At The Bank salvage yard on Felicity Street, Kelly and Sean Wilkerson turn old mantels into kitchen islands. Their father came up with the idea when the mantels became obsolete. According to Sean, "The cypress coal burning mantels are unusable these days being that no one is burning coal anymore. Gas and wood burning fireplaces are much larger than the coal ones were."
Instead of tossing their extensive stock, The Bank repurposes matching pairs into islands, wine bars and rolling carts. They position the mantels roughly 2 feet apart. "Then we take the legs of other mantels and other things that weren't salvageable and come up with things for the sides," says Kelly Wilkerson. "We can do doors on the sides and open shelves for menus, cookbooks, things like that, pots, pans."
Sean says, "The inside becomes usable as well. There's no wasted space. We put doors and latches on them so you can reach in and use it for your stemware or wine openers or what have you." Once the island's put together, there's no limit to finishing options. Some people go for a faux finish. Another great bet it to top it off with stone. "You don't have to do a wooden top and you can do a granite or cobblestone or some kind of marble as a top and actually cut on it and really use it," says Kelly.
They're selling like hotcakes, but you don't have to have one made. With a little ingenuity and some elbow grease, you can purchase a pair and build your own custom island for roughly the same price (although let's be honest...it's much easier to have one made)!
While the fire may be gone, the fireplace mantels are sure to warm up the design of any kitchen!