Friday, September 5, 2014

Faux Planking Above The Fireplace

Have you ever started a project that should have been fun but just ended up being a pain in the neck?
I asked you about my mantel and fireplace surround a few weeks ago. I decided to try to figure out a way to make more of a statement above the mantel.
 This is the way it started out.

Please look away if you start to feel dizzy. 
 It was very difficult to photograph.
I built the surround two years ago.

The decor above didn't stand out enough so I created some art out of an old tin and a frame. Both pieces were in the garage.  

My plan two years ago was to mimic the surround below with something up above that would go all the way to ceiling. 
I had hoped that Bill would telepathically get the gist of what I wanted and build it for me.
 Two years later, he wasn't picking up any vibes. 
You can look at my Pinterest board here.
When I asked the question on my blog a couple of weeks ago, several said to paint the brick. 
If this was red, it would have been painted a long time ago. 
The taupe color has had a lot of longevity.
Once brick has been painted you can't go back. I never get grays right so a gray was out. White with the white surround would be too white. 
 I'm not painting the brick.
 But a little more white above would be perfect. 
Wood planking would have been my preference but planking would be too heavy. I did not want to drill into the brick. We have a masonry bit but I've no idea how to tell it apart from a regular bit. I've watched the maintenance guys at work drill into the masonry and it takes forever!

Bill had some 2 x 2s in the garage. There was also some leftover pieces of beadboard from various projects. 
There were three different types of beadboard but it didn't matter. It all looks the same once it is painted.
I used finishing nails to tack it all to the back of the board.

 The proportions weren't quite right. I used two more 2 x 2s and some molding to create a column on each side to mimic the columns on the bottom. The molding was $25.00.
This is where the project got tedious. 
I couldn't get the finishing nails to go all the way into the boards even after drilling pilot holes. My ladder really didn't get close enough to the brick to hit the nails at a good angle. Then I couldn't find the nail set. ARGH!
I was hot and annoyed at this point but I was determined to finish and paint. 

I cut the wood true to size so that it could be wedged in place between the ceiling and the mantel instead of drilled into the brick. The trim piece at the top is drilled into the ceiling.

I did the bottom the same way. 
It all can be removed if we choose to and nothing is drilled into the brick except for the mounting for the mantel.  

I dry brushed a little white primer on the bricks just to even out some of the spots. Now I can look at it and not get dizzy.

I like it. It has potential for some fun fall and Christmas displays.
What do you think?


  1. Your project turned out beautiful! I Love what you built above your fireplace. It definitely provides a great focal point to your room.
    Mary Alice

  2. Ingenious construction! Love the finished project!

  3. i like it but i think i would still paint the brick white.

    1. Would you leave the surround white or paint it a contrasting color? I just couldn't wrap my head around both being white. Grays in this house look green so I'm afraid of gray.

    2. i would go with a white or white with a little bit of yellow in it on the brick. i am not a fan of gray.

  4. It looks great! I'm in love with that look and we are planning to do the same thing. Can I ask you...where did you buy the wood column pieces? We have the same thing and I think it looks nice to repeat that above.

    You just amaze me with the things you do!!

    1. Thanks Stacy. You are too sweet. I got the molding at Home Depot.

  5. I love how you compromised on not touching the bricks and getting the white part above the mantel. Beautiful!

  6. I love the change, Katie! I think an autumn wreath would look pretty hanging over your mantel, and now it will show up much better against the white. Nicely done!

  7. Such a great idea! I love how that turned out. I'm impressed that you did that yourself.

  8. Sometime when a project has been such a struggle, you just lose all prespective on it but it really does look great. It is going to be a beautiful back drop for any thing you put there. Good job!

  9. Katie this turned out just beautiful - what a fabulous idea !!!
    ( and I love that stained glass window in the background too ! )

  10. I like it, and I'm glad you didn't paint the brick. It looks much more interesting this way :)

  11. Hi Katie,
    Wonderful job on this - you go girl! Love the idea of the boards instead of painting the brick. And the molding on the edges looks elegant. Perfect backdrop for holiday displays. Well done! Hugs, Catherine

  12. you asked for an opine, here's mine. I think it looks wonderful just like it is! and I was probably one of the people who said paint the brick. But, you have just enough white on the bricks to tone it down enough. Too much white and the brick will start looking pink. Believe me, our house is red brick with a wash of white and we call it the big pink house because it looks...well, pink! Click on my name and you will see the pink house in my current post.

    and have you tried putting the garden gate on top of the mantel in front of the white boards? I think it would look super.