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July 23, 2014, 03:46 PM

Choosing the perfect antique or reclaimed fireplace

By Nadine Davies

Antique Victorian Carrara marble corbel surround with a restored antique cast iron arched insert [photo ŠTAF

Spectacular Neoclassical and Georgian style wooden fireplaces at The Architectural Forum in Islington, London [photo ŠTAF
Carrara marble Georgian fireplaces at The Architectural Forum in Islington, London [photo ŠTAF
Edwardian and Victorian cast iron fireplaces at The Architectural Forum in Islington, London [photo ŠTAF

London North, UK - Whether it will hold a roaring open fire, a tidy wood burner, a gas fire or simply a few decorative candles, the fireplace is the focal point in any room, so it's important to get it right.

The Architectural Forum in North London has a very large collection of antique and reclaimed fireplaces including Georgian, Regency, Victorian, Edwardian, Art Deco and early twentieth century fires, most of which are salvaged and saved from within London.

When clients come to The Architectural Forum showroom to choose a fireplace for their property, the first question we invariably ask them is 'How old is your house?' The majority of people are looking to reinstate original features in period properties, so it is important to get an idea of the style and era of the house, no matter whether it is a grand Georgian mansion, a modest Victorian terrace or a quirky Arts & Crafts villa.

In the Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian eras there were a very large number of styles made that went in and out of fashion through the decades. So you won't be stuck exclusively with one distinct design if you want to stay true to the age of your home. There is still a lot of choice.

Start to think about what you are envisaging for your fireplace. Perhaps you are dreaming of a marble or stone surround, a carved wooden surround, or perhaps a cast iron combination grate with a coordinating overmantel mirror. A very typical Victorian style is the corbel marble surround teamed with an arched cast iron insert (see main picture), also known as an arched register grate because it has a hinged register plate which can be closed to seal the flue when the fireplace is not in use. Corbel surrounds can vary greatly in size and design from plain and understated to grand and ornately carved.

Besides the style, it is also very important to think about the size and scale of the room and also key to think about the purpose of the room. Commonly, bedrooms would have had smaller, thinner fireplaces, in particular, cast iron combination fireplaces.

Measurements of your chimney are essential too. The dimensions that are helpful when shopping for a fireplace are the height, width and depth of the opening, the width of the chimney-breast, the ceiling height and general dimensions of the room.

Before having anything installed, it is vital to get your chimney swept, checked and possibly lined if you're planning to have a solid fuel or gas fire.

The Architectural Forum subscribes to the Salvo Code, and is based at 312 - 314 Essex Road, Islington, N1 3AX. Tel: 020 7704 0982.

Architectural Forum

The Architectural Forum: Items for sale
The Architectural Forum FAQs: Is it possible to have real fires in London?

Story Type:  Feature

ID: 83953

Date Modified: April 04, 2016, 10:41 AM

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