Fireplace Hearth and Mantel Design

Ornate Fireplace Hearth and Mantels Design Features in San Francisco

By Mark J. Donovan

A fireplace hearth is the lower portion of a fireplace opening that typically extends out into a room. It is constructed out of non-combustible materials such as stone, brick and/or tile. In many cases the fireplace hearth is raised to create a bench seating area. In other cases the fireplace hearth is constructed flush with the floor. A fireplace mantel, on the other hand, is the decorative framing that surrounds the exterior of the fireplace opening. It is often constructed out of ornate wood framing, however stone, tile and brick are also commonly used.

While touring homes out in the San Francisco, California area I saw a number of old and ornate fireplace hearth and mantel designs. Each had their own unique features.

The ornate fireplace hearths and mantel designs that I had the opportunity to view in San Francisco mainly consisted of a combination of ceramic tile and wood framing. The fireplace hearths were flush with the adjacent room flooring and constructed out of inlay ceramic tiles.

The fireplace mantels were constructed out of a combination of ceramic tile and Mahogany. Locally native Redwood was also used for adjacent trim work.

The ceramic tile was installed around the immediate fireplace opening and then incased with Mahogany wood framing. The ceramic tile around the mantel acted as a buffer area to protect the wood framing from the intense heat of the fireplace. The actual firebox areas were actually quite small relative to the amount of ornate design and size of the hearth and mantels.

They appeared to be only about 24 to 30 inches wide. This said the craftsmanship and decorative features of the fireplaces were absolutely stunning.

On my flight back from San Francisco I couldn’t help but think about the ornate fireplace designs that I had seen and question why so few of them are ever built anymore by home builders and homeowners.

A beautiful fireplace design can provide both function and charm to a home. If done right, it should be the focal point in any room. Unfortunately most of today’s fireplaces in new home construction are zero-clearance fireplaces that include little if any unique features and that add minimal charm and beauty to a room. This said if you’re planning a new home construction project that includes a fireplace you may want to think outside the standard cookie-cutter fireplace design and consider spending more time and money on it.

Fireplace hearth and mantel

By doing so not only will you create a more beautiful and functional fireplace design, you’ll increase the value of your home.

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