Organic elements always seem to complement each other. So, it's not surprising that natural stones construct an array of fireplace designs that suit a wide range of decorating and architectural styles. Whether granite, limestone, slate, travertine, marble, or fieldstone, natural stone is a versatile material that shifts in appearance depending on a number of factors, including cutting method, stone thickness, and how the stone is installed. Here's a look at how natural stones can be adapted and accented to fashion fireplaces that complement casual, classic, and continental interiors.
Rough-hewn aptly describes the natural-stone fireplaces that rise on the walls of Adirondack lodges and primitive farmhouses. Flagstones, whether dry-stacked or laid flat within a sea of white mortar, fashion warm-shaded fireplaces rendered in earthen hues with irregular outlines. These fireplaces' unrefined qualities are best enhanced by unpretentious additions, such as bluestone-slab or craggy timber mantel shelves, bluestone-slab hearths, and painted or stained wood mantels with simple silhouettes.
Ideally suited to transitional-style family and great rooms, these ceiling-to-floor structures straddle the boundary between formal and informal. Randomly placed natural stones sporting hand-chopped and sawn edges might be connected via mortar or appear to be dry-stacked. Vast facades, oftentimes uninterrupted by mantel shelf or mantel, easily accommodate flat-screen television sets, which solves homeowners' fireplace-versus-TV focal-point conundrums.
Weighty white-painted woodwork shaped into statuesque mantels between built-in cabinets turn rustic stone fireplaces into sophisticated structures that feel perfectly at home in historic residences, formal living rooms, and elegantly appointed master bedrooms. Deep crown-molding caps, wainscot-panel details, and raised flagstone hearths combine for classically gracious configurations that boast plenty of period charm and age-old appeal.
Fireplaces crafted from pale limestone or ashy granite stones flatter country French and Tuscan interiors and work especially well when set against vibrantly hued great-room or kitchen walls. Granite and limestone are popular fireplace materials, valued for their durability, heat-resistance, soft tones, and aged appearance. Thoughtfully placed details, such as a reclaimed wood-beam mantel shelf and a curved opening emphasized by vertically inset stones, enliven the uncomplicated silhouettes. A raised stone hearth topped with black granite or soapstone creates a good-looking spot for sitting or setting out displays, which in turn dresses up the practical nature of this function-first form.