Sunday, March 8, 2009

Retrofitting Your Fireplace


My home during demolition and before the retrofit.

There are 2 types of projects we work on: new construction and retrofitting a fireplace in a home that has already been constructed. This post is for all of you who ask whether it is possible to replace or retrofit your existing fireplace with an antique mantel. The answer is yes, it is possible to refit your mantel. In some larger projects people will take out the existing fireplace and rebuild it to specifications, however, most people simply use the existing firebox and replace the fireplace surround.

This is the most challenging job for us because measurements are the key! Many times we are able to find a mantel with measurements slightly smaller than the firebox opening. This gives us some room to play and line with reclaimed firebrick or tile.

Below is an example from my own home. My building had strict codes and it was not possible to change the firebox in any way. I replaced the existing wood surround with a beautiful period Louis XIV fireplace surround.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fireplace Safety Rules


Proper fireplace safety is as important as providing a warm home for your family. You may have been extremely adept in using your fireplace since childhood, but a casual slip on fire safety rules can turn your home into a tinderbox and hurt everything and everybody you hold most dear.

Follow these fireplace safety rules for both wood burning and gas fireplaces:

The Do’s - Visit for more information.

  • Make sure your fireplace fire is out before you go to sleep

  • Light gas fireplaces as soon as gas is turned on for your fireplaces

  • Get your fireplaces chimney inspected annually

  • Gas fireplaces should have two controls for the flow of gas for greater safety

  • Install a guard around your gas fireplace to protect children from getting burnt by the glass and metal doors surrounding the fire

  • Decorations and flammables should be away from the fire of your fireplaces

  • Top of your chimney for your fireplaces and roof should be steered clear of debris from overhanging branches

  • Flue should be left open as long as the fire is smoldering in your fireplaces

  • Damper in your fireplaces should be open before starting a fire for burning wood

  • Read instructions before using artificial log for your fire place

  • Children should be aware of the dangers of fire from fireplaces

  • A chimney cap for your fireplaces prevents animals straying in to block the chimney

  • Use a mesh screen for your fireplaces with your wood burning fire to prevent burning from flying sparks

  • Use long matches to light fire for your fireplaces to avoid getting scorched

  • Always keep your fireplace clean in preparation for the next fire

  • You should stay alert for any leaks, smells or flames if your fireplaces burns gas

The Don’ts - Visit for more information.

  • Do not burn trash or papers in your fireplace

  • Do not use charcoal in your fireplace for, it increases the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning

  • Do not use flammable liquids like lighter fluid or gasoline to start or increase a fire in your fireplace

  • Do not let a wood burning fire in your fireplace go on without somebody to watch over it

  • Do not mix artificial wood with the natural wood for your fireplaces

  • Do not add artificial wood logs to the fire in the fireplace already burning with natural wood

  • Do not break a synthetic log for a quick fire for your fireplaces

  • Do not use more than one log at a time for your fireplaces because they burn incompletely, releasing lethal doses of carbon monoxide

  • Do not build roaring fires in fireplaces that may ignite creosote in the chimney

  • Do not close your fireplace damper with hot ashes still in the fireplace for, it may heat up again and release toxic carbon monoxide into the house

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Fireplace Installations I Love: Update a Classic


I love this antique fireplace installation and how fresh it looks in the setting. This simple gray and white marble pompadour mantel, which could have been dull in the wrong setting, looks innovative and beautiful in this 1960's-esque bedroom. The lavender wall color, white bedding and carpet make this room and mantel look modern. I also love the black and white photograph above the mantel.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Antique Fireplaces


Welcome to my first edition of the Antique Fireplaces blog - your source for information on antique fireplace surrounds, accessories and design tips for your home or office design.

A fireplace is the heart of a home. A fireplace mantel is the calling card of any room, a place of gathering with friends and family. By choosing an antique fireplace surround, you are bringing a sense of history to your home. Whether you are building a newly constructed home or renovating an existing home, an antique fireplace brings warmth and authenticity to your design.

An antique fireplace can be used in the traditional manner where the legs are built-into the firebox or it can be used simply as a frame to a gas fireplace. Whatever your building constraints are, there is a way to make an antique fireplace surround work in your home.

Antique fireplace mantels are unique and one-of-a-kind. They are all individually handcrafted and made from limestone, hardstone, marblestone, wood or marble and no two are alike. Popular fireplace periods include: the Gothic period, Renaissance, Louis XIII, Louis XIV, Louis XV, Louis VXI, Regency, and Art Deco.

Other considerations to complete the look of your fireplace surround are to add decorative firebricks to the interior of the firebox walls and reclaimed hearthstone which is placed in front of the firebox. You can also enhance your antique fireplace or your existing fireplace with antique accessories, including andirons, firebacks, fireplace tools, and firescreens.

With an inventory of over 3,000 antique fireplace surrounds and antique fireplace accessories available at Au Coin du Feu, I welcome the opportunity to enrich your home or office with a sense of history.


Sunday, January 18, 2009


About The ACDF Blog

Antique Fireplaces blog is your source for information on antique fireplace surrounds, accessories and design tips for your home or office design. My intention is to educate and inform you about the rich heritage and artistry represented in fine antique surrounds and to offer you ideas on how to bring a sense of European history and style to your home.

I hope you enjoy Antiques Fireplaces and I look forward to hearing from you.

- Mary Jeanne Kneen



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