Swan Corbels and a fireplace makeover

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I'm working on a fireplace re-design for a new client, with a tile facade that is an updated take on mission style.  Here's the vintage inspiration:

Source: redfin.com via Heather on Pinterest

We will do square tiles, possibly offset, that runs along the face and the hearth.  We are creating built-in shelves around the fireplace, but because the existing fireplace is set into the wall fairly flush, the shelves will essentially create a recessed fireplace.  Here's what we want to avoid:

Source: houzz.com via Heather on Pinterest

The fireplace just gets lost, and the mantel feels disconnected from the white built ins.

Instead, we will do shelves that are 12" deep, and for balance, we will do a mantel at the same depth, supported by simple decorative wood corbels.  I found this, which is almost exactly what I was picturing:

(except we are not working with such high ceilings, so no cabinet or arch at the top).  The tile we're using even looks similar.  So lovely, right?

Like so many other design elements, there are a million choices for corbels out there.  These things also get expensive, fast.  Because we want something simple, I am trying to keep it budget friendly, with a narrow bracket that will extend 2/3 of the way out the mantel.  Something like this:

$31 a piece, here.  Truth be told, I would like something a little fatter, but then the price leaps into the hundreds--for each corbel, and I think I need 5.  No dice.

While I was poking around the interwebs, I came across plenty of gorgeous specimens with all kinds of carving.  With all the animalia out there these days, I thought you guys would like to see this one:


Kinda makes me think of this table from Serena and Lily

Or these elephant console tables

Source: circawho.com via Gwynne on Pinterest

Or the rams head coffee tables that seem to be popping up all over.

Have I ever mentioned that my mom had a swan-base coffee table with glass top in the late 80s? She did. And oh, did I love it.

If you want more fireplace reference, check out my pins here and here.