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No matter how well thought out a project may seem, there are always things that escape notice. My client had ordered a new gas insert for her damaged fireplace. The solution was well worth the investment. Gas fireplaces are clean burning and economical. They are more efficient and safer in terms of fumes and carcinogens. I had been called in to add some other elements to the home in terms of paint and a new shelf system for her "art nook." We weren't even looking at the fireplace...
About a week into the project, the gas installers came and installed the new gas fireplace. It was too small to fill the original opening and looked out of place in the space. The installer painted a piece of sheet metal and installed it behind the gas unit to close up the opening. This was hardly what the homeowner was looking for.
Later that day we sat down and started thinking up ways to save the situation. Sales on the gas units are final. Besides, with the right trim, it would certainly make a great addition to the space. So we thumbnailed, brainstormed, and came up with the perfect plan to remedy the problem. A custom mantle!
I went to work on the new mantle almost immediately. The first step after the thumbnailing and brainstorming was to make sure our clearances were correct. We contacted the manufacturer of the gas unit and got the correct tolerances of how close we could put our wood structure to the unit itself and how high the mantle shelf needed to be to be within code. We did not want to have the inspector come out and disapprove our work!
The mantle took about three days to build, give or take. We primed all the wood before installation to help prevent warping and cupping. Each element was glued and nailed to help prevent separation. Any trim nail holes were filled. Then a light sanding prior to paint. After all that we put on two layers of Sherwin Williams Superpaint.
The need for the new mantle was unforeseen, but the solution turned out to be a proper fit and a unified appearance. We were able to take the top curve of the gas fireplace and transfer that to the mantle. The white was perfect, and with a few trim options it complemented the room perfectly.
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