Beautiful classic fireplace surrounds of the past were constructed with a galaxy of stylish features and an array of material resources. The architectural details created on many of them ranged from the simple but elegant cottage brick or stone fireplace surrounds to the polished cast iron fireplace surrounds of the Victorian and Edwardian eras.
The fireplace surround was crafted with pride, and the style and size almost always depended on social status and income. What is certain is that the interior designs of the 19th and 20th century homes took the fireplace as one of the most important interior elements that deserved a lot of creative thoughts and attention.Credit: enterprisewood
Today, there are thousands of reproduction styles of vintage or antique fireplaces and fireplace surround ideas abound online and at most stores that specialise in fireplace designs and installations.
Classical Fireplace Mantels and Surrounds
Classical fireplace mantels were mostly designed and built with pine, hardwood or marble. They consisted of elaborately carved features and details, and were edged with brass or steel. The cheaper variations were made with painted fibrous plaster that looked equally nice and convincing.
The classical reproductions have real or constituted marble slabs, with their edges and fire openings lined with shiny brass or polished steel.
Hole-In-The-Wall Fireplace Surrounds
This design is the simplest of fireplace mantels. The opening is mostly edged with metal, and it comes with a fire basket for burning the fuel. For the top of the range variation, designs come with a French influence, which has either a brick, slate or stone plinth. Wood for fuelling can be stored below the plinth.
Victorian & Edwardian FireplacesCredit: Gas fireplace
Reproduction styles of the Victorian and Edwardian fireplace surrounds come in an array of materials. However, the most popular and commonly sought designs are the wood surrounds and the cast iron types enhanced with decorative ceramic tiles and polished cast iron insets.
The size and shape of a room will determine the size of these classic heating systems. Sizes do vary, and range from the smaller ones for the bedrooms, to the more grandiose and regal proportions.
Cottage Style Fireplaces
These are simple arched fireplaces constructed with brick or stone. Cottage style mantels and fireplaces are one of today's popular choices for those who love the vintage look. Modern variations may also use briquettes. I many cases, the chimney breast wall and seating are sometimes decorated with similar materials to echo and enhance the rustic theme.
Inglenook Fireplace Mantels and Surrounds
A style used during the medieval era, the inglenook fireplace surrounds was built big enough for two people to sit in. These fireplace surround styles were constructed, to specifications; with stone or brick materials. They are constructed with ample space for fuel (wood) storage, but really have to be built to specifications.
Fire for heating is contained within a fire basket which sits on a raised plinth. A metal hood is installed to aid in drawing up the smoke into the chimney.
Tudor Fireplace SurroundCredit: rochesterfireplaces
The Tudor style is a stone carved surround with a perpendicular arched opening. The interior of the fireplace is lined with stone or brick materials. Tudor stone fireplace surrounds work well in wood panelled rooms and grand traditional libraries, but there are scaled down modern reproductions with sizes as small as 140cm high by 150cm wide. These smaller versions do not look out of place in a fair sized cottage style home design.
Choosing The Right Fireplace
All in all, whatever the size or style of your choice of fireplace mantels and surrounds, there is nothing as comforting as traditional style eco-friendly heating systems. And though they may take a lot of work to design and construct fireplaces, the effort put into constructing one will be certainly worth it when the end result is attained.
And for those who live in small house designs or flats, where getting fuel storage facilities poses a challenge, gas flame effect fires, complete with classical fireplace mantles and surrounds, are convincing enough alternatives.