At one point in our house's history the owners put new stone over whatever else faced the fireplace before. Instead of removing the mantle, putting new facing one and then replacing the mantle, they just put the stone around it. Because the stone sticks out over the mantle, and in some spots by quite a bit, it has made putting things on the mantle a little challenging. Because the stone is not completely flat, you can't really hang anything from it. Any pictures or mirrors I have, have to rest on top of the mantle (thereby taking up valuable display space) and be secured by chains into the ceiling above it.
(See how the stone sticks out?)
Things like this plate rack actually hang over the edge; just waiting for something to hit it and knock it over.
Pulling the mantle off was out of the question. The quickest thing I thought to do was to face the mantle with more wood and trim to make it a little deeper. I had to use 1/4 inch wood pieces for the sides to fit between the stones:
...and I used 3/4 inch pine for the front, along with some more trim at the top to add an extra 1/2 inch. I just nailed everything in, then glued and nailed the trim on. The actual facing and staining only took a day to complete; I only got the thing varnished yesteday!
I have been debating whether or not to do an aged paint treatment on the mantle so that's why it took me so long to decide whether to varnish it or not.
Here is the mantle now, and I can say it's much more fun to play around with!
(The blue candles don't really "go" here, but you get the idea!)
I'm not sure if I will put the mirror back on or not. It takes up a lot of space and is so heavy I still have to rest it on the mantle. If I can find a lighter one and try to hang it off the stone I will. For the moment I am loving the white iron decoration against the stone. I think I'll move the candles and put my white birds there, currently living in a box slated for the church sale! I also found some white porcelain fruit that would look pretty good up there I think.