You’re the Mantel to my Fireplace

Milk and Cookies.
Waves and the Ocean.
French Fries and Ketchup.
Simon and Garfunkel.
Peanut Butter and Jelly.
Fountains and Pennies.
Lauren and Matthew.
Miss Pepper and Chasing Squirrels.
See where I’m going here, people? Some things just go together. 😉

So, you can’t have a fireplace without a good mantelpiece, am I right??

Our family room fireplace has come a loooooong way, my friends. Early on, we knew this was one of our little house’s “problem areas” considering every time it would rain, water would flood in through the firebox.

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This is a very early “before” picture…like, before we closed and cleaned the belongings out of the house…but you can see the water damage has rotted the entire mantelpiece.

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Once we tore away the wall, we discovered that the brick fireplace surround had completely separated from the chimney.

As you may remember, we completely rebuilt the wall on which the fireplace sits and we even contemplated cutting our losses and removing the entire thing (chimney and all) during a moment of insanity. But with the help of some professionals, we were able to diagnose the problem, repair the chimney and rebuild the firebox.

With all the brickwork complete, it was starting to look like a proper fireplace again…except we were still missing the crowned jewel, our mantelpiece!

Since our family room is open to the kitchen, we decided to stay with the same simple shaker-style look as with our cabinets. We think it turned out pretty nice:

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Bye, wall!

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Matthew surveying the scene and contemplating how to remove the very old and very heavy iron stove insert…

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…realizing this is not a one-man job.

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But that stove didn’t stop him from demo-ing the old brick surround. (The bricks were literally crumbling and disintegrating from the long-term dampness – ick!)

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New firebox, flue, surround and hearth!

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View from the outside; no more leaking!

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Ready for her mantel to arrive!

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Ta-daaaaa! She’s back and better than ever!

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(Sorry about all the junk in the fireplace; I was clearly so taken with our new mantelpiece that I was blind to all the scrap wood and tools! 😂)

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