Mantel Party

We're in the middle of a mantel crisis around here. Actually? I'm the one in crisis mode. My husband isn't all that worried about it. See...we replaced our wood stove insert with a bigger & MUCH lovelier wood stove insert (although insert #1 was lovely, too, honey - don't take that the wrong way!) a few months ago. The problem? We need to add a row or two of bricks above the new insert because of that whole "distance to combustibles" problem. So...to avoid our house going up in flames if our mantel became a bit too warm for its own good, my husband just cut the mantel we had in half.

There are all sorts of things a person can discover when they start taking apart those things previous owners had done to their home. This house has been a doooo-oooooo-oooo-zy for those discoveries. The mantel was no different. If you look closely you can see the warp-age in the board. Loverly...

I've done the best I can with what I have right now. No matter what I try to put on the mantel right now, it's too wide. The mantel is simply too skinny but mantel-less? Can't do it. It's worse.

So...this is less me looking for ooh's and ahh's and more me looking for sympathy... and maybe an idea or two. I have so many decisions to make here. First, see below the hearth stone slab thing? We're going to close that in to hide all of the ugliness. Plus, we need to put down some sort of hearth pad. Bigger wood stove means bigger sparks.
Also...I'm thinking I might I paint my bricks BUT... I have to decide on a wall color and get that figured out first. Someday. Maybe. Hopefully before I retire... I'll post "after" pictures, link back to this post and someone might feel like saying "good job" then. Considering the dilemma this thing has me in, I'll probably need the support...

In the meantime...the insert is "the Hampton." That's all I know it as. It's this most amazing chocolate brown - like a melting Hershey's bar. It is the most beautiful behemoth I have ever, ever seen and as I walk out the door every day I marvel that it is mine. My mantel may not be anything spectacular but my insert sure is...
Linking up with Nester today. She's hosting a mantel party. Now...there's a place to see a pretty mantel!

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