Tuesday, January 24, 2012

DIY Faux Fireplace

It has taken me a while to get this post together, but here it is at long last!
We are fortunate enough to have a very large living room.  With one end being anchored by a makeshift dry bar,  and couch/TV in middle of the room, the far end was in need of a focal point. 

Cue: My need for a mantel!  I'm sure the fact that we moved in around Christmas [think: hanging stockings, reindeer decorations, etc.] made this even more urgent.  I did a bunch of pin and web searching and this image became my main inspiration:

I did a quick search on Lowe's and Home Depot's websites, but that would have involved assembling them from scratch.  Not totally out of the question, but not ideal.  Next up, craigslist and ebay.  After a week long search covering most of NJ, and lots of clunkers, I finally got a hit with a couple discarding their great condition fireplace surround.

Despite the fact that they were 89.9 miles away (really!), the decent price, good condition and GREAT detail work made it impossible to pass up.


We were fortunate that the previous owner is into sailing and therefor knew some pretty advanced knots to tie it to the top of my dad's car.  It would not have been fun to have that thing flying off on the GSP!

The first step was to give it a good sanding, and wipedown.

Next, a good layer of primer [SHOULD have been two layers of primer. I used Zinsser I think].
And three (or was it four?…) coats of white semigloss on top.  My only regret is not having coated the top surface of the mantel with flat paint to prevent things sticking and chipping.

I had Home depot cut me a large square of hardboard to go into the arch (since fires aren't an option!).  I coated that with black chalkboard paint.  The spray on kind supposedly worked best, and I can't argue.  No lines or smears or splotches. 

After tapping that into the back of the arch, she was all set!!!

Post-Christmas, there have been more transformations, so I will have to post them soon ;)
Still haven't completely come up with the solution for the interior of it.  My genius idea of using artists pastels and making a kick-butt image inside was foiled when my test piece turned out to be 'un-erasable'.  Good thing I tested!  Toying with the cut wood idea. 
Or something like these DIY cardboard logs:
Anyway, it was a fun project with huge payback.  I can't imagine our living room without it!!

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