Corbin's Treehouse - Corbin Dunn, Santa Cruz, CA
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Fireplace Mantel


Our house in Aptos needed a new fireplace mantel. The prior owner had taken out the mantel and insert, so I needed something that looked nice. There was a huge area that needed to be surrounded by something, and I couldn’t just paint it in, as the paint would be really hard to match. Here’s a “before” picture taken with my iPhone:

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After taking some dimensions, I whipped out Sketchup and did some work with various designs that I liked and came up with this:

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I constructed the mantel out of two sandwich bread pieces of 3/4 MDF, with some spacers in the middle. I then nailed on a nice looking trim piece on the edge to make it all look nice. The square pillars were also made of out MDF; just simple 3 sided squares with false backs (all butt joints, with a 16d nailer and glue holding it together — it is incredibly strong and sturdy). The pillars are screwed to studs and the floor. The mantel was then screwed to the pillars, the wall (where available) and steel studs on top of the fireplace portion that protrudes out from the wall.

I pre-pained everything before attaching it to the wall. Initially I painted it a light gray/blue color that Louise picked out to match some of specks in the paint.

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I didn’t like it, and it looked too dark (she agreed, after seeing it), and decided to start over on painting. This set me back quite a few hours, but I’m glad I did. I went with a more traditional white color, and framed the sides with some more trim pieces. It turned out great!

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The fireplace insert is from Santa Cruz Spas and Stoves, and the install of the stove was done by Jon Marden.




(c) 2008-2017 Corbin Dunn

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