An Antique fireplace mantel is doubtless the most momentous item of furniture that you’ll invest for your house because it’s a permanent fixture that will survive and fit any of the house remodeling and endless redecoration and style changes that a home will have to endure over its lifetime.
A French Mantel is identified by its quintessential finesse regardless of carving style and design period. They are a bit lower and deeper than those of the Italians.
All along the 15th, 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, the extravagant style of fireplaces were generally correlated with French mantels and characterized by floral carvings,
detailed coats of arms and focused more on ‘story telling’. This genre of Neo-classical style came to lead during the reign of Louis XVI.
Ancient Surfaces’ wide gallery of fireplaces contains a trove of French and Italian antique limestone mantel fireplaces which is considered by many expert to be one of the world most significant in both size and importance.
Here’s an antique limestone mantle above was salvaged from France and was raised by a hearth to perfectly fit an existing fireplace box in California.
As for the style of mantles goes, the most sought after are 14th to 17th century gems that are Southern Italian, Tuscan or French Bastide also called French Farmhouse of Countryside fireplace which are characterized by their simplicity.
We, at Ancient surfaces, believe that beauty comes from simplicity, we take our time in restoring each original fireplace back to its former glory.
Nowadays, Newly hand carved limestone stone fireplaces are custom tailored to accommodate any firebox opening and can be carved out in any design.
A solid stone mantle adds many factors of interest to a house. Providing not only a source of warmth, but style, beauty and value. Ancient surface’s antique custom designed fireplaces are guaranteed to make your home the place where everyone wants to be. It easily becomes the centerpiece of your house, drawing both friends and family together around its warm glare.
These stone fireplace design ideas from our past projects will inspire a space you’ll never want to leave. Let it rain snow and hail outside so our mantels can warm you up with style. There is nothing better than a cup of hot coco in front of a warm fire after a long day in the cold!
Our fireplaces are custom-designed to accommodate you and your loved ones. Thinking about having some peace of mind and a good read? Where else then around a stone state of the art fireplace.
Scroll through the different fireplace designs and let yourself fall in love in our stone mantels, guaranteed to keep you warm.
French Rustic mantel fireplace vignette in an exposed wood ceiling living room.
A French-Victorian mix design will throw your heart and mind into a wonderful world of “make believe” right in your own home.
A roaring fire warms up the living room, with green and white detailed throw pillow as a compliment to the glowing embers. Limestone Coats of Arms emblems, antique limestone flooring, renaissance painting and classical Provence furniture were all enlisted for this ‘job well done’ design.
This French heavy carved majestic fireplace is the focal point in this master bedroom.
Rustic Provence look. Each architectural element in this picture has a story of its own and has witnessed a different angle of our rich human history.
The Combination of antique chairs, basalt table and stone fireplace seem to just work flawlessly together. The various indoor plants next to the mantel look perfect in their weathered urns.
A simple and clean line Antique Fireplace Mantle with Over mantle by Ancient Surfaces.
Old World Mediterranean, Italian home decor with a wide open indoor outdoor setting.
A Beautiful Architectural Bedroom with an Italian Fireplace in a Laguna Beach Master Bedroom.
Gorgeous, cozy Italian Villa lounge room with a fully carved Italian fireplace that makes you want to just sit there and marvel.
Hand carved French limestone fireplace mantel from the 17th Century. This small whimsical side fireplace nook makes you wonder how much attention to details has gone into the meticulous design of this beautiful and time honored estate.
Are you having problems coming up with the right design ideasfor your outdoor stone fireplace?
Do you feel like what’s out there on the market looks so cookie cutter and low quality that it could cheapen instead of enrich your backyard experience?
If you are hoping to include a unique looking stone fireplace into your wild outdoors you just might be in luck.
Installing a real elegant stone fireplacecould be a step in the right direction. Tired of the same ole copy paste Slam Depot stacked stone ‘fireplace kits’ that are “so easy you can install them yourself”?!
They are quite frankly the saddest thing to look at and are littered across the dot-com world that import all sorts of substandard goods guaranteed not to impress you nor enrich your outdoor living experience.
Poof! So glad we got that out of our system for a change. So now back to our regular dose of kumbaya and political correctness…
Here are some real Outdoor Stone Fireplace Masterpieces that deserve to be in your Backyard and should be worthy of setting the stage for your upcoming best memories you’ll be creating with your love ones.
Sometimes functional items are designed so beautifully that they blur the line between architecture and art. The stone fireplace surrounds in our collection are beautifully hand carved ancient works of art.
As the evenings growing colder, no wonder many of us start turning on the glow of their beloved fireplaces. Many of us think that it might be a little too late to remodel their fireplaces and replace them with the real deal. Well, think again! With some extra motivation fueled by your desire to enjoy your winter season in a European flair, you can have your own masterpiece.
Here are the top 10 most beautiful, inspiring, ancient and cozy fireplaces that maybe still within your grasp:
A fireplace is often a focal point already, but when holidays come, it takes on added significance —with Santa coming down the chimney and all. Encircle your Christmas stockings with mantel decorations to suit the holiday spirit. Once your fireplace is cheerful, it’s time to light a fire, sit back with a glass of wine and soak up that heart-warming feeling of the holidays at home.
A fireplace is always on display, but this time of year it’s especially under the spot lights, with friends and family warming up in front of a roaring fire or huddling in the living room for an evening of games or movies. The stone mantel, which usually is an added value actor throughout the year, lands a starring role around the holidays, with beautiful, stockings and string lights draped across it.
Here’s few of Ancient surfaces mantel fireplaces decorated in a very stunning way to add Christmas spirit into the room
They say nothing lasts forever, but we all know that one can own a few items that may last for generations to come. No, we’re not talking about a girl’s best friend to quote Marline Monroe. Even though our stones can’t be worn on your wrists or fingers, they still can be a crowd pleaser none the less. Installing an antique limestone fireplace in your family room can be the one design element that everyone in your family agrees with and is comforted by especially when it starts raining or snowing outside.
Pedigree (History and Provenance) of the fireplace aside, what design elements one should consider when selecting a fireplace that may last you a lifetime in some cases?
You always need to keep in mind that your fireplace selection will have to be a permanent fixture in your home and is supposed to live through any design change your room or home will be going through in the future. What would you rather go for? A well carved fireplace or a simply hand carved one? Let’s consider the positive aspects of both choices and see how they may pertain to your taste buds.
Fully carved stone mantles:
When considering a fully hand carved limestone fireplace close your eyes and think of a complex and rich multi-layered ‘Taurasi’ wine blend from ‘Campania’ that’s been well aged in oak barrels.
What nuances would your eyes savor? Can you envision tasting the Southern Italian Baroque acanthus leaves free flowing on this mantle corbeled sides or the rich and velvety pallet of the sprawling and spiraling vined foliage that can grace the front face of your unique fireplace?
Can you imagine the glowing heat radiating from inside the stone built firebox of such a captivating mantle? The reflected shadow of the flame dancing on the medieval carved limestone coupled with the intoxicating sound on the flickering burning wood becoming one with the melody of slowly decanted bottle of Barolo from Piedmont…
If you picture yourself in that frame, allow yourself to be captured by an antique well carved limestone fireplace that’s been salvaged from centuries old Renaissance or Baroque castles by Ancient Surfaces.
A fully carved fireplace of that era will define the look of your entire room and anchor your whole house with an authentic design persona.
Simple carved Fireplace:
Simply carved fireplaces allow visual evenhandedness between styles, finish patina and shade of the room and the stone of the fireplace. In a simple fireplace the design focus shifts from the carving to the actual antique limestone itself as it becomes the predominant design feature of the mantel instead of its minimal carved elements.
When it’s simple it goes with everything else right? Well yes that is true, but one has to be careful that going with everything doesn’t turn into a disappearing act where the mantle itself totally blends with its environment in the same way a window frame blends with the wall.
Simple architectural fireplaces when realized symmetrically and when created and carved under the golden ratio and the golden mean will carry more of a creative punch than most of its other ornately carved counterparts. Minimalism when portrayed in well-defined and harmonic ratios, guarantees you a powerful visual output and a soothing organic feel that will satisfy your design vision for that space.
With a simple yet elegant antique hand carved fireplace you’ll be looking more at the architecture, structure and patina of the fireplace and how its various component simply integrate together with your space.
As a wise man once said: “the simplest explanation is usually the correct one.” William of Ockham (c. 1287–1347)
Antique fireplace mantels are important pieces of furniture. They provide a classic look to the living room, warmth and coziness in the bedroom, or a meditative and unwinding therapy by the poolside patio.
These mantels have stood the test of time unlike their brand new counterparts. Also, a good antique reclaimer might offer an arsenal of refurnish antique accessories to complement the whole antique mantels ambiance that you’re trying to create in your home.
Such items include ancient metal gates, antique herringbone brickletts used to line the insides of the fireboxes, to the simple yet elegant and classic andiron and baskets that are salvaged from the 18 an 17th centuries.
Classic timeless pieces from the Norman medieval, Italian and French Renaissance or Edwardian and Victorian eras are the best options to choose from. While choosing from a variety of ancient hand carved stone mantels, generally, those offered by dealers are mainly simple with the occasional corbeled legs to them like the French countryside fireplaces, or with a nice bolection frame or picture frame looking mantles that were common during the late British Imperial era.
Various kinds of stone such as dolomitic limestone, brachiated marble or even basalt rock in some instances were used by pas carvers to create some of Europe’s most elaborate fireplace mantels for the last ten centuries.
So what is the best kind of stone to carve mantles out of? This stone remains uncontested since it grants mantles an eternal durability while allowing them to age gracefully. It’s a great heat conductor yes soft and textured to the touch.
This stone is seen in the most well preserved fireplaces in the world that were once carved out of. It is called the ‘Oolitic Limestone’ and its raw blocks are highly prized by master stone carvers from around the world.
As for the style of mantles goes, the most popular kind of fireplace mantel today are South European or the Tuscan or French Bastide and Normandy styles that are based on one simple philosophy of simplicity equals beauty, as long as that simplicity didn’t stand for losing the personality and historic characteristic that defines that particular fireplace and help set it apart from its counterparts.
Mostly sculptures realized in this style were a simple way for countryside residents to have functional yet elegant hand carved stone mantle that resonated with the simple countryside way of life.
They still offered a perfect balance of design and proportion based of the utilization the ‘Golden Ratio’ and ‘Golden Mean’ and by utilizing many other carving and visual tricks like the play on the visual perspective, ‘Chiaroscuro’ shade manipulations, ‘Foreshortening’ the play with lines, and ‘Sfumato’ which consist on blurring or not fully carving a section to give it a perception of distance.
All European regions are splendidly depicted in the mantel designs that originated from them. They speak volumes of the old continent past vestige and it’s timeline. When designing a house selecting the style of the fireplace will help you define the overall type of the home you want to build and live in.
The earliest known mantel piece is the one in the Kings House in Southampton. It was carved in the 12th century and is a classic example of splendid old masters craftsmanship.
A very wonderful example of the early Renaissance style fireplaces is the mantelpiece of the ‘Palais de Justice at Burges’. Seventeenth century English era saw the introduction of pure Italian style of fireplace mantel pieces.
These mantels were very simple in style but had an elegant look. It was only in the latter part of the 17th century that bolder and molding styles were introduced. In the 18th century the rise of French style of architecture was seen and the designs of the mantels too were influenced by the French style.
The other different but very elegant styles of fireplace mantels include the Classic Tudor, Jacobean, Victorian, Georgian, Gothic, Louis Style, Pompadour, directories… Antique fireplace mantels of the above mentioned eras and designs have gained a lot of popularity today.
There’s a good chance that most antique fireplaces you purchase on the market today would have originated from France or Italy where a bulk of architectural antique salvaging, acquisition, sale and storage reside.
In recent years a sensational thirst for rare and unique stone elements have surged all around the English spoken world from England to the United States and from Australia to Canada.
This recent spike in demand had put the pressured on supplies of genuine antique stone elements especially on one of a kind antique fireplaces. To learn more about those fascinating and unique architectural gems as well as their hand carved exact replicas feel free to please contact us through our website at Ancient Surfaces.
The Classical system is influential because the ideals and philosophy behind the system is not only based on what’s practical but is also geometrically sound, attractive to the eye and functional engineering wise. One can only say that the Classical orders are orders of visual splendor and cohesion.
THE CLASSICAL ORDERS OF ARCHITECTURE
The Greeks and in later centuries the Romans used the human body as their proportioning system for their buildings and architectural creations. So what is that system? For each style: Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian the proportions are based on each type of body. The male body inspired the Doric order, the female body the Ionic order, and the young maiden’s body the Corinthian order… nowadays any good architect/Geometer can create their interpretation of one of the three main orders as seen below
This is how this works for each order. In the Doric order the column’s ratio is 1:7. When the column’s diameter is 1′ wide at its base, the column’s height should then be 7′. Take an entire Doric structure like the Greek temple at Tholos for example; the 1:7 ratio is evident as all the building elements are in a 1 to 7 proportional relationship with one another. Even the window openings the spacing between each column and the ceiling carved motifs are all in 1:7 proportional relationships with the columns. Same goes for the Ionic and Corinthian order as well as all later orders.
The beautiful thing is that when using the Classical system these proportions and ratios encompass the entire building. Thus all the architectural elements, moldings, windows, doors, fireplaces, etc., would be tied in some way to the building’s order. What this means is that it was a pure and holistic system of building. Conceivably, if an owner requested a church to be built using the Ionic order, then with slight adjustments the master builder knew a great deal about the building, level of ornamentation, placement of windows, etc.
This idea brought great comfort to the Greeks. It was the Greeks that produced the greatest society of thinkers; Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and the mathematicians like Euclid for geometry and Pythagoras for math. There was no culture as obsessed with beauty and math and the sciences as the Greeks. They found inspiration in the human form, but it was not narcissistic attention to self that caused them to make the human form as a model.
They discovered as they dug deeper that the parts and pieces of the human form are mathematically pure as well; mathematical patterns that repeated themselves in trees, leaves, shells, bird and rock formations even. This hidden code was deified and was connected with the secret code of creation of everything living and inert. This mathematical miracle of sorts was rightfully called the golden mean.
THE GOLDEN MEAN
The golden mean is seen most clearly in its geometrical form, the golden rectangle. This rectangle with a short side of 3 and long side of 5 give us the mathematical ratio of 5:3. This ratio is represented by the irrational number 1.6183… This number, whether represented geometrically or mathematically, holds some divine attributes.
The Renaissance mathematician Fibonacci reveals some of the magic of this number in his famous sequence, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, etc. Known as the Fibonacci sequence, it mathematically represents the divine ideals of the golden mean. If we divide a lower number say, 55 into 89, it equals 1.618. This sequence of numbers is in turn tied to the proportions of rectangles found in the golden rectangle. This ratio has inspired and mystified scholars for years. Imagine the look of the Greek mathematicians faces, when they started seeing this golden mean all over nature, in the growth of a pine cone, in the face of a sunflower, in the nautilus shell and of course the human body.
The Golden Ratio on a Human Scale
This 5:3 ratio is found all over the human body. Leonardo da Vinci spent a great deal of time measuring all parts of the human body and comparing them to one another.
He found this ratio again and again. It is thought by some to have helped define the face of Mona Lisa herself. This proportional ratio is found when we compare our overall height to the height of our belly button, in the hand to the forearm. It is like we have God’s fingerprint all over and throughout nature.
The Greeks certainly saw this as an important ratio, and we see it throughout their famous temples as an overriding organizational tool.
It is this ability to organize, harmonize and beautify buildings and architectural elements such as fireplaces according to a universal ideal that enthralled the Greeks. Beauty for them was order, balance and harmony.
An Antique Fireplace Mantle Hand Carved in the 16th century Using the Golden Ratio Harmonic Equation.
It was only natural that the math and order it wrought gave them such satisfaction. In order for us to build a timeless house, we must use these same rules, principles and proportions in our designs that were cherished by the early Greeks and Romans.
we wanted to shine some light on these beautiful bedrooms inspired by the same classic styles of Architectural Digest Magazine and Veranda Magazine. Only this time the subtle and sophisticated take on modern classic decor is distinguished and gives us a glimpse of hope in making this beautiful era relative to our contemporary and multi-cultural lives.
some of their furniture shown in those images only appears ancient because of the antique aging process and hand-waxed lacquer finish but the detail in craftsmanship is undeniable so we won’t hold that against them. Using metallic fabrics and bold color in unexpected places while remaining true to the idiosyncratic fashion of the old world is simply a great combination for any period room. Wouldn’t it be grand to wake up in one of these royal-sized beds with the sun shining into your massive french windows as you examine the finishing touches of such flawlessly elaborate architecture and ponder the meaning of life? We’d like to think so…
Here you will see Baroque and Medieval inspired bedrooms with a modern flair. We only hope you come back to reality soon enough to enjoy our next post!