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Bright and early, at 8:00am, the project continued. Jason would have started at 7:00am, but I convinced him that our neighbors would not appreciate his dedication at such an early hour, especially on a Sunday morning.

Continuing where he left off, the construction of the actual mantel and the boards that will be covering the brick are the main focus. I am pretty sure there is going to be a part 3 and maybe even a part 4, since the building is not quite finished and the painting still needs to happen. Also, of course, he came up with another idea to drywall the left side wall (if you are looking at it) so that you can’t tell the previous owners (whoever they were) stuck a weird piece of wood on the wall and painted over it.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, and I definitely don’t have the knowledge to even write 100 words about what he’s doing, here are plenty of photos…

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The left is the framing of the fireplace, the base where all other pieces will be attached. The right side shows the first layer of the mantel going on.

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We like those thicker edges (you should see our countertops), so Jason put two layers of MDF for the mantel.

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Here they are attaching the planks for the upper portion of this project. It will definitely add a more finished look that just leaving the brick.

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Jason and his uncle, Carlos, are making sure that the framing of the boards will work and that there won’t be too much of a gap from our uneven ceiling. These are the things you must work around, especially when you own a house from 1952.

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Of course there has to be a lunch break. Today’s lunch break included rice, pork cutlets, and chicharro (sp.?). Basically, it’s split pea soup, but my brother-in-law affectionately calls it “Bird Poop Soup.” Did I mention my husband’s family is 100% Cuban? Ahhh, you say. That explains the lunch menu…no pizza here! Even the dog is a little bit Cuban…but more likely is that she will pretty much eat almost anything, especially if getting it involves begging. It’s an activity she is a pro at.

After refueling with lunch and beer (beer is always a necessity during any home improvement project), they got back into it, this time with another set of hands.

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The framing around the top piece is finished and it looks fantastic! Now to start on the lower half…

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Here is a before and after of one of the “legs.” We are going for the Craftsman look, just like we have in our kitchen (you will have seen it if you have seen our HGTV episode on House Hunters Renovations!). Very sleek and clean, a little modern, but still traditional.

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Here Jason, Carlos, and Luis (Jason’s dad) are putting up the detail underneath the mantel. Jason definitely has an eye for design.

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Here is the finished mantel. Isn’t it just so beautiful!!!? I am super lucky that my husband has the ability and the wherewithal to actually do projects like this. He knows I have been wanting a mantel (he’s been wanting one as well) for the longest time, especially when the holidays come around and I see such adorable and sweetly decorated mantels. Now I have my own!

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As I had mentioned before, look out for Part 3 (at least), which is going to involve sanding, possibly drywall, and painting. Whether Jason will be doing it or using one of the many subcontractors he knows, I’m not sure, but I am leaning toward the latter if the price is right. We have learned, in renovating our house, that sometimes it is worth it to shell out a few bucks to save ourselves the trouble…assuming we aren’t getting ripped off, but then Jason would NEVER let us get ripped off, so I’m not worried.

Jason did use a few websites in order to get the general knowledge of how to accomplish this project, but he put his own design and spin on things, as always. But we definitely want to give credit and should any of you decide you want to build one of these for your own home, here are the links that Jason used…

The Lettered Cottage – part of the design idea

Handyman Club – how-to

If you decide to attempt this, GOOD LUCK! I hope you are a lot more handy than I am!

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