I love fireplaces. In a New York minute, I would put a fireplace in every room. As a child, I remember the prep involved with a wood burning fire. My dad fanning the flames (literally) and my mom using those pinecone firestarter things to get a little more kick. But, for 32 minutes we enjoyed a wood burning fire. And, then we watched my dad meticulously clean out the ashes and stay awake to watch the embers smolder.
Not a big surprise our family was one of the first on the block to convert to a gas fireplace.
One of the reasons we bought our brownstone in the suburbs house was it came with a finished basement. And, it had a dual sided fireplace. Score! Dual-sided fireplaces are like a two-for-one. We get the benefit of one fireplace straddled between two rooms. This knotty wood mantel project smoldered in my mind for years.
WOOD MANTEL BEFORE
This is a rough image of the fireplace. The white mantel and tile front were too fancy for the basement vibe we wanted to achieve. Think industrial pipes and stone.
We updated the front with backer board real stone sheets from Home Depot. More on those details later. But I was most excited for the fireplace mantel. I wanted a wood mantel but not too rustic. Living in Colorado we have to tone down the log cabin and bear images conjured up by people from other parts of the country. #wink
This year has been a year filled with smallish house updates. And, it was time to turn our attention to the dual sided fireplace. The only problem with a dual fireplace is it’s best when both sides match. So when we updated one side we made a duplicate fireplace mantel on the opposite side.
The coolest part of this mantel is the trip to a specialty lumber store.*** My husband loves this kind of thing so he took the lead to find the knotty alder wood.
Knotty Alder Wood Mantel Details
Knotty Alder Wood 1×8′
Build a box using 1x8x3 for the front, top, bottom and the sides (the back is open but attaches to the fireplace front.
Furring strips to create wood blocks so glue and nail the pieces together (from the open-ended back side).
Finished nails (short enough) so they don’t pop through the front.
Use a 2×4 (shorter by 5″ on each side of the mantel’s length and then screw into the studs. The finished mantel attaches to the 2×4 (because the opposite side of the mantel’s face is open).
Finish with making pilot holes and then screw into the 2×4 from the top of the mantel.
Jacobean stain (my fav)