A genuine antique fireplace isn't cheap, but it can look amazing. A lot of time and effort goes into reclaiming and restoring these pieces. Since the antique fireplace market is growing, it's obvious that many homeowners feel the effect is well worth it.
Fireplace restorers find and restore original fireplaces, cast iron bedroom units, tiled and arched inserts, Gothic arches, timber mantels, marble columns, etc. etc. The fireplaces generally date from somewhere in the 18th or 19th century and often come from estate mansions that the owners aren't willing or financially able to restore as a whole.
Expert craftsmen refurbish the fireplaces, making sure that any necessary alterations or repairs conform to the era of the piece in question. The result may be a massive limestone mantle in a French design. Carved with leaves along the frieze, it fits beneath a molded cornice mantle. Pilaster statues, one male, the other female, support the shelf.
Another mantle may be marble with fluted pilasters and a Greek Key motif inlaid in bronze. A third may be in the Louis XVI style will all the ornateness of design that entails. Tapered balasters, drapery flowers above and lotus leaves at the base with a central carved tablet on the frieze produce a stunning effect.
Here are some other examples of what is available:
- A marble mantle with intricately carved panels on either side and a center tablet with a frieze. A dogleg architrave with an acanthus design adds curve and finesse.
- A delicate marble mantle in the Rococo style. A frieze with a serpentine design in the center and side pieces of inlaid Sicilian Jasper round out the effect.
- For an even bolder look, draped female figures (caryatids) can form a design on the jambs, with an intricately carved frieze and two griffins flanking.
- A simple French mantle in peach marble with a serpentine frieze may be just the look you're searching for.
- A simple Tudor mantle in limestone can provide a more stately effect.
- Or, for a more ornate look, a Rococo style in marble with a serpentine frieze and a scallop shell design may be the thing.
For the authentic antique, you can expect to pay upwards of $20,000 or even $30,000. If that's outside your price range, the same outfits that do restoration generally also offers reproductions that can cost less than 1/5 the price of the original.
Since these fireplaces are built off site and installed in your home, that means you can afford to get attached. If you really love the piece, you can have it removed and put in your next home.