderful built in mirror/mantle (but also had foundation problems:( and i’ve no doubt yours will be beautiful! what fun. -mary

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