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The most blaring vision of debauchery was our kitchen as it was left vacant of the intricacies and details that had inspired me. It was not how the kitchen design was even specified. I had cut out pictures and shown the kitchen designer and my awful builder what it was supposed to look like:

Yet I faced a striped down version of it that was void of any detail. When I pointed it out to my builder that I had wanted an over mantle at the very least, he quoted us a figure that was 1/4 of the cabinet cost!!!!

I figured we could tackle a mantle shelf with corbels, and, since they were low, they *must* be solid wood, but they could be of sub-par wood since they were going to be painted. For example, I didn’t need to pay a premium for cherry wood, which is aΒ stain grade, and more expensive, I just wanted the heaviness and density of wood. Normal home improvement stores just don’t carry things like this and what I wanted didn’t sell direct to the public (I spend more time trying to work around this issue!), but luckily we live relatively close to a specialized wood shop that was able to order it for me. After showing a friend who is an interior designer the picture of the corbels I wanted, she told me to expect to pay $1,000 a corbel – yikes!! However, I got them for a little less than $300/piece…. I took that as a sign πŸ™‚

For the mantle shelf, you will need:

  • 2 corbels
  • 2 planks of wood
  • 3 scrap blocks of wood
  • Crown molding (we had to use base board molding flipped upside down with smaller, flat molding added to the middle, due to spacing issues)
  • Drywall screws
  • Saw
  • Miter box
  • Wood filler
  • Caulk
  • Sand paper of varying grit
  • Paint (and primer) or stain

The two planks vary in dimensions based upon your crown molding projection, so if your crown molding would go 5 inches into the wall, the lower plank (or bottom of your mantle shelf), will be 10 inches shorter for the 5” on each and 5 inches less in the width.

You will attach these two planks together with the scrap blocks of wood that are cut to the height of the crown molding minus the depth of the two pieces of wood. (You can also attach the bottom of the crown a little higher of the shelf, but the top of the crown needs to be flush with the top of the shelf.) Attach these blocks on the two short sides and one long side.

Once those are attached together, you will surround it with molding on 3 sides. This is where the miter box, saw and swearing come in handy, because outside corners are tough. If you are painting your shelf, then there is an advantage because you can fill in small cracks with wood filler and caulk πŸ™‚

Forgive the pictures, I don’t have the benefit of a professional photographer with lighting!

But, we weren’t done. Not by a long shot. There were many things I wanted to do to the kitchen to customize it and take it from a “stock” kitchen to a “wow” kitchen!