Shelf Life: Thinking Outside the Box

I am all geared up to paint my mantle and built-ins in the den - today is the big day!  I have a can of primer and Dover White begging to be used!  But last week, I had to take care of one last item of business before the fun of painting could commence: the cable box and DVD player.  Since we moved in, here was the situation:

It's not that bad right?  Oh but take a look from the side view:

Womp ... womp ... womp.  How did this happen, you ask?  Well, it is simple.  The day before we moved all of our furniture in, we had about eleventy hundred contractors in and out of the house: furniture delivery, repairmen and, of course, the cable guy to get us up and running and then Geek Squad to set us up.  Geek Squad mounted our TV to the wall and set up the DVD player and cable box.  However, as they did so, they pointed out that our mantle was not quite deep enough for the cable box to sit on.  We chatted a bit and strategized and in the end, they left just enough extra cables behind the box & DVD player so that I could eventually install a shelf on the wall under the TV and above the mantle.  Easy peasy. Or so I thought. 

Of course, this was not easy peasy.  It was the opposite of easy peasy.  I needed a shelf that was about 13 inches deep so that the cable box would not be hanging off the edge of it like it is now.  It is nearly impossible to find a shelf this deep! Most are 8 or 10 inches.  I finally found exactly what I needed in the wood crafts section of Michael's!  It's actually a "plaque" and not a shelf, but it is the perfect dimensions: 

I bought a bunch of brackets to mount the shelf, but there is very little space between the bottom of the TV and the top of the mantle.  When I used the smallest brackets that I could find (4 inches tall), the DVD player was touching the bottom of the TV and it looked bad.  Really bad.  Brackets were a no go.  So, I had to think outside the box ... and actually create a little box.  What's that you say?  I will explain.   I found two scraps of 2x4s in the garage and realized they might make a sturdy little base for my plaque/shelf.  They could sit right on top of the mantle ... and looky that!

Now, obviously, I would not stand for the little 2x4 box to stay exposed like this.  I went to Lowe's and picked up some decorative trim to sort of trim out the 2x4 base.  I used my miter box and saw to cut on 45 degree angles.  And then I just used some finishing nails and a little glue to keep everything in place.  I was nervous about using the miter box, but it was so easy.  It just took a little trial and error to figure out which cuts went which way.  Here are some in progress shots and a picture of the box all nailed and glued.  I taped it together for 24 hours to let the glue set.

When the glue dried, I added a few beads of caulk at the edges and then swiped on some Dover White paint (which is the same color as all my trim and eventually the fireplace and mantle).  

I know I'm on a no-spend, but I really didn't spend anything.  I had the brackets (purchased in September) and returned them, which gave me a refund of $15.  The trim and finishing nails cost only $9, so there was no money out of pocket.  I had the caulk and paint already at home.  I'm pretty happy with how it turned out!

You know what this little bit of housekeeping means? I can start the mantle!  Now that the cable box and DVD player are off the mantle and snugly nestled on their little shelf, the mantle transformation can begin!  I am going for broke and painting both the mantle and the fireplace.  I stopped by my favorite Sherwin Williams store and chatted at length with my buddy there about how to paint the stone.  The plan is to prime all the woodwork with oil based primer and the stone fireplace with masonry/concrete primer, then use as many coats of Dover White by Sherwin Williams as necessary.  Yay!

See you swoon,

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