We still consider ourselves apprentices who are in constantly pursuit of perfecting our craft by learning more and more about our past and how to better merge it with our present contemporary setting because once you stop learning about your roots and origins you stop caring about your future projection and stop growing as a company or as individuals.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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 until the last century!
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 slowly overtakes the preservation needs of earlier structures, (built-in the last few hundred years) the unfortunate choice becomes more obvious as a triage approach becomes necessary. The bright side to this story is that nothing gets wasted nowadays.
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, more people from around the world have developed a passion in reusing and restoring every single old fragment that gets demolished: from this old nails to that old wallpaper!
There are interesting stories to each reclaimed mantle because they usually capture the essence of the ancient structures they once came from.
Even when the fireplace origins are unknown it could still shed a bit of light about its lineage.
By knowing what to look for and paying attention to every minute detail within the mantles one can start understanding the hidden markers.
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.
From a scribbled date or a capitalized initials, to a carved cote-of-arms or an angle cut of a keystone may be found and maybe indicative to the origins of each piece.
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.
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.
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.