Tuesday, October 1, 2019

DIY Victorian mantel

I have been wanting another mantel for my living room for a while, but couldn't figure out where to put one. Well, not one to give up, and after a lot of thought, I did some furniture reshuffling with my mom, a facebook marketplace purchase, and finally got the space I wanted for a mantel.

But I didn't have a mantel! Well, again not to be deterred by a silly limitation like that, I went to the little house and pulled out some wood from the old house and voila, Victorian mantel.

Ok,  so it wasn't that easy. It was hard work, and more hard work, but I did it, and I could not be more proud of this labor of love😊

Proud because this mantel was made entirely with things I had on hand, minus the tile, and finished with 100+ year-old-wood that had not seen the light of day since 1959.

I pinned and pinned Victorian mantels on Pinterest for a while, with my main inspiration being the only photo of my grandmother in front of the mantel in the old house, along with my dad's memory.

Of course, once I started the actual building process, things went a little different way, per usual, but that's because I was using wood I already had and basically putting together a puzzle with those pieces to look similar to my inspiration. In my creative world, I just roll that way because using reclaimed wood is a challenge, and I feel you have to respect the history of each piece and how it was used. 

I will blog how I built the mantel in another post, but for now, this is where it came from. 

Y'all. I'm so proud of this. I did it all myself, and it was truly a labor of love working outside in the hottest September on record here in the mountains. But it was well worth it.

All the wood you see is wormy chestnut from the old house, except the posts, which are from my 1800's spool bed. How perfect were they for this spot, though? I originally wanted to use them on top, but they were just the right height as they were for the bottom, so I went with that and am so happy I did.

After finding a pile of rosettes and plinth blocks, I knew some of those needed to be incorporated along with window trim and baseboard trim as well. 

Of course, no early 1900s house was complete without a Perfection Kerosene heater by Standard Oil. This particular model dates somewhere between 1906 and 1920 and has been on the property since then. It was originally blue enamel, but I broke with my usual "never, ever paint anything old" tradition and gave it a coat of black paint with gold trim. I love it this way, and after 100 years, a new coat of paint didn't hurt it.

Apparently, you can still find wicks for these, but I'm not thinking I'll be lighting this one up -- ever.

I am so excited about this project, and my husband was so impressed, he could honestly not believe I did it all by myself - being so new to woodworking. I would not have believed it either, because let me tell you geometry and math were not this musician's strengths in school, but my passion for using all these things here and giving them new life is pretty powerful and has worked that side of my brain for the better. 

I am truly reclaiming the past - one board at a time😊

I shared the whole process on my instagram stories, so be sure to follow Whispering Pines Homestead on instagram so you don't miss the behind the scenes of my little projects here!! 

I'll be joining:


  1. It’s beautiful Anita! You should be very proud of yourself!

  2. Looks lovely, Your designs are so comfortable and very classic. great job on repurposing.

  3. Completely stunning!! I'm super impressed.....I would love to be able to work with wood like that, if only I weren't so afraid of power saws....sigh. Gorgeous job!!

  4. YeY! It came out so beautifully!! Love, love it!

  5. oh my goodness. What a beautiful, beautiful treasure you have created! And the tile is perfect, as is that heater. Perfection.

  6. It’s a wonderful fireplace mantel! I once had one of those old heaters and I put a string of orange lights that you can find this time of year in it to look like a fire burning. I love how you are using the old house again.

  7. Your post is timely in that I was debating whether I should get rid of an old mantel that my mother left me. It's more of a baroque style and looks OK but not the style of the room or our home, yet I was still not sure about letting it go. After viewing your post, I've decided to keep it as it makes for a great focal point in the room and it reminds me of my mom. That was the reason there was an internal struggle. I will decorate it to fit in better. Thanks for inspiring post today!

  8. Anita, this is amazing. You did such a great job. I know I read the story of the "old" house on the property but I don't remember why no one lives there. I love that you are able to salvage stuff from it for your home. I love the stove and the tile too. Of course, your styling is always fabulous.

  9. Anita,
    You have done it again!! How stunning is this fantastic mantel!! You did an amazing job!! It truly is a work of art and you should be so proud of yourself!! It looks stunning in your gorgeous Living Room....Thanks for sharing!!

  10. I've seen where you can put the twinkle Christmas lights in it and it looks like a fire going.. They might have used red cello paper to give it more flame look... Yours is so beautiful and the memories... man that gives me the feels