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That thing above my fireplace

Is it Mantel or Mantle? If you’re from Europe this is obvious; Mantle is a cloak or a symbol that represents authority, often placed above fireplaces throughout Europe. Whereas, a Mantel is simple that thing…

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Is it Mantel or Mantle?

If you’re from Europe this is obvious; Mantle is a cloak or a symbol that represents authority, often placed above fireplaces throughout Europe. Whereas, a Mantel is simple that thing above my fireplace.

A mantel is also a place to hang stockings, place pictures of family, showcase pieces of art, or simply keep some random stuff off the floor. Regardless if you call it a mantle or mantel you’re right in either case.  But when you’re going to build one it’s somewhat important to know what your building, you might be making something for the royal navy commander.  Some good terms to know when working around a fireplace;

Firebox;  space cutout where you burn the fire

Mantelpiece;  the shelf above the Firebox

Entablature & Frieze;  if you love traditional Victorian designs then you’ve seen a lot of these, they are the decorative and over ornate trimmings around the sides of the firebox  just above and between the corbels or pilasters.

Trumeau;  this is the area above the Mantelpiece where you might want to place that Mantle or just a family picture.  this area is also sometimes referred to as the Overmantel or Topper space.

Corbels or Pilasters;  often faux decorative columns that hold up the Mantel

Hearth; an area directly in front of the fireplace typically stone, tile, marble, or other fireproof material strategically placed in the event of a coal falling out of the firebox.

Chimney;  this is where all that smoke goes, up and out

Slip; a decorative inset tile, stone, or marble placed inside the firebox.

Summer piece;  something placed in front of the firebox when not in use, in traditional times it was used during the summer to prevent animals from gaining access into a home through the fireplace and made of steel or grates.  Chimmeyboard is another term also referred to as a Summer piece but made of wood.

Surround;  this refers to the entire space surrounding the Firebox, all decorative moldings, shelves, and trim-out.

Cheval screen;  this is also known and mostly referred to as the Fire Screen, some refer to it as the Pole Screen.  It’s purpose is to simply prevent sparks or embers from leaving the Firebox.  Some use what is called a Fender to also deflect flying bits of ember from burning their rugs.  This is a small metal framed out runner only a few inches tall placed directly in front of the Firebox.

Andiron;  also known as the Firedog refers to the grate used to support/hold the fire logs keeping them in place while burning.

Though a fireplace itself is fairly obsolete in warming the modern home, it’s in no danger of extinction.  There’s little in a home that creates a stronger feeling of warmth and relaxation than a cozy fireplace when it’s a little brisk outside and a fireplace can make a grand significant statement in your home in design. A fireplace is a area in your home that should be a center piece to show off your design style and flair to be shared with family and guests.

Have a design in mind to make your fireplace your home’s centerpiece?

Email me with your ideas and I would be happy to create a 3d rendering,  dave@daveraine.com.

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