“Mantels in the past, have been used primarily to display the family portrait.”
What does a mantel symbolize?
A mantel symbolizes what is close to your heart. Fire and warmth are closely linked with survival. A fire in the kitchen is used for cooking and preparing food, which is necessary for survival, and a fire in the living room means safety and leisure. For me, this means family time, relaxation at the end of the day, and a late-night place for concentration and learning. As far as design goes, I love it when pragmatic solutions are combined with artistic creativity. I prefer having practical criteria to work with, a dilemma to solve and then using artistic creativity.
What does a mantel mean to you?
Hopefully you will have the answers to your questions upon finishing this article. You may want to pause and visualize your own mantel while you read this article. Keep a pen handy so you can jot down notes when you find inspiration!
Let me give you some examples of mantel styles and how the decision process has unfolded for other successful clients. This will give you an idea of how many layouts are available and which elements you can use to personalize your mantel:
– Split Log Mantel
Matching your mantel to the surroundings ensures a cohesive look throughout the home.
1) What width is needed to place items upon the mantel?
2) What is a desirable mantel height?
3) What are the height and width criteria regarding fire safety?
4) How big should our mantel be?
Imagine a sprawling western ranch with a full timber frame home. If we entered into the great room, how high should the ceiling be? For this style, an eight to nine foot ceiling would add to the markedly western feel. A heavy stone fireplace with a low, wide firebox, no hearth and a long mantel set at eye level would be the basic parameters for this style. Now you’ll decide on wood versus stone corbels, metal connectors or embellishments, exact sizes, profiles, etc.
A Mountain Lodge style mantel, while similar in regard to Western style and size, may be different in a few ways. The factors which will affect your mantel style the most will be ceiling height, style (vaulted or sloped ceiling) and if you want a loft area. With the added height and space, an elevated hearth and higher mantel fit well. Perhaps multiple mantels stepping up the chimney would be an excellent showcase for various pictures, wild game mounts and other trophies. A freestanding fireplace may need a four-sided mantel, which creates a warm, inviting place to come together and nestle next to the heat.
The take-away for you today is that your choices of design are wide open. Even with something as simple as a mantel, you get to have fun getting what you want. To really expand your enjoyment and self-expression, let’s get started on your timber frame project today!