One Room Challenge: Week 4

Welcome to the One Room Challenge 2023! Over the course of 8 weeks, I’ll be completing a one-room makeover of my own living room. Follow along with all our One Room Challenge posts here.

Our fireplace mantel has been a big sore spot in the living room since we purchased the home in 2019. We love having a functioning wood-burning fireplace (this is my Minnesotan husband’s favorite thing!) but the fireplace, brick surround, and mantel felt so heavy and drab.

This too-big, visually heavy farmhouse-style mantel didn’t make sense in our traditional Georgian-style home, and I was ready to rip it out. Plus, it wasn’t up to the building code and was a huge fire hazard. We wanted to keep the brick but improve the function and aesthetics of the area.

Living Room Fireplace Mantel – Before

This photo is from before we purchased the home, but clearly shows the sad mantel situation. The white built-ins are an amazing feature with a ton of storage for TV equipment and our kids’ toys, but all that dark brown in the middle was driving me nuts.

It was time to lighten it up and install a mantel that honored the classic styling of the rest of the house.

Living Room Fireplace Mantel Plan

I wanted to incorporate an antique mantel around the fireplace – the texture and character of salvaged building materials brings so much to a design. We sourced this pretty Victorian-blue mantel locally in Macon at 7th Street Salvage, and I loved that the moldings felt aligned with the architecture of our home without being too fussy.


…plot twist!

When my husband removed the existing farmhouse-style beam mantel, instead of just brick, we found this underneath:

A complete, existing mantel that actually made sense with the age and architecture of the home!

The salvaged blue mantel is now going to be installed in our primary bedroom, and we chose to repair the newly discovered mantel (it did have some minor damage) and add legs on the side for more visual presence.

Living Room Fireplace Mantel – After

The One Room Challenge isn’t even finished, but the transformation of the mantel has already changed the look and feel of the space for the better. The built-ins feel balanced and the vintage brick has become a feature, not a drawback.

Next week I’ll be sharing a progress update on the rest of my living room, including the status of furniture orders and why an 8-week room makeover isn’t realistic for long-term enjoyment.

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