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See 8 Living Room Timber Mantels

Mantels have been used for thousands of years often above fireplaces to display family portraits and heirlooms. They are often requested during floor plan design. Below are six examples of wood beam mantels in custom homes that we’ve built.

Traditional style wood mantel is very simplistic in design that compliments the fireplace arch below it while settling nicely into the stone both above and below.

This mantel surface is not placed up against a wall surface but instead has posts leading up to the ceiling from it.

The top piece is a straightforward beam while the supporting corbels have an attractive slope to them that gives this mantel a “classic” feel.

By utilizing logs for the construction of this nautical feeling mantel, it falls squarely into the “coastal” category.

In this gorgeous master bedroom, the mantel breaks up the space between fireplace and tv, setting the stage for candles.

Mantel sizing is designed to fit with the proportions of the trusses above. Any smaller and it would feel “weak”.

Wood Beam Mantel History

Mantels began to surface with European royalty as early as 500 AD. They became a place for art and self-expression. Some of these mantels were extravagantly ornate. Many would span whole walls and even had sculptures carved into them.

Around the turn of the 17th century the stylings changed from English influence to Italian. This marked the end of the lavish mantel appearance. Simple mantels were now more common as the world became more and more sensible in its style and design. Since then, styles have fluctuated, sometimes using sculptured corbels, sometimes extremely basic. The mantel has now evolved into the basic styles we see today.

“Mantels in the past, have been used primarily to display the family portrait.”

This Douglas Fir mantel has been burnt and then brushed to provide a striking finish with a defined grain pattern.

What does a mantel symbolize?

A mantel symbolizes what is close to your heart.

Fire and warmth are closely linked with survival. A fire in the kitchen is used for cooking and preparing food, which is necessary for survival, and a fire in the living room means safety and leisure. For me, this means family time, relaxation at the end of the day, and a late-night place for concentration and learning.

As far as design goes, I love it when pragmatic solutions are combined with artistic creativity. I prefer having practical criteria to work with, a dilemma to solve and then using artistic creativity.

For those who want a simple, straightforward design, the decision process will include the following questions:

1) What width is needed to place items upon the mantel?

2) What is a desirable mantel height?

3) What are the height and width criteria regarding fire safety?

4) How big should our mantel be?

This mantel flairs up on either side with an elegant curve that gives mild “flag” vibes while keeping with the reserved, darkened tones of the rest of the timbers.

The take-away for you today is that your choices of design are wide open. Even with something as simple as a mantel, you get to have fun getting what you want. To really expand your enjoyment and self-expression, let’s get started on your timber frame project today!

Here’s to your next action steps!

Bert Sarkkinen


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