fireplace before

First, the before, which you can see was no mantel at all!

Dear Ken,

It was fortuitous that I stumbled across your website while doing some research on fireplace mantel designs. I had already acquired several professional quotes for the job, all well into the multiple thousands of dollars. While the cost was certainly daunting, my resistance to take the “easy road” was largely predicated on a nagging feeling: that I knew I could do this on my own.

Your fantastic website and in particular, your in-depth coverage of FIREPLACE MANTEL-103 was, in a word, inspirational.

Although I’ve done some molding work in the past, including some crown and wainscoting, this is certainly not my “day job,” as they say, and would very much consider myself an amateur. That I was able to accomplish this piece with my limited skills is a testament to the outstanding instruction that you provided. Thank you for posting it, and keep up the tremendous work!

Here are a few pictures of my interpretation of your beautiful FIREPLACE MANTEL-103 design. You’ll see that my piece is a bit larger, and I used different moldings and corbels to fit my tastes. I also changed the design slightly to avoid resting the pilaster tops and ultimately the abacus directly on top of the crown, but rather directly attached to underlying MDF for maximum stability and sturdiness.

Gratefully Yours and Happy Holidays,

– Wes M. Barnes

christmas fireplace mantle

And now the finished product!


fireplace mantel

Dear Wes,

I can’t think of better Christmas present than knowing you found my tutorial inspiring enough to take on building such a beautiful fireplace mantle on your own; it could not have turned out any more beautiful!

And what’s really humbling is how you used the FIREPLACE MANTEL-103 design as a basic template, from which you improvised your own personal touches. The corbels you chose are exquisite in every way!

I sincerely hope your family and friends gather around your fireplace mantel this and many more holidays to come, sharing warmth, love and joy.

Because that’s the whole point of building beautiful things with your own hands, to share these things with others.

All my best to you this Christmas, Wes!


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