Salvaged Mantel Installed

DSC01975MantleOn Friday I shared with you a beautiful  salvaged mantle from Southern Arch so as promised today I share with you the finished product!

The mantel is not going on an actual fireplace but instead I am using to create a faux one.  I started with a wall I wainscoted several years ago. Rather than remove the wainscoting I decide the make the mantel blend. Southern Arch cut it down to size so it would sit at exactly the height of the wainscoting. Below is the wall before installation. The mantel will be centered under the T.V. If you notice the photo above the T.V. was replaced as well.DSC01890I started by cutting the quarter round with a sonic saw and installing a piece of Carrera marble cut to size by a local stone shop to create a hearth. I then added a piece of plywood to the mantel opening and attached it to the whole thing to the wall.

Mantle For the fire-box itself I used a reclaimed cast iron surround and summer front which gives the illusion of the fire-box without having to create one. Since this house was built around 1900 this style front is also historically accurate. I gave the cast iron a coat of flat black spray paint which had it is looking brand new and ready to install, but first we need to install the tile surround.

I first measured out the area the surround would cover and painted that area black so that the plywood cannot be seen through the holes in the summer front.  This will also help me see what area the tiles need to cover. I used small 3/4 tiles so I would not have to do any tile cutting. These tiles come attached to a mesh backing that helps keep their spacing but if the tiles don’t fit perfectly they can be cut into strips and spaced out at the grout line to achieve a perfect fit, NO CUTTING.  I also let the tiles run behind the surround instead of around it, so not perfect fit required on the inside either.

Once the tiles are installed apply grout. Allow to dry, then caulk around the edge where the tiles meet the mantel.  The last step is to screw the surround to the plywood and attach the summer front.

The final result has the look a beautiful vintage fireplace that blends perfectly with the age of the house. Best of all we save a little piece of history in the process!



  1. This came out great. Really like the way you installed the ceramic tiles around the summer front. Looks so good.

    How much longer are you going to be in New Orleans?? Can you come to my house?

    • Already back in Germany, You’ll have to make an appointment for my next visit ;)Thanks for letting me tour your home, can’t wait for the next visit. If you do your mantle take lots of pictures, I would love to share the update.

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