There are several components that exude warmth in a space, but there’s nothing like the presence of a masonry fireplace that evokes the old-school charm. Architecturally, fireplaces have been a conventional but reliable element in a space for heating. However, with time, fireplaces have now become secondary to the new-age appliances and technological applications. They have now been reduced to a visual attraction.
However, masonry architecture has never been out of style. In fact, it is a unique architectural feature that needs to be established along with the house. It cannot be created away from the site and then installed. The bricks and mortar, or stone, that make up the structure is used while making this element. It must come with a foundation that is made up of concrete.
Perhaps the only form of inconvenience provided by a masonry fireplace is that the fire is often absorbed within the fireplace, which means that the moment the fire is out, the heating impact also disappears.
However, the best part about masonry fireplace is that it is immune to all sorts of wear and tear. It truly survives the test of time. Let’s look at the different ways you can create the sense of warmth and coziness in your space with this remarkable architectural feature.
Exposed Bricks to Give It an Old World Charm
There’s nothing better than the classical approach to a rich tradition. And exposed bricks justify that approach to the ‘T’. Not only does the material have its aesthetic advantages, but it is also way more sustainable than most materials. This leads to the fact that it is energy efficient by bringing it with a way to combust air and suck out the fumes through the chimney. The raw, industrial appearance is really the stuff of mansions and villas, adding further to the opulence and decadence.
Keep It Classical, but with a Coat of Paint
As elemental and classical expose bricks are, you can jazz up the look with a fresh coat of paint — be it white or black — in order to create a contemporary look. In fact, if you’re not up to the whole pared-down appeal of exposed bricks on your masonry fireplace, the painted fireplace can truly enhance the textural vibe of the feature.
A coat of paint also leads to a visual decluttering of the space. By bringing in the uniformity of color and texture, this look brings down the heft of the material and makes it conducive to the contemporary vibe of the space. Additionally, the paint also keeps the material in place — concrete, stone or bricks are known to crumble and create a mess. In that case, the paint helps a sense of cleanliness. You can also add a bit of drama by dabbling with different colors such as grey or indigo to stand out starkly against the theme of the space.
German Smear for a Sense of Drama
As theatrical as it sounds, a German smear on the facade of the masonry fireplace does indeed add a sense of drama to your space. This technique requires you to wet the surface of the exposed bricks in order for the mortar to go through a long process of drying up. Then you either spray the surface with a garden hose or use a wet sponge. Not only does this take you away from the weather beaten look of the exposed bricks, but also the perfection of a completely painted facade.
The German smear was created to imitate the irregularities and imperfections of a stone facade and is a perfect fusion of the old and rustic, as well as avant-garde. Texturally, this treatment provides a distressed look, which is a leading kind of tone often found in minimalistic homes.
Add a Mantel to Your Fireplace
If you’ve ever wondered how one can accessorize a traditional architectural feature such as the fireplace, you probably haven’t thought of adding a mantelpiece above the fireplace. Not only does it economize the space and play the role of a shelving unit, but it also acts as an embellishment in your space.
You can either install a mantelpiece that is made out of concrete or try out installing an antique wooden unit to frame the fireplace. It adds to the shelving unit and also brings forth a lot of character to this feature. Alternatively, you can also go for a traditional dark wood to frame the fireplace and add a coffee table in the front to keep the interior minimalistic, yet classic. A neutral mantel above the fireplace will allow you to play around with decor and upholstery.
Add Tiles to Your Fireplace
If you thought that doing up the facade of the fireplace would be enough, you probably underestimated the power of interior design. Installing tiles within the hearth will not only create a dramatic appeal but also lend a sense of brevity. Architecturally, ceramic tiles have been known to withstand the heat of the fireplace and are known to be durable enough to last a very long time. However, for this, you might want to go with thicker ceramic tiles.
Explore the Scandinavian Aesthetics
The beauty of minimalism is that it plays around natural light. Not only are the pared-down aesthetics essential to create a spacious, airy look, but it also brings with it the calmness of a rather pure design sense. The main aim to surround your fireplace with minimalism is to tone down the heaviness of the fireplace while combining it with the element of openness via windows and skylights. Choose the color palette that is conducive to this setting and you will be good to go.
Bring in the Element of Art Deco
Art Deco first became an avant-garde movement of art, design and architecture in the 1920s and gave a fresh lease of life to many a building that sprung up across the world, mainly France, India and a bit of Egypt. By imbuing this style into classical elements such as a fireplace, you will be creating a spectacular fusion of styles.
Art Deco brings with it clear-cut, linear lines as well as sophisticated angular shapes, which can lend perfectly to the fireplace. Even the materials and the colors that are used in this feature are monochromatic. This can easily create a rather machine-age appeal.
Traditionally, Art Deco fireplaces come without the hearth and the mantel. In fact, they are inlaid into the wall, making for a seamless transition of the facade into the fireplace. Because of this integration, the geometrical lines and designs bring out the uniqueness of this style. You can also experiment with some Art Deco embellishments, which includes dramatic twists and turns of geometrical lines, such as zigzags.
Design Your House around Your Fireplace
As one of the most prominent and revolutionary architects and designers, Frank Lloyd Wright has proven, design can revolve around a small detail. In this case, it’s the masonry fireplace. In his famous waterfall house in Mill Run, United States, in 1939, Wright created everything around the fireplace, which is traditionally meant to be the gathering spot for the family members. In fact, so involved was Wright with the whole “masonry” appeal of the fireplace that the house, eventually, reflected that architectural feature.
Create a Loft around Your Fireplace
As varied as these two concepts are, a loft is a perfect setting for a traditional masonry fireplace. The concept of a loft is rather contemporary and urban. However, the timelessness of the fireplace melds perfectly into the setting. An open-plan setting, additionally, enhances the effect, along with other features such as exposed bricks and, if you want, exposed wooden beam ceilings.
The interior design for a loft is truly a remarkable space to experiment. It allows for the spatial arrangement to be directed towards the fireplace, which will then act as an elaborate embellishment in the space. The ability and freedom for the decor and accessories to be moved around according to the convenience of the user brings in an element of playfulness too.
Unlike the rather cluttered settings of most spaces with fireplaces, the loft allows one to play around with the white space. You can even experiment with the high ceilings.
A Skylight above the Fireplace
It’s a stylistic element that has been tried and tested before, much to the delight of the residents of the house. It was architect extraordinaire Frank Lloyd Wright who brought the element of air and fire together by building a skylight right above the fireplace. Apart from the illumination caused by the natural daylight, the architectural feature brings forth an unusual combination of contemporary yet classical features.
This feature breaks away from the norm of a room with a masonry fireplace as dark and gloomy, which intensifies once the fire is out. By bringing in the skylight, the space is provided with a kind of lightness that comes when a traditional space is contemporized.