Mantel Restoration

I made an agreement with the seller that I would take anything left behind in the house, but the truth is I really only wanted one thing. The original mantelpiece. It was in the back of the basement, and leaning against a pile of stuff. I was so excited when the seller agreed to leave it behind he actually gave me a weird look and said, “Really? This old thing?”

Yes, this mantel had seen better days. It was peeling terribly and the right side had a large crack running though it, but it had potential. Plus, I’ve seen mantelpieces in much worse shape selling for $700 or more! I know wood paneling was all the rage back in the 60s and 70s, but to replace this beautiful piece is baffling.


Since the mantel is going to be the focus point of the living room, a little sanding and coat of paint wouldn’t do. It had to be completely stripped. It took several days, and had to be done outside due to the strong fumes.


Refinishing wood is not my forte. The majority of my restored pieces are painted, and not stained, for a reason. It is extremely tedious work, that frankly I don’t have the patience for. In the past I’ve been known to ruin pieces by using a power sander or the wrong grit just because I felt it would be faster. So I was banned from working on the mantelpiece, and it became my Dad’s pet project. Works for me!


TADA! It still needs to be painted, but what a difference! Last week the inside of the fireplace was painted black, and I ordered a carrara porcelain for the surround tile.


At the moment it’s just leaning up again the wall. Once the living room is painted it will be attached to the wall, and the loose pieces will be glued in place. The last step is to paint, but that will be done when the rest of the trim in the room is painted. To be continued!


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