slatted fireplace surround and mantle

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Project by Ben Robinson posted 03-03-2010 12:59 PM 13334 views 24 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Our house originally had a cheap, MDF fireplace surround. Taking inspiration from a few restaurants and commercial spaces in Atlanta, I came up with the idea of creating a “slatted” fireplace wall and mantle. I also poured a concrete slab for the hearth. It weighs over 500 pounds and was a bear to move into the house.

The wall is 1×6 poplar with hidden storage under either end of the mantle for matches and the gas key. There is down lighting under the mantle and up lighting behind the TV. I also made a bow-shaped wooden bracket for the up lighting that accommodates for the TV mount.

(I’m brand new to lumberjocks, so please tell me if this type of project is inappropriate for this website.)

-- Ben, Atlanta,

12 comments so far

View Stanley Coker's profile

Stanley Coker

254 posts in 3395 days

#1 posted 03-03-2010 01:16 PM

You done a great job on this mantle. Welcome to Lumber Jocks.

-- Stanley, North Georgia

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3973 days

#2 posted 03-03-2010 01:24 PM

Very nicely done. The lighting is a nice touch. Thanks for posting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4021 days

#3 posted 03-03-2010 02:14 PM

This is a nice looking mantle. It is unique and certainly is the focal point for the room. I agree with Tom that the lighting added a nice element to the mantle’s design and function.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Kevin 's profile


3 posts in 3211 days

#4 posted 03-03-2010 02:50 PM

Looks Great! Very modern. I like the lighting accent. With my paranoid personality, I would be concerned with combustible material being so close to the opening of the fireplace.

-- Kevin, Spartanburg, SC

View blackcherry's profile


3338 posts in 4022 days

#5 posted 03-03-2010 02:54 PM

Very sharp looking, great project for the flat screen and the lighting is first rate as well. Thanks for posting BC

View Jonathan's profile


2609 posts in 3250 days

#6 posted 03-03-2010 03:02 PM

That is excellent, both in design, proportions and execution and goes with your modern interior.

You asked if this project was acceptable for posting on Lumberjocks? I think so! Welcome aboard!

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View Cory's profile


760 posts in 3619 days

#7 posted 03-03-2010 04:01 PM

That looks amazing. I’m glad my wife isn’t an LJ member, or I’d have yet another project for the house! She would LOVE this. Very nice work.

-- The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

View RexMcKinnon's profile


2593 posts in 3394 days

#8 posted 03-03-2010 04:14 PM

Very nice. Are those speakers in the white panels on the sides and hanging form the celing?

-- If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail!

View SouthpawCA's profile


272 posts in 3432 days

#9 posted 03-03-2010 06:26 PM

I like the contemporary design, however, I agree with Kevin with the proximity of the wood to the firebox. I am in the process of building a craftsman style fireplace surround and after reviewing the building codes for our area found the setback must be at least 12” for any combustible material.

-- Don

View ZeroThreeQuarter's profile


120 posts in 3256 days

#10 posted 03-03-2010 06:36 PM

looks GREAT. curious why you didn’t just use a bit of cord-light instead of three up-lights behind the TV to try and give it a bit more of a glow as opposed to spot light style.

all in all, REALLY nice. Also like the sunk-in speakers, unfortunate that my wall is concrete where the TV is otherwise i’d do the same..

-- Your mind, much like a parachute, works best when open.

View Ben Robinson's profile

Ben Robinson

34 posts in 3206 days

#11 posted 03-03-2010 10:44 PM

Thanks for the compliments. I’m glad to hear everyone deems it worthy of inclusion on LJ. To answer some of the questions:

It’s hard to capture on camera, but the lighting actually has a nice even glow beneath the mantle and above the TV when they are dimmed. In the photo, it looks like 3 distinct beams though. I considered rope light, and LED light bars, but I didn’t think they would put out quite enough light. All in all, this solution looks pretty good in person and only cost $35. They are a 6-pack of under-cabinet puck lights from Lowe’s. I feel that spending a lot more on lighting would only have a slight increase in lighting quality.

fire safety
Ensuring that the wall wouldn’t go up in flames was actually something I took very seriously on this project. Two of my neighbors are an architect and a builder, so I got a lot of advice from them. The woodworking overlays the existing granite tile, which I believe is kosher. The wood does not touch the tile above the fireplace, which is where it gets hottest. From reading the manual on the firebox, I have met all of the installation criteria and local building codes. The biggest sticking point is that combustibles can not touch the metal of the firebox. I accomplished this by just leaving the old tile work in place, which was easier also.

There are in-wall speakers to the left and right of the wood wall and the center channel is in an angled box protruding from the ceiling. It’s more obtrusive than I wanted, but it’s the lesser of evils versus plunking a big white speaker in the wood.

In the words of “the dude,” it really ties the room together. The old fireplace was a bit forgettable in my opinion.

You can see more photos of the build in progress in this gallery.

Here’s a before picture for reference.
the fireplace before renovation

-- Ben, Atlanta,

View Mirscott's profile


1 post in 147 days

#12 posted 07-18-2018 12:23 AM

Hi! Newbie here! Just curious if there are actual plans /step by step tutorial on how you created this masterpiece? Would love to duplicate but have no idea where to start! Thanks!

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