Over the years, new owners modernized their homes, sometimes going so far as to tear out old fireplace surrounds and mantels to give their houses a more streamlined, modern look. If you’re the proud owner of a period house who is attempting to restore it, getting familiar with the types of fireplace surrounds, mantels and accessories that were in fashion during the era that your home was built can help you polish your restoration to perfection.
Antique fireplaces fall into just as many styles as the various styles of architecture. There are antique dealers who specialize in finding period antique fireplaces london for Victorian, Georgian, Edwardian, Federal, Early American and Art Deco style homes. When you shop for a fireplace to suit the décor of your restored home, the more detail you can give an antique fireplace dealer, the more likely it is that he’ll be able to find just the right pieces to finish your rooms. Below are some of the accessories and fireplace fittings that will add to the beauty and ambience of your finished rooms.
Antique Fireplace Surrounds
A fireplace without accessories is little more than a brick and stone lined hole in your wall. One of the most important pieces in establishing the character of an antique fireplace is the ‘surround’, which many people confuse with the mantelpiece. The mantel is actually part of the surround, which usually consists of two sides joined by the mantel piece. The surround was often built and installed in pieces, and installing a surround is a good DIY project if you’re handy with tools and measurement.
Antique fireplace surrounds may be made of metal (usually cast iron, but sometimes brass), wood or stone. Less expensive surrounds may be made of wood that has been enameled or painted to resemble marble. Some of the more elaborate include fitted frames for mirrors above the mantelpiece, carved scones and built-in shelves for displaying family treasures.
Antique Fireplace Firebacks
The back wall of the fireplace in older homes was often covered by a cast iron fireback. These firebacks were often ornately detailed with piercing, moldings or casting in fanciful designs ranging from flower motifs to cherubs and everything in between. A fireback usually was flat and fit only the rear wall of the fireplace, but some were full inserts fitted to the sides and back.