A wood fireplace mantle custom crafted by a highly skilled woodworker is truly a classic. The precision cuts and seamless joints, like those found in the superb hand-crafted cabinetry and paneled doors of a beautiful custom kitchen or library, are the hallmarks of a genuine craftsman!
Design above by Witt Construction
The best wood mantles are like fine pieces of heirloom furniture. Made of hardwood or fruitwood, beautifully stained and sealed -- or flawlessly enameled -- their hand-rubbed finishes only hint at the labor of love and pride of craftsmanship that went into cre-
ating them . . . . .
When combined with the imagination and talent of a highly skilled designer, the end result can be
extraordinary! Such is the case with the unique and
stunning design pictured at right and
The talent and skill behind it comes from one of the premier architectural firms in the Eastern United States -- Polhemus Savery DaSilva Architects Builders, based in Chatham, Massachusetts. It is one of several extraor-
dinary fireplaces in an equally extraordinary home (See below) designed and built by the firm in 2003.
Exquisitely detailed with a flawless enameled finish, this masterpiece of fireplace design has a calming, almost Zen-like feel and presence, despite its overall size and massing. Beautifully proportioned and scaled, its Asian-influenced design appears "right at home" in this stunning residence on Cape Cod, as shown below right and bottom.
The unusual wood fireplace mantle below is another fireplace design from the same home. Once again, the
designer exercised creative license . . . particularly with the unique detailing under the mantle shelf, as
shown in the close-up on the right. Also note how the mantle projects from the
face of the beautiful stone surround to allow room for concealed lighting.
Before moving on to custom wood fireplace mantle designs from other homes, the corner mantle pictured at
right is notable in its own right. The shallow fluted pilasters between the deeply moulded mantle legs and
black marble surround are highly unusual, as is the treatment of the raised marble hearth and the "partial" overmantle centered
above the mantle, itself. While clearly retaining its ties to its deeply-rooted past, the overall com-
position presents an exciting and re-
freshing new twist on an old, time-
Photo Credits for Striking Home
The two fireplaces directly below present a study in contrasts. On the left, the bold and highly stylized white painted mantle contrasts sharply with the more subdued stained mantle on the right.
Similarly, the relatively simple but elegant cherry mantle below left, along with the more formal -- albeit restrained -- mantle with flanking bookcases (bottom), are in stark contrast with the exuberantly carved mahogany mantlepiece on the right.
rusticated detailing flanking the firebox opening in the example pic-
tured below, left, is highly unusual. Generally reserved for ground level exteriors to give visual weight and contrast -- particularly on Renaissance Revival buildings -- it is cut with beveled grooves to resemble a series of stone blocks. In the example pictured below, right, the reeded pilasters or "legs" of the mantel are repeated in the overmantel above to effectively
tie it all together.
And finally, the elegant French fireplace mantle and paneling, or boissiere, pictured below has been
finished with a process called liming.
A highly fashionable yet traditional method of decoration, liming is a simple tech-
nique for bringing out the grain of the wood and giving it a whitened look to impart a mellow, time worn appearance.
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