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Before & After: Great Room Fireplace Mantel with Overmantel

how to build a diy fireplace mantel

Nice crown molding above, but not so nice fireplace mantel below.

Big is no substitute for a lack of the proper details that make up all the parts of a fireplace surround.

This one is missing capitals and base on the fluted pilasters.

In addition, the frieze is disproportionately tall and the crown molding is too weak for the size of the mantel top.

But this is the kind of thing a builder asks the trim carpenter to install — even in expensive homes like this one — only because it can be built in an hour or less (read, cheap).

But after I installed a large, three-piece crown molding in this great room, the home owners were ready and willing to install a new fireplace surround.  Take a look at what I came up with.

diy fireplace mantel plans

I built this whole thing with simple materials. You can build one too, it’s not hard at all.


 

diy fireplace mantel with corbels for great room

Think of all the ornate appliques you could apply to the frieze and capitals!

The fireplace mantel I built with lugged architrave overmantel took much longer than an hour, but it’s what belongs in a nice great room like this.

These two patterns may look complicated to build, but I assure you that they are not.

Just like most of my designs it’s a matter of building a core of mdf flat-stock to wrap simple moldings around.

You can see how I built the overmantel here at How to Make OVERMANTEL-100 for About $87.39: Part 1.

You’re in luck if you’d like to learn step by step how I built them.

I have the entire installation sequence for this fireplace mantel that I’ll post in the near future.  If you want to stay up to date with all our new tutorials, then you can subscribe to The Joy of Moldings via email or have new posts sent to your RSS reader.

Posts in this Series

1. How to Build FIREPLACE MANTEL-103 for $333.08

2. How to Build FIREPLACE MANTEL-103 Part 2: Materials Inventory

3. How to Build FIREPLACE MANTEL-103 Part 3: Pilaster Cores

4. How to Build FIREPLACE MANTEL-103 Part 4: Corbels & Inset Panels

5. How to Build FIREPLACE MANTEL-103 Part 5: Shadow Pilasters

6. How to Build FIREPLACE MANTEL-103 Part 6: Wrapping the Crown Molding & Base

7. How to Build FIREPLACE MANTEL-103 Part 7: Pilaster Extensions

8. How to Build FIREPLACE MANTEL-103 Part 8: Lanterns

9. How to Build FIREPLACE MANTEL-103 Part 9: Lantern Crown & Collar

10. How to Build FIREPLACE MANTEL-103 Part 10: Paneled Frieze

11. How to Build FIREPLACE MANTEL-103 Part 11: Making the Hood

12. Before & After: Great Room Fireplace Mantel with Overmantel

13. How to Make OVERMANTEL-100 for About $87.39

2 Responses to Before & After: Great Room Fireplace Mantel with Overmantel

  1. Dave June 21, 2012 at 6:59 AM #

    What a beautiful job! This “before and after” is a great example for showing how the details and proper proportions can dramatically impact the end result.

  2. Ken June 21, 2012 at 7:38 AM #

    It’s a shame, Dave, that the simple rules that guide the scale and proportion of classic architectural details is not common knowledge throughout this trade.

    Given the knowledge and opportunity, though, most practicing trim carpenters would rather do it right — they just haven’t been exposed to the information yet.

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