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I dragged the mantel into place-ish (Linus assisted), just to get a sense of how it would look and feel. Even though this thing is quite a bit newer than my house, I feel like it plays really nicely with our moldings. As you can tell from the floor patch, its about a foot or so wider than what was here originally, which is something I sort of fretted over before deciding to just go with. I really didnt want to get into trying to hack the mantel down to the right” size (I liked the proportions of it as-is), and I really liked the idea of using this mantel in particular because I had it, I didnt have to pay for it, and I liked the whole story behind it. Something new or salvaged just wouldnt have held the same meaning to me.
Unfortunately, this plaster wall was just beyond the point of trying to salvage. The plaster had separated a lot from the lath, it had some very significant cracks, and had undergone some failed repair attempts over the years with lots and lots of joint compound but nothing (like mesh tape, plaster buttons, or screening) to stabilize the plaster from further shifting. Even though I want to save as much of the original plaster walls in the house as possible, the best course of action here was to just start over, so thats what I did!
Since new 1/2″ drywall wouldnt match the original depth of the plaster walls, I experimented with reusing the original lath strips, this time nailed directly onto the wall framing. I could have also just left all of google the lath in place, but Id already taken it down and this allowed me to still salvage the bulk of it for some other use down the road. I have no idea what to do with all my lath, but Ill come up with something!
Putting up the new drywall was no big thing. Since the underlying framing wasnt very smooth, the drywall wasnt either—but I had a plan! I actually wanted it to be a little irregular to mimic the look of the other plaster walls. Learning to make a Stone Fire place