Fireplace Mantels

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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Come winter, folks start spending a lot of time near their fireplace mantels. Most people don't give a second thought to the aesthetics of their hearth; instead, they're caught up in their functional element, which is keeping the house warm. But it's undeniable that a fireplace adds a certain idyllic charm to any house, whether it's in Phoenix, where fireplaces are seldom used, or Philadelphia, where they are.

Spice up your fireplace this winter with a mantelpiece that's exquisitely carved and finished with beautiful gild work. Choose a warm wooden medium such as lime wood or oak, then opt for acanthus leaves, cherubs, or any accent you please. You'll retain the feel of an old Victorian-style house for a lot less than it costs to go out and buy one.

The Practicality of Fireplace Mantels

Fireplace mantels are not only great for framing your hearth, but for showcasing pictures and other accessories as well. Keep family portraits, snapshots of loved ones, travel photos, or trinkets and treasures you've had tucked away all on your custom-built mantel where visitors can see them. Or add a few Gothic touches such as gargoyles, spires, or baroque flourishes. It all depends on the style you're aiming for.

The next step is to track down an artist whose work you admire. Generally, a master wood carver will prefer to work in his or her own studio once the installation site has been surveyed. Be prepared to wait up to several weeks for your mantel, as it is probably a custom job that your builder will spend weeks designing and executing.


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