Rustic rock fireplace designs are as popular as ever in the American West. A unique blend of Adirondack, American Craftsman and
Shingle Style arch-
itecture -- all of which originated on the east coast during the latter part of the 19th century and rapidly spread across the United States -- the rugged designs popularized by the newly erected western resorts were monumental in scale. Huge boulders, blocks and stone slabs were piled on top of one another as they soared through open, multi-storied lobbies to pierce the ceilings and roof lines with equally massive chimneys!
Cabin Fireplace, above, on Colorado Ranch
of fashion icon, Ralph Lauren
A by-product of the Federally desig-
nated National Parks, these magnifi-
cent resorts were as incredible as the majestic landscapes surrounding them. Built to lure tourists -- and profits -- to these natural wonders at the turn
of the last century, many of these rustic, but beautiful resorts survive to this day!
One such resort is the Old Faithful Inn pictured below. Opened in 1904 in Yellowstone National Park, it
ues to operate more than a century later. In close proximity to its famous namesake geyser, it provides an ideal location from which to view this nat-
The interior lobby, pictured above right, is as magnificent as the building's exterior. Anchored by a massive
rock fireplace, its multiple open levels contain balustrades made of peeled logs and naturally formed branches.
A stunning combination of richly stained wood and rugged
natural stone as-
sembled in spectacular fashion, it epitomizes the joint creative and artistic potential of man and Mother Nature!
Striking rock fireplace designs are not the exclusive domain of turn of the century resorts, however.
cent, albeit more modestly scaled stone hearths continue to be erected in rustic style homes throughout the mountain regions of the western Unit-
The striking design pictured at right is a great example of a rock fireplace in
a rustic style home. Crafted from rel-
atively large blocks of cut stone that soar to the ceiling, a timber mantel shelf echoes the beautiful hand hewn timber framing and trusswork above.
The two designs pictured below, though placed in a corner to save space and optimize the viewing area in
each room, are massive in their own right. Crafted from river rock on the left and fieldstone on the right, the
esque designs are warm and inviting.
The following two designs, also of river rock on the left and fieldstone on the right, are equally warm and inviting. Each incorporates a rustic log mantel shelf that contrasts beautifully with its rugged stone surround.
The incredible mantel shelf pictured below was crafted from two massive logs -- the lower one with an
arch carved into it to echo the arch in the firebox opening beneath it. Held together by hand-wrought iron
ing, the oversize mantel shelf is supported by two large log corbels on each end.
Each of the following stone hearth designs anchors the room it is in with-
out overpowering it. On the left, the stone fireplace surround is extended to include an arched door opening on either side and contrasts beautifully with the hand hewn timber trusswork above. The stone fireplace surround on the right, though it anchors the room and also ties in beautifully with the timber trusswork above, takes a subservient position to the majestic mountain vista framed by the floor to ceiling windows on the outer wall.
The following residential rock fireplace designs embody the ruggedness and perceived massing of the magnificent stone hearths found in the turn of the century resorts in the western mountain regions. Crafted from river rock on the left and huge stone slabs on the right, they exemplify the style of the Old West.
And finally, the rustic design pictured below is about as attention-grabbing as it gets! Though the overall composition is only one story in height, the "walk-in" firebox framed by gigantic granite slabs gives the illusion of a much larger stone hearth design.
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