Since we have been on vacation, I have had a considerable amount of down time, and have been looking into buying mantles versus making them. (For our living room.) First off, just let me say, I truly had NO idea how much it could cost to buy them, and you can even end up spending a lot at your local home improvement store. (Although the fireplace surround I like at Lowe's is pretty affordable, and we already have a mantle.)
I actually found a couple of websites that have directions on how to build your own mantle/surround, which I thought I'd pass on the links to. Click here for the instructions from the Do It Yourself home network, and click here for the ones from Better Homes and Gardens.
Here is a fireplace that caught my eye on Craigs list, and they were only asking sixty dollars. But then I saw it was made out of MDF, not real wood. I don't need something to be fancy or an antique to like it, but I am a stickler on wood when it comes to things like furniture and moulding... or mantles! It doesn't, however, need to be made out of hardwood, either, since I will just be painting it anyway. This particular style of fireplace is a rather simple one, and it would not be that difficult to replicate.
You know, I have been thinking about something a lot off and on since buying our first home. It's nothing profound or anything, but I thought I'd share it with you anyway. I have to say I'm grateful for the challenge of fixing our house on a budget. I know it sounds weird, insane even, but I am thankful for the necessity to be creative, to find a less expensive alternative. And I have to say, there usually always is one! Sometimes it drives me crazy living in a construction zone and waiting to fix something, and I feel really impatient! I want our house done, preferably before it's time to relocate to a retirement home! But, it HAS been fun to dream and think of ways to make something happen. Maybe it will take a little patience, and it will probably mean a lot more effort, but in a way, it's so much more worth it in the end.
So, about the fireplace, what will it be? A Craigs list find or a Lowe's "kit"? Or maybe our own design? I don't know for sure yet, but no matter what it is, it will be just right. Something that fits in our home AND our budget! :)