Mirrors, Overmantels, and Fireplaces

I think I’m ready to tackle my next project…

…one I keep finding excuses not to do.

You may recall, that’s one of the reasons I started this blog. It helps me commit and follow through…usually :)! (We won’t mention that sneak peak list for now).

We have a two-story family room that needs some attention to deflect some of the “two-story-ness” of the room.…molding for sure; paint treatment perhaps; fireplace detail absolutely.

Anyway…several months ago I swiped the mirror that used to hang over our fireplace,

painted the frame, and hung it in the master bedroom. It’s perfect there…but it left a large empty space on an already large empty two-story wall. It’s even emptier now because I removed all the mantel dec….see?


One of my grand ideas was to create an overmantel that extends the fireplace upward and helps fill the space a little.

Overmantels can be a simple structural detail, like this Gypsum Cement Overmantel Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 10.15.06 AMfrom BalmerStudios.com,

to the incredibly… (well, I don’t even have a word for this other than) “spectacular” work of art in travertine found via Google search from DS-power.comScreen Shot 2016-02-09 at 10.18.31 AMThis travertine model is decidedly more appropriate for a person whose home truly is his castle or has, perhaps, an actual castle.

I could also opt for an overmantel mirror, many of which feature a rounded top similar to this one; a lovely yet simple option from Overmantels.co.uk.

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 9.48.42 AM

Thinking along those lines, I’ve priced a (plain ol’) large beveled mirror at my local glass store and it would be in the neighborhood of $400 and up.

My frugal vein twitches a little at that number because I know that there’s plenty of other costs that would follow.

While researching, I discovered Ken at TheJoyofMoldings.com, who has a very helpful guide to fireplaces, and offers super plans on all things wood trim, including mantels and overmantels. And (if you follow his blog) he also shares the successes of folks who update their homes beautifully with his economical and inspiring suggestions.

Here is a mantel AND overmantel he built “with simple materials”. Beautiful detail…and his plans show how to do it step by step.

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 10.24.31 AM

Finally, I also contemplated this type of project that I found on Houzz (by Architect Gary Brewer) because I love the sconce lighting that’s incorporated in the design.

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 10.48.22 AM


For OUR room, I have something a little different in mind that I think includes all the variables I need to consider.  It:

  • helps fill wall space and upgrades the fireplace
  • includes a mirror feature
  • is economical, and
  • is something I can do with my “everyday” skills and tools.

Stay tuned…I need to do a mock up or two and gather some supplies…but I’m anxious to get this party started!