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In a recent discussion with a custom home builder and his client the question of picking the right French style antique limestone fireplace mantle has proven to be much tough to answer than previously though!

There was some focused around whether they should construct all seven full masonry fireplaces or have some antique stone mantle sit on top fire box inserts. As with anything there are pro’s and con’s.  The builder thinks that solid masonry fireplaces will work much better with the antique fireplaces when an insert firebox is his preference for the master bedroom. As the debate went on we shared several past projects photos with the builder and client of both cases and near the end they were able to select that firebox type went where.

In today’s post we want to chow everyone the various design ideas and portfolio of images presented to the couple and their builder. There are so many great choices, but we want to know which firebox options and which fireplace mantle design ideas would be your pick.

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A beautiful majestic limestone fireplace in the center of an old renovated French farmhouse

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Reclaimed limestone fireplace with an over mantel

This limestone fireplace is the focal point of this small cottage living room

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The limestone wall cladding, fireplace and wood beams create an old world look into this living room

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Beautiful mixture between the Old and The new in this French style living room

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Simple carved antique fireplace in an authentic Provencal kitchen

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French country house with an antique limestone fireplace

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Beautiful interior design of an old restored castle with a majestic reclaimed limestone fireplace

Chenonceau-Kitchen-limestone-FireplaceBeautiful-dining-room-with-majestic-antique-limestone-fireplaceAntique-Reclaimed-French-Fireplace-with-a-decorative-over-mantleAntique-limestone-fireplace-over-mantelAntique-limestone-fireplace-mantelAntique-limestone-firepalceOld-farmhouse-cottage-antique-limestone-fireplaceold-fully-carved-limestone-fireplacereclaimed-limestone-fireplace

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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.

Chateau Lyon, Lake Norman. By Ancient Surfaces, Barry Dixon 2008.

Chateau Lyon French Countryside Castle on Lake Norman. By Ancient Surfaces, Barry Dixon 2008.

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.

Private home with an Ancient Fireplace Mantle in Paradise Valley Arizona, Fireplace originated from Ancient Surfaces.

Private home with an Ancient Fireplace Mantle in Paradise Valley Arizona, Fireplace originated from Ancient Surfaces.

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.

Antique Stone Fireplace by Ancient Surfaces As featured in Luxe Magazine 2012, Florida.

Antique Stone Fireplace by Ancient Surfaces, Luxe Magazine 2012, Florida. Thin Herringbone firebox.

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.

Reclaimed Medieval era antique stone fireplace installed in an outdoor open patio, Coastal California.

Reclaimed Medieval era antique stone fireplace installed in an outdoor open patio, Coastal California.

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.

Elaborately hand carved antique marble fireplace, restored by Ancient Surfaces.

Elaborately hand carved antique marble fireplace, restored by Ancient Surfaces.

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.

An Antique French limestone fireplace acquired by the current owner of this Mediterranean Countryside style home in Orange Country, California.

An Antique French limestone fireplace acquired by the current owner of this Mediterranean Countryside style home in Orange Country, California.

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.

French Limestone Fireplace Mantle with Trumeau by Ancient Surfaces in a Renovated Countryside Vacation House

French Limestone Fireplace Mantle with Trumeau by Ancient Surfaces in a Renovated Countryside Vacation House

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.

A Simple and Clean Line Antique Fireplace Mantle by Ancient Surfaces.

A Simple and Clean Line Antique Fireplace Mantle by Ancient Surfaces.

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.

Simple countryside hand carved fireplace mantle out of Oolitic Limestone by Ancient Surfaces.

Simple countryside hand carved fireplace mantle out of Oolitic Limestone by Ancient Surfaces.

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.

Limestone Entryway in a National Landmark. Height and width designed and carved using the golden ratio proportions.

Limestone Entryway in a National Landmark. Height and width designed and carved using the golden ratio proportions.

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.

Hand carved limestone fireplace mantle. The 19th Century Italian Librarian style.

Hand carved limestone fireplace mantle. The 19th Century Italian Librarian style.

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 12th Century antique Stone fireplace salvaged from the South of France and installed in a Colorado compound.

A 12th Century antique Stone fireplace salvaged from the South of France and installed in a Colorado compound.

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.

Antique Reclaimed 12th century Limestone Fireplace in its final home in Colorado.

Antique Reclaimed 12th century Limestone Fireplace in its final home in Colorado.

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.

A reclaimed 18th century French Fireplace Mantle from Burgundy. Reclaimed by Ancient Surfaces sold by dealer to current owner.

A reclaimed 18th century French Fireplace Mantle from Burgundy. Reclaimed by Ancient Surfaces sold by dealer to current owner.

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.

A reclaimed 17th century French Fireplace Mantle from Aix-En-Provence. Reclaimed and sold by Ancient Surfaces.

A reclaimed 17th century French Fireplace Mantle from Aix-En-Provence. Reclaimed and sold by Ancient Surfaces.

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.

A reclaimed French Fireplace Mantle from the South of France. Reclaimed and sold by Ancient Surfaces.

A reclaimed French Fireplace Mantle from the South of France. Reclaimed and sold by Ancient Surfaces.

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.

A reclaimed Italian Fireplace Mantle from the North of Italy. Reclaimed by Ancient Surfaces and sold to clients through a local dealer.

A reclaimed Italian Fireplace Mantle from the North of Italy. Reclaimed by Ancient Surfaces and sold to clients through a local dealer.

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.

Reclamation Images

Call us at: 212-461-0245 // 212-913-9588

Sales@AncientSurfaces.com

 Call us at: 212-461-0245 // 212-913-9588

Sales@AncientSurfaces.com

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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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