When we were hired, the scale of the living room fireplace in our clients’ Berkshire retreat felt overlarge, unfriendly and weirdly cold. The mantel stone floated more than 6 feet off of the floor and the multiple types of stone used didn’t make aesthetic sense. A fireplace is the focal point of any living room - especially in New England - and this one was off center from the rest of the space to boot.
Our first step was to scale down the fireplace by removing the stone mantel – no easy feat as it went into the masonry wall. In order to ground and center the fireplace within the seating arrangement, we added a custom made natural blackened steel surround and screen, leaving the fire box off center. The screen is mounted with a barn slider onto the metal surround, which leaves the floor space free and makes tending to the fire much simpler. The materials we introduced are warm, rich, and tactile to instill a sense of coziness. Lightly stained white oak now wraps around the interior wall; textured, iridescent metallic bronze brick surrounds the fire box and hearth. While modern in approach, our blackened steel installation references hundreds of years of fireplaces and stoves.