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Archive for May, 2011


Salvaging isn’t only a happening kinda think that started in the last few years with the rise of the global green conscience… It’s a bit early than that.

Well OK let’s go WAY back here… Back to 3500 B.C. or 5500 years ago to the first recorded human battle: “The Battle for Hamoukar” story has it that an early city army in what is known today as modern-day Iraq invaded the city of Hamoukar in modern-day Syria and took it over. Researchers tell us that clay pots, massive mills and grinding wares from one culture were used by the conquerors far after they’ve won the battle. Evidence shows that cooking utensils from the conquered city kept on being used for at least a few more generations! In essence early reclamation was inseparable  from conquest and keeping the spoils of war. Visit our website at: http://www.AncientSurfaces.com/Antique-Fireplaces.html

Reenactment in utilization of ancient cooking tools and techniques

Reenactment in utilization of ancient cooking tools and techniques. Similar cooking tools were salvaged by humans and reused from one culture to the next.

Today reclamation and salvaging  have undoubtedly become part of our human psyche and daily lives, developing into the skillful art of re-purposing a once neglected and discarded item into a functional and lively ‘ object d’art ‘ of  intense beauty and a colorful past. Visit our main website at: http://www.AncientSurfaces.com/Antique-Fireplaces.html

A 200 years old ruined dtone farmhouse in the American Midwest

A 200 years old ruined stone farmhouse in the American Midwest

Even though the basic building materials have always been the same: stone, cooked earth and lumber, the items salvaged from two rundown farmhouses in provenance for example could differ vastly in salvaged content. Age and village being the same, style, level of craftsmanship, size, attention to details, color and current condition play major roles in determining the items final public appeal and therefore cost of an old fireplace from another. For more information visit our website at: http://www.AncientSurfaces.com/Antique-Fireplaces.html

Salvaged Twice!

Salvaged Twice! one as a fireplace the second as an entryway.

For the reclaimer the fireplaces or what is normally left of them are the “Pièce de résistance ” in an old home. On average only one in five reclaimed structures offers unique original fireplace mantles that are significant enough to be refurbished and restored back to their former glory. This entryway to a private Italian villa shown in the picture above, was once a vibrant fireplace mantle of another structure that was demolished a couple of  hundred years ago. Reclamation is no different from coal mining you just never know when you might find a hidden diamond! For more information visit our website at: http://www.AncientSurfaces.com/Antique-Fireplaces.html

Another Architectural gem nestled between overgrown shrubs in Europe

Another Architectural gem nestled between overgrown shrubs in Europe

It’s more like a diamond in the rough really. It takes time, skills and passion in locating all the missing pieces and finding out how they all fit into this massive jigsaw puzzles called antique fireplaces. If you like to see more of our reclaimed mantels please visit our website at:  http://www.AncientSurfaces.com/Antique-Fireplaces.html

Ancient Reclaimed Medieval Walk-in Mantel

Ancient Reclaimed Medieval Walk-in Mantel

An Antique Stone Fireplace with 3 Layers of Paint, Missing its Top Shelf.

An Antique Stone Fireplace with 3 Layers of Paint, Missing its Top Shelf. Image taken prior to reclamation.

More time then often all the original pieces of a fireplace are not all found so a substitution of a few pieces are deemed necessary to complete the transition from the mount of broken terracotta floors, stone walls and piles of foliage and dirt into a fireplace in a lucky client’s living room! For more information about our reclaimed antique fireplaces please visit our website at:  www.AncientSurfaces.com/Antique-Fireplaces.html

Antique fireplace mantel getting reclaimed in Corsica

A French Antique fireplace mantel getting reclaimed with the help of a hydraulic crane. Step-2-

Eventually everything in this ruined farmhouse gets saved and reused from the old wood beams, the stone walls, the ancient furniture and the limestone floors all get a second chance in other people home. For more information about our reclaimed antique fireplaces please visit our website at:  www.AncientSurfaces.com/Antique-Fireplaces.html

A French Antique fireplace mantel getting reclaimed with the help of a hydraulic crane

A French Antique fireplace mantel getting reclaimed with the help of a hydraulic crane. Step-3-

In a way the memory of this farmhouse, its walls, floors and fireplace will live on for centuries to come  giving a new meaning to the term reincarnation. Please visit our website at:  www.AncientSurfaces.com/Antique-Fireplaces.html

Installed ancient fireplace mantle in a French Provance style home

Installed ancient fireplace mantle in a French Provence style home

A similar fireplace from the same age and provenance as the reclaimed fireplace above shown installed in a French provincial style home. For more information please visit our site at:  www.AncientSurfaces.com/Antique-Fireplaces.html

Covered with layers of moss, barnacles and traces of ancient paint every single stone piece is a gem by itself reveling interesting clues of what life looked like just a few hundred years back in farmhouses across the south of Europe and on the Mediterranean coast. To learn more please visit our site at:  http://www.AncientSurfaces.com/Antique-Fireplaces.html

Architectural Digest Magazine April 2011
This Antique fireplace mantle was showcased in a Malibu house half way across the world from where it was originally reclaimed and restored from. For more information about our reclaimed antique fireplaces please visit our website at:  www.AncientSurfaces.com/Antique-Fireplaces.html
Architectural Digest Magazine April 2011. An antique reclaimed fireplace mantel in Malibu, CA

Architectural Digest Magazine April 2011. An antique reclaimed fireplace mantel in Malibu, CA

This beauty feels right in home with its surroundings in sunny Malibu, California. For more information about our reclaimed antique fireplaces please visit our website at:  www.AncientSurfaces.com/Antique-Fireplaces.html

The Antique Mantle prior to installation as featured in AD 2011 April edition

The Antique Mantle prior to installation as featured in AD 2011 April Edition

To in involved in this reclamation process is nothing short of a spiritual experience were one painstakingly rediscovers the lost and narrow path to redemption and enlightenment trough hard labor, vision and determination.

To learn more please visit our Website at:  http://www.ancientsurfaces.com/Antique-Fireplaces.html

or call our sales office at: 212-461-0245

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Our online catalog:

http://issuu.com/ancientsurfaces/docs/ancient_surfaces_online_catalog

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We like to sharing some facts related to antique reclaimed fireplaces, the ancient structures that they came from and how to preserve this unique human heritage by incorporating those architectural gems back into our living environments, once they unfortunately get uprooted from their original structures due to father time, mother nature and centuries of human disrepair.

Antique Fireplace Prior to Reclamation in an Old Italian Mansion

Antique Fireplace Prior to Reclamation in an Old Italian Mansion

We do get asked a good question that we feel the need to address: Why not restore the structures and preserve this history within them for generations to come? And the simple answer to that question is that its impossible to restore every single structure ever built untill the last century!

Cinque Terre May 26th 2011- A new meaning for people living on top of each other.

Cinque Terre May 26th 2011- A new meaning for people living on top of each other.

Both private and public owners around the world are constantly facing that same dilemma, to make the tough choice between what to restore and what not. As demand for the existing land trumps the preservation need for later structures say built-in the last few hundred years the choice gets more obvious as a triage approach becomes necessary. The bright side to this story is that nothing gets wasted nowadays.

Antique Fireplace Mantle Prior to Reclamation

Antique Fireplace Mantle Prior to Reclamation

The image of a wrecking ball destroying great-grandpa’s cottage is a thing of the past. Thanks to the public awareness of multiple millions of professional and armature reclaimers alike that have developed a passion in reusing and restoring every single old fragment that gets demolished: from old nails to old wallpaper!

Ancient Farmhouse in Europe

A stunning antique fireplace in an ancient farmhouse in Europe

There are interesting stories to each reclaimed mantle because they usually capture the essence of the ancient structures that they once came from.

Antique fireplace mantle in a french villa in Avignon Circa 1610 A.D.

Antique fireplace mantle in a french villa in Avignon Circa 1610 A.D.

Even when the fireplace origins are unknown it could still shed a bit of light about its lineage.

Reclaimed Mantle Avignon
Reclaimed Mantle Near the Town of Avignon

By knowing what to look for and paying attention to every minute detail within the mantles one can start understanding the hidden markers.

Reclaimed Mantle Maltese Stars

Reclaimed Mantle Maltese Stars

Just like in humans were the eyes could be the window to the soul as they say, the mantle midsection could carry a ton of information on who the mantle owners were and what they held dear to their harts.

Ancient Limestone Lintle of an Antiqur Fireplace Mantle

Ancient Limestone Lintel of an Antique Fireplace Mantle

From a scribbled date or a capitalized initials, to a carving or cote-of-arms or an angle cut of a keystone may be found.

Reclaimed Mantles in situ in an Old coastal European private villa

Reclaimed Mantles in situ in an Old coastal European private villa

The general rule of thumb is that the more unique and individual an antique mantle was, the more pivotal the villa or mansion it must have been in.

Ancient Fireplace Reclaimed from Spain installed in a castle in California Circa 1650

Ancient Fireplace Reclaimed from Spain installed in a castle in California Circa 1650

Notably, as time went on, the stone fireplace mantle became a defining marker of nobility and a Status symbols in all European countries and kingdoms with no exception.

Reclaimed Mantle Villa Benata

Reclaimed Mantle Villa Benata

It became so much so ‘the’ status symbol that it was were many European families chose to carve their Heraldic arms and last names on, which in itself was the most important socioeconomic marker of the 13th century and still is in some ways.

Ancient Norman era fireplace mantle with a threatening coat of arms

Ancient Norman era fireplace mantle with a threatening coat of arms

To learn more please visit our Website at:  http://www.ancientsurfaces.com/Antique-Fireplaces.html

or call our sales office at: 212-461-0245

Our other Blogg with BloggerOur Facebook pageOur Twiiter page

Our online catalog:

http://issuu.com/ancientsurfaces/docs/ancient_surfaces_online_catalog

Read Full Post »

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