Rustic Mantel Buyer’s GuideWhat really sets us apart? What makes our mantels better?

Countree Living/Best of Nature Mantels has been crafting solid wood mantels for 35+ years! This gives every customer a lot of experience-Decades. Each mantel is meticulously crafted with experienced hands.

The Best of Nature Log and Timber Mantels are all handcrafted, using the very same traditional hand held tools (now antiques!) used 150-200 year ago….various drawknives, many types of chisels, mallets etc.

Very few use these hand tools in their mantel crafting-as this is can be a demanding way to handcraft wood mantles-YET-you will SEE and FEEL the differences! Still hand made. These wood mantels truly are one of a kind.

See & Feel the Difference: The wood mantels we craft are A LOT different than others rustic mantels. Even though the mantels we create are rustic; we also take the time to carefully create user friendly surfaces. Surfaces that YOU CAN SEE AND FEEL, without getting slivers from rough sawn or hewn wood. We hand sand each side, sand all the surfaces. They are made to be elegantly rustic, YET- if one wants to touch and feel the surfaces, they can, and- they’ll admire and enjoy thinking about what it took to make them the way we craft them.

Ease of Installation: The mantels we handcraft and build are made in a way that makes it is easy for the installation. The back sides are made as smooth and as square as possible to the top mantel shelf. Unlike some companies--- which are left very rough, and thus-not square….and then, not easy for installing them.

  • The MANTLE TOPS - these are sawn and then sanded smooth to provide a VERY user friendly surface for using in any way. Being smooth versus rough, now you can place any items on the mantel top, and-they won’t be tippy… And-for the ease of cleaning, this just leaves a much nicer surface to do that. Be very aware of all of these things when rustic mantle shopping! These small details all take time-but you will end up with one of the highest quality handcrafted mantels available in the industry.

Our ONLY focus is on building rustic solid wood mantels. For decades, our reputation was built upon providing handcrafted products - of award winning quality. We are not distributors, sub contractors, home builders, or the like. Our only products are rustic mantels, and we strive for 110% satisfaction, nothing less. YOU - work directly with the company and mantel designers/crafters one on one. Many customers truly enjoy this personal attention!

Our products have been featured in:

  • Log Home Living
  • Country's Best Log Homes
  • Log Home Design Ideas
  • Early American Life
  • and various other publications
  • In 2008, Early American Life magazine awarded Countree Living/Best of Nature as "One of America's Best in traditional handcrafting of rustic furnishings"

Moisture contents: We only utilize wood that has been stable and cured for long periods. In cases like the Timberwood mantels - these are mostly reclaimed from buildings built back in the 1850-1900’s era. Log mantels we produce, have been dried down to arrive at an acclimated moisture content.

Experience: We have staff that has over 30+ years experience in the log and timber home industry, the rustic furniture business, and-decades building rustic fireplace mantels--so this knowledge is utilized every single day!

Photos from Our Archives and the Past

There are times we find artifacts from the past. Sometimes-initials. Other times-certain markings, carvings. 

A board found during a barn disassembly in 2013. It was written on this board “This home is built for a chicken barn in the year 1916 in the name of the United States by Carl Hass, Calvin Helming and Christ Zimmerman. The man who finds this writing come over to me and I will give him a penny” Calvin Helming RR#3 Elkhart Lake

Just think - a penny… back then… a 100 years ago from today….

Hand Hewn Beam Painted Kalk in Red Barn Paint

There was another group of farm buildings built in the1810-1830’s by the Schwinn family outside the Howards Grove Wisconsin area. A large assortment of structures-and there we found a timber initialed by-probably Anna Mary Schwinn. Here is a photo of the family found in a book published on the family history from 1808-2008, and buildings behind- that were disassembled some years back.

Photo from Schwinn Family 1808-2008, History Book
A Hewn Timber Initialed by Anna Mar
A Lot of Old Stories Come From These Settings
All Hand Labor & Teamwork; Now Ready for a Second Life