Masonry fireplaces are constructed with a vast array of materials to give them a wide and varied range of different looks. Though the firebox and chimney liner are fabricated from all masonry components, the outside of the fireplace and chimney can be finished with any material or combination of materials the homeowner desires . . . . . providing an opportunity to create a uniquely personal design.
For example, the striking brick fire-
place at right has a bluestone hearth and mantel with a granite keystone just below the mantel shelf.
The wide variety of available material types, textures, colors and finishes offers a virtually limitless
array of de-
sign possibilities and looks to appeal
to tastes as diverse and sharply con-
trasting as the two masonry fireplaces pictured below. From the massive granite slabs framing a cavernous "walk-in" firebox on the left . . . to the elegant hand carved Yucatan lime-
stone surround on the right . . . and everything in between . . . there is a combination of materials, textures, colors and finishes to satisfy nearly everybody!
The following two designs -- though smaller in scale than those above -- present equally striking contrasts. The rough textured facing of the granite stones on the left contrasts sharply with the smooth polished surface of the marble surround on the right.
The two stone hearths pictured above are by master stone artisan, Lew French.
Man made stone products are another attractive option as a finishing ma-
terial. The elegant cast stone mantels and surrounds below are ideal in a formal setting . . . . .
while the very realistic manufactured stone used to frame the fireplaces pictured below is a great choice for more casual settings.
concrete blends such as glass fiber reinforced concrete can be effec-
tively employed to fabricate exquisite mantels and surrounds, as shown in the following outstanding example.
Metal is also used to clad a masonry fireplace from time to time -- par-
ticularly with more contemporary designs. The example at right is wrapped in polished stainless steel.
Directly below, the fireplace on the
left has an American southwestern look derived from the Kiva. A tra-
ditional design of the southwest, inspired by Pueblo architecture, the Kiva fireplace was constructed of adobe bricks. However, many of today's Kivas and Kiva inspired var-
iations substitute plaster or stucco
as a finishing material.
The example on the right, below, is made from
glass fiber reinforced gyp-
sum, a natural mineral mixed with water and glass fiber that can be finished to resemble limestone, marble, travertine and alabaster. Though it cannot be used outdoors, it is completely noncombustible and a fraction of the cost of most other materials.
wood mantels and overmantels pictured below comprise an-
other material type frequently used to "frame" a masonry fireplace. Like pieces of fine heirloom furniture, they are made from rich hardwoods and beautifully stained and sealed with hand-rubbed finishes.
And finally, the tiled surround pictured below casts a soft warm glow as it reflects the dancing flames from the open fire. Capped with a mantel of heavy timber, the composition evokes the romance and nostalgic charm of the early American west.
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