As the first day of winter approaches and the weather turns colder, the fireplace becomes a gathering place for friends and family. Often a focal point of the room, the design of the fireplace anchors the look and feel of the rest of the space. Stone is a versatile and durable material to use as a surround for your fireplace. Depending on the look of the stone and where you put it, a stone fireplace can achieve many different styles, from a classic and cozy look to a minimalist and modern pièce de résistance in your space.
Parts of a Fireplace
From the front, the basic parts of a fireplace are the mantle, surround, hearth, and firebox. Beyond that, designs may include other ornamental features such as pillars, corbels, plinths, wall cladding, an apron, and a hearth extension. While the firebox is typically made from brick or cement, every other feature of the front of the fireplace may be made from granite, marble, quartz, quartzite, precious stone, and similar products.
These fireplaces show a stone surround with a hearth flush with the floor. Surrounds and flush hearths may be made from tile or slab stone, or a mix of both. Suitable for a room of any size, a flush hearth is particularly useful in a smaller area as it doesn't take up floor space and can allow for easy passage around the furniture near the hearth.
The hearth can be raised just a few inches like a step, or over a foot, like a piece of furniture. Just don't sit too close to the fire! You can also see some examples of wood and stone ornamental pieces in these photos. Stone is easily paired with other materials to make an interesting fireplace façade.
Sleek and Modern
Even without ornamentation, these minimalist fireplace designs are luxurious. There is great opportunity to show off a beautiful stone slab by extending the surround into a full wall cladding. The ability for a stone surround to enhance a more ornamented and classic design, and also to be the singularly prominent but inherently opulent design element in a more contemporary look is a testament to its versatility.
Popular Materials for Fireplace Surrounds
Granite is the most popular choice of stone for a fireplace surround because it is virtually maintenance-free. It is one of the hardest materials on Earth, and can withstand extreme heat without cracking. It is scratch and stain resistant, and can be cleaned with a mixture of mild dish soap, water, and alcohol. Quartzite is even harder than granite, and is also a beautiful, durable, and easy-to-care-for stone to use around a fireplace.
Marble may also be used to surround a fireplace as it can also withstand extreme heat. Marble's elegant beauty makes it a desirable stone to have anywhere in the house. While not as hard as granite or quartzite, when cared for properly, it may resist chips or scratches. Marble is typically lighter in color and will need to be cleaned often. As marble ages, it does sometimes take on the story of the things that happen to it. This is part of the beauty of marble--it gains character over time and use.
The fireplace is a source of light and warmth in a home. It is a place to gather, to tell stories, to have a quiet moment on a cold night. Whatever you are celebrating this December--a miracle of light, a return home, a jolly old elf, the beginning of winter, heritage and unity, the days becoming longer, the birth of a precious child, peace on Earth and goodwill towards all--we wish you joy and togetherness.
Happy Holidays from New Stone Age! We will be on break beginning December 20th until January 3rd, 2022.