When we moved into our house the first thing I noticed was the original brick fireplace. Though it wasn't painted white at the time, it had such amazing character, and it didn't hurt that we had never had an actual fireplace in our previous homes before. Here's what it looked like prior to painting.
I know painting brick can be kind of controversial in the design world as far as personal preference goes, but I figured I wanted it white, and if later down the road I want it to change I can easily remove the paint/have a more distressed look. The first thing we did for this do it yourself project was run to the hardware store and purchase brick screws and anchors. Next we measured where we would want the mantel itself to determine the size. We opted out of doing a full wall mantel with visions of doing a built in shelf to the right for cable boxes and photo frames.
We used 2x4's as the interior frame that would be the base for the cosmetic mantel. Once we were done measuring we secured it to the brick fireplace.
Next we determined the width of the mantel and cut 2x4's to size and attached them to the first 2x4. Once these pieces were in place we could start cutting our mantel boards.
We used 1x6 boards for the exterior cosmetic mantel and stained them with our favorite minwax stain, walnut. All we had to do once the boards were cut down to size was to attach them to the interior 2x4's and we had ourselves a beautiful do it yourself fireplace mantel!
A few things have changed in this space. Here's a photo of the fireplace mantel in its current state.