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The Chimneypiece is the place to start when creating a room.
15 July 2016

The other day I was reminded of an interview I did with Christine Chang Hanway for the wonderful and inspirational online site Remodelista – Sourcebook for Considered living. The article was entitled: “Tips for creating grandeur in the home” and we discussed, amongst other things, how the focal point of any room is the chimneypiece. I thought I would reflect on this whilst discussing the new antique and reproduction fireplace additions we have in the showroom.

A new antique addition – an architectural Palladian Irish chimneypiece of black Kilkenny marble, with moulded tiered shelf and plain frieze centred with an uncarved tablet.

The chimneypiece is always the starting point when creating a room and I have done this with every personal interiors project I have undertaken. My first London flat,( WOI 2001) my family home in Camberwell, illustrated below, (WOI February 2012)

The antique George II Breche bolection chimneypiece in our Camberwell family bedroom is the focal point of the room.

There is nothing like having a bath with the ambience and smell of the woodsmoke from a fire.

In my latest interiors project, Hanbury street.(WOI 2016) I used a mixture of five antique and reproduction fire surrounds.

In the main bedroom in Hanbury street I used a bespoke fireplace of an amended Lutyens design made from Derbyshire fossil marble taken from the remains of a Vanbrugh temple.

The chimneypiece creates a grand, glamorous and comfortable space, setting the tone for the rest of the room.

A late 18th Century Neoclassical chimneypiece in statuary and brocatello marble. English c. 1790.

Installing a fire surround that suits your desired aesthetic will create grandeur without artifice. Our showroom on the Pimlico Road showcases many of our antique and reproduction fireplaces which we regularly rotate. We have over four hundred antique chimneypieces and reproduction fireplaces to suit all aesthetics and spaces from apartments and small country town houses, to large country estates.

We recently installed our Cheere reproduction fireplace (above). Named after Sir Henry Cheere, the renowned 18th century English sculptor and carver to Westminster Abbey, the Cheere is an elegant and sculptural reproduction surround with classical symbolism.

The Charborough above, is a carved Painswick stone George II reproduction fireplace, circa 1750. Colour is probably one of the most important factors in creating the right ambience.

Once the correct fire surround scale for the room has been established and the choice between antique or reproduction has been made, I then proceed with other significant details within the room to enhance and offset the mantel. If necessary one should change doors, door mouldings, ceiling cornices and skirting and then source antique flooring if required. Then the stage is set!

I tend to favour soft paint colours from Farrow & Ball, Fired Earth or the Paint Library that give a quiet back drop to the surroundings. However vibrant colours and different materials, synonymous with the Georgian period can work exceptionally well and are very much part of the English country house aesthetic.

A pair of deep red untouched original Morocco Bergère library chairs sit in front of the reproduction Burnley fire surround.

Highlights of colour can also be introduced with furniture. Nothing compares to the deep red Morocco hyde from this pair of late Regency library chairs, which adds a rich layer of depth and a sense of grandeur.

Today we have also stood the Somerset (above) and the black bolection in our showroom for clients to see. It is important to have a fire surround that suits your desired aesthetic. Even though it can sometimes be taxing with planning regulations I feel it is absolutely imperative and you will not regret the decision. As I know from experience when you get it right – the heart of the home is made.