Fireplace Mantels Then and Now

Fireplace mantels are powerful symbols of domestic life. Wood mantels have always received special attention by designers and architects. Today’s reproduction fireplace mantels remain one of the best examples of the major architectural periods.

Decorative fireplace mantels weren’t common in American homes until later in the Colonial period. Early settlers did little to beautify their large fireplaces. Back then the fireplace was purely utilitarian. As homes become more refined, fireplace mantels appeared in simple forms.

First American fireplace mantels consisted of a simple wooden trimwork surrounding the coarse brick opening. Some versions of wood fireplace mantels had a narrow mantel shelf. In the eighteen century, fireplace openings were often surrounded by wood paneling that extended over the entire fireplace wall.

Elegant interior design with fireplace mantel; interior design ideas, decorating inspiration

Georgian Fireplace Mantels

Later in the Georgian period, grand homes featured the fireplace mantels as an essential showpiece of bold and classical styling. Large columns or pilasters led up to a meticulously carved mantel shelf. Fireplace mantel shelves were not deep, but often quite high.

An over-mantel was very common. Fireplace over-mantels often included a rectangular frame and the second set of pilasters or columns supporting a pediment above. The carved detailing of the wood fireplace mantels was frequently tied into the room’s ceiling cornice.

Federal Fireplace Mantels

Federal period brought exceptionally elegant fireplace mantels with restrained classical detailing. The basic forms and proportion of the Federal fireplace mantels have become a standard for a lot of traditional mantels designs.

Evolving out of the Georgian fireplace mantels and mainly influenced by the designs of Adam style, Federal fireplace mantels included the essential fireplace mantel parts in the refined form. Typically Federal style fireplace mantels were simple and did not include an overmantel. Central frieze panel of wood fireplace mantels decorated with garlands, urns and carved onlays.

Beautiful carvings, delicate moldings of classic motifs and the use of build-up molding treatment for the mantel shelf are characteristic features of the Federal era wooden fireplace mantels.

Victorian Fireplace Mantels

Victorian designs of the fireplace mantels are characterized by their break with the classical rules of composition. Victorian fireplace mantels employed classical elements, such as pilasters, columns, entablatures, and traditional moldings. These classical elements were liberally mixed with Gothic shapes, spindle work, and exotic Asian imagery. Typical examples of Victorian fireplace mantels have ornate imaginative designs, and often include over-mantels with display shelves and inset mirrors.

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Wood fireplace mantels from our collection are true works of art. Showcasing traditional craftsmanship, our wooden fireplace mantels are worthy of fine estates and will add value to your home. Beautiful traditional designs of these fireplace mantels make it easy to incorporate them into any decorating scheme. Fireplace mantels can be stained to match your existing woodwork. If you wish, you can finish these wonderful mantels with paint.

Elegant interior design with fireplace mantel; interior design ideas, decorating inspiration

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