One of my favorite pieces in our house is the great room mantle and fireplace. Since we've stuck with such a crisp, clean look throughout the house, I wanted to add something rustic and organic. We have quite a few pieces of antique furniture that are just that - rustic, organic, dovetail construction, leaded glass and show the wear and tear of time.
When thinking about what we wanted for our fireplace, we knew that we wanted to use a piece of timber with some sort of character. When I stumbled this picture from The Lettered Cottage, I knew that I had found something special. Layla and Kevin, bloggers from The Lettered Cottage had installed a beautiful piece of wood over their fireplace, achieving the exact look that I was going for.
|Timber mantle from The Lettered Cottage|
Living in the Pacific Northwest, we're fortunate to have lots of local timber, both old and new. If you've ever Googled "reclaimed lumber," you'll find a slew of information and products available. Problem being, anything with the label "reclaimed" comes with a hefty pricetag. I looked at a local salvage store and found reclaimed timbers from an old warehouse in downtown Seattle with the total price for the timber (after being milled and finished) coming in at $700. That's just the piece of wood itself and did not include the installation. A little tip: most timbers are priced per Board Foot, so bring your calculator if you're going shopping for a piece of wood!
I also looked at Pacific Northwest Timbers, and found some really cool pieces. Some of their timbers are ocean salvage, that fell off a ship at the turn of the century. This sort of history makes my heart skip a beat, but the price made me want to puke. If money were of no object, I would've absolutely sprung for an ocean salvage timber, given my affinity for all things coastal.
I also cruised EBay and found a beautiful piece of wood from an old distillery and tobacco farm in Kentucky. Given that I did a brief stint in the South when I was growing up, and am slightly obsessed with all things "still," this would've been a great option if it weren't so expensive. Again, the "reclaimed" label came with a price.
In the end, our amazing finish carpenter told us that finish carpentry is something that just pays the bills. His real passion, as a second generation woodworker, is making furniture by hand. When he mentioned that he had a timber sitting in his yard under a tarp, I figured that he might have a cost effective solution to our little problem of finding a beautiful timber mantle. I provided him with a sample of our flooring and he went to work in his shop. Here's what we ended up with: a beautiful finished timber, custom made, stained to match our floor, and varnished, installed for $700.
|Timber mantle before installation with the bracket on the back|
|Timber mantle with lots of variations in the wood - look closely and you'll see various knots & bug holes|
|After installation - the rest of the mantle will be finished in white, shaker style panels that mirror the cabinetry|
|A shot from afar of the timber mantle installed|