Many people had suggested painting the brick. If this had been our forever home I could have been persuaded. Still felt the need that any major change needed to be neutral and that would make a new potential homeowner feel that they could live with what we did. That was challenging.
The hearth is the bottom block of the fireplace - eyesore! To narrow as well. The mantel is only one brick width- really need I say no more about how UGLY and useless the mantel was?
I'll tell you first, the idea came when we were making a "floating shelf" we used shelf brackets. I turned to my husband and asked him if he couldn't do that with a mantel and then the ideas popped.
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When we bought this house I asked my husband what he envisioned. I had to prod him. His first response was I'll provide the money and labor to provide you your palace.
I was never about flowers and I had two sons at home (My daughter had already left the nest) and they appreciated more of the "manly Safari look". Now that they are out of the nest - I told hubster he gets to chose. He wanted an Ocean theme. We really love our place and creativity that together we call home.