Living Room Renovation | One Room Challenge | A Rustic Reclaimed Mantel

We are on week five of our living room renovation and finishing up the second big DIY project for it.  Now that the staircase enclosure is done we have been focusing on the fireplace renovation, especially adding a rustic reclaimed beam mantel.  Boy does this beam have a story!


Keep up with all of the project updates:  

Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6

When we first walked through this house before we bought it over three years ago, we noticed a huge old beam was sitting under the front porch. Having seen that the fireplaces in the living room and master bedroom had no mantels, it seemed like the perfect thing to make them in the future. We hadn't gotten to those projects yet in October of 2017 when we almost lost that beam.

The floodwaters of Hurricane Matthew came in quickly and rose to seven feet deep around our house. My post entitled Floods and Stuff has the whole story if you're interested in reading it. Anyway, we didn't realize it at the time, but the strong current of the floodwaters carried the beam out from under the porch and took it far out into our flooded woods. During the flood my husband spent days trolling around in a Jon boat picking up the many things that had floated away from our house. At one point he was kind of excited when he saw a really cool big beam lodged up against some trees. Then he realized it was OUR beam!

So he wouldn't have to carry the beam out of the woods later, he tied a rope to it and hauled it back through the river in the woods to our yard by boat. He tied it to a nearby tree so it wouldn't float away again!  See it there?


After the flood, the original owner and builder of the house came by to check on us. We spent a while talking to him and looking around the house. When he saw that beam he said he was so glad it was still there. He had reclaimed it years ago with the intention to repurpose as mantels!  It was from a nearby factory that was built in 1917 and was being torn down! So this beam is 100 years old! And now after waiting for years under the porch and going on a little adventure, it will finally become the mantels for our fireplaces!

To get started, we measured off how much we needed, cut it down, and pressure washed the dirt off.


It took a while to fit everything up.  Here is the mantel on supports while we were measuring where to drill.

My amazing husband handmade these beefy steel brackets for the mantel this week.  They are exactly the design I had in mind so I'm thrilled!


DIY-Metal-steel-mantel-brackets-corbels (2)

To prepare the fireplace and clean soot off, we gave the stones a good cleaning with several washes of muriatic acid.  Then we repaired the crack down the center that has been bugging me for years!

And here is the new mantel in place! Yay!



In other news this week, I've been working on several smaller DIY makeover projects to finish the details of the room.  And I also got that staircase wall painted!  It's bold!  I still have to add all of the antique gold framed mirrors, but what do you think?  This has been the design decision I've been most nervous about during this project.



This next week will be our big push to finish all of the details! We have a ton of little projects to finish, but we'll make it.

Big thanks to The One Room Challenge and House Beautiful magazine for hosting this six week renovation challenge!  You can see all of the other projects that are linking up over at One Room Challenge.  There are over 200!

Thanks again for stopping by and hope to see you back again next week!