Sunday, May 20, 2012

On the Road

A few weekends ago, Bill and I took our tools on the road to do a little project for my sister and her fiance. They are getting married in a few weeks, so we considered this part of their shower gift from us. Kristen supplied the materials and a few beers and we (well mostly Bill) supplied the labor.

Their house was built nearly 80 years ago and has a lot of great traditional details. They have a fireplace, but the mantle left a lot to be desired. My soon to be brother-in-law had taken out the existing mantle before we got there, so Bill built a new cover for the mantle.  I couldn't get a real before picture because Bill put a piece of MDF on the mantle right when we got there. You can pretty much get the point though:

There was hardwood flooring on the top and then wood with chipped paint on the sides and front. We bought one 4 by 8 foot sheet of mdf (medium density fiberboard) at Lowe's for around $30. The nice men there cut it down into two 12 inch and one 14 inch strips so that we could fit it into the car and there would be fewer cuts to make when we got it to Kristen's house.

Bill started by cutting three 3 inch strips for the faces. He attached them with his handy dandy nailer. I'm telling you, the nailer is the best thing ever. It made this project go so much faster. Here's the mantle after that first step was complete.

It was looking better already! Next, Bill measured for the top pieces. This part was challenging since it's an old house and basically none of the walls are square. Bill cut the pieces at 45 degree angles and then attached all three pieces to the top. He left a bit of a ledge on the front.

Bill also applied spackle to all of the seams and nail holes. This is how it looked when we left. After the spackle was fully cured, Kristen primed it and then painted it white.

I haven't been back over there to get the after pictures, so just imagine that its all painted white at this point!

Isn't it nice that they stenciled "Projects at the Pickett's" on the wall? What a great supporter of the blog! Haha!

Since I wasn't the one doing most of the construction, I thought that this was a pretty simple project. Bill used the table saw and a circular saw to make all of the cuts and then his nailer to attach everything. I'll have to update with pictures of the final result after my next visit. Have you ever done work in someone else's house? How about providing manual labor for a shower gift? Do you volunteer your husband for projects without him knowing it? How does that go over? I hope everyone enjoyed the beautiful weather this weekend!

Thanks for reading,


  1. The mantle turned out awesome! After 15 months in our house and much debate about how we should redo it, it's amazing how quickly Kath and Bill conquered this eyesore. It has made a huge difference especially since just the week before, Kath finally got me to hang stuff on the living room walls. I finally feel like this room is complete instead of a long standing work in progress. Thanks Kath and Bill!

  2. You're welcome Kris! We were glad to help. I'll come over anytime! I think Bill would love for me to work on other people's houses instead of ours all the time :)

  3. Great job! Looks like a great place to display wedding photos! Love, Aunt Jeanie


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