Natural stone fireplace design . . . . . . . the tradition continues. After hundreds of years, man's earliest building material continues to be split, stacked, cut, carved, tumbled, bush hammered, flamed, honed, brushed, polished, assembled and arranged into stunning fireplace mantels and surrounds!
Limestone Mantel above by Francois & Co.
Keeping that tradition alive and well are the natural stone fireplace design purists among us who are unwilling to
accept anything else. Despite rela-
tively recent and significant improve-
ments in both cast and manufactured stone products . . . . . many of which are virtually indistinguishable from
their natural stone counterparts . . . . there are those that continue to in-
sist upon the "real deal" when it
comes to their stone hearth.
Fortunately, there is no shortage of beautiful natural stone materials or skilled stone artisans
meet that demand. From a natural stone fireplace design steeped in tra-
dition to the most ultra-contemporary of designs, there is a texture, color and finish to meet the most demanding and discerning tastes.
As with many natural stone types, granite can be manipulated by human hands to achieve a wide and varied range of different looks. The hardest and most durable of all the natural stone types utilized in fireplace design (only diamonds, rubies and sapphires are harder), granite is unequaled when permanence, enduring color and texture, and complete freedom from deterioration and maintenance are prime requirements.
The following examples depict a variety of contrasting looks . . . . . . from extremely rugged and natural,
with very little cutting or finishing (top row at left) . . . . . . . through a gradual progression of more precisely
cut and assembled stones . . . . . to a richly carved and highly polished mantel and hearth (second row at right).
In the bottom row, the unique fireplace sur-
round is sand-carved granite.
Please click here to view more granite fireplace surrounds.
The following set of traditional - albeit more formal - natural stone fireplace designs are carved from
limestone, a popular material for fireplace sur-
rounds. A very durable building material, limestone has a uniform texture and grade, weathers naturally over time, and its color mellows and blends into a pleasing natural patina that actually improves with age. A unique characteristic of some types of limestone is the fossils and seashells often found embedded in the surface, adding an organic element.
Travertine, a porous sedimentary rock with numerous cavities, has been employed for thousands of years as a building material. The largest and most notable building constructed primarily of travertine is the Colosseum in Rome . . . . . . . an age old testament to the long term durability of the material. Pitted holes and troughs in its surface characterize the stone. However, depending upon the look you are seeking, the holes and troughs can be filled with grout and the stone polished to a smooth, shiny finish. Travertine is available in a variety of colors ranging from gray to coral-red. When pure and fine, travertine is white, but often is brown to yellow due to naturally occurring impurities in the stone. The striking mantels and overmantels pictured below are made of travertine.
Another natural stone type used to make fireplace mantels is Cantera, a Spanish word meaning "quarry." Cantera stone is strong and porous, yet light in weight, and is found naturally in a wide variety of colors and textures . . primarily in regions of southern Mexico. It is very strong and durable, and yet is easily mined and carved, as shown in the examples below.
Marble, one of the most common types of natural stone for formal fireplace mantels, is a very hard and durable material. From Greek statues to Roman baths, it has been used for centuries in nearly every conceivable interior and exterior application. Intricately veined, marble comes in a vast array of beautiful colors.
As seen in the numerous examples above, natural stone fireplace design encompasses a wide and
varied range of stone types, sizes, shapes, col-
ors, textures, veining patterns and finishes. Within each of those cate-
gories are still more variations due to differences . . . . ranging from very subtle to sharply contrasting . . . . in each and every stone or slab. As a result, no two natural stone fireplaces are ever exactly alike, giving you
a one of a kind hearth that is uniquely your own!
Please check back often or subscribe to our RSS feed, as we fre- quently add new images of natural stone fireplace designs to our site.
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