The evolution of fireplace mantels – the heart of your home

There’s just something about having a fireplace and mantel in your home that makes it feel more like, well, home.

But have you ever stopped for a moment and wondered… How exactly did fireplace mantels become the focal point of many homes?

The answer is rooted in history and will probably surprise you. 

A Brief History of the Fireplace and Mantel

Early fireplaces were a necessity in the American colonial period, functioning as multipurpose appliances for cooking, baking, and heating the home.

They were large, wide, and deep – appearing almost as walk-in fireplaces. Early fireplaces had small mantels or no mantel at all.

Brick was a popular surround material, helping the fireplace retain its heat and heat the home for prolonged periods of time.

Fireplace design was streamlined by the 1800s, with simple floor-to-ceiling paneling surrounding the hearth and situated flush with a wall. Post-Revolutionary War fireplaces were the first to include decorative mantels, then using design touches such as reeding, fluting, swags, stars, and shell accents.

In the 20th century, fireplaces were simplified to showcase rustic natural surrounds and mantels – using materials like stone, river rock, and fine wood – thanks in part to America’s focus on environmental conservation.

By 2020, the fireplace & mantel have become one of the most requested features in new & renovated contemporary homes.

The Centerpiece of Every Gathering Room

Fireplaces and mantels continue to function as decorative centerpieces in any gathering room. Modern innovation has revolutionized the materials used in design. Antique reclaimed wood mantels have exploded in popularity thanks to our 21st century love affair with rustic, old-world flair.

What’s even more interesting today is that decorative mantels have even surpassed the need for a traditional wood-burning fireplace in a home.

Some homeowners opt to place decorative mantels over electric fireplaces or use electric fireplace inserts to create a cozy feel with the added safety benefit.

Other homeowners add mantels to rooms as decorative focal points, regardless of whether a fireplace is there at all.

Our Reclaimed Wood Mantels

We began designing our reclaimed engineered wood mantels with both eye-catching appeal and function in mind.

Our handcrafted mantels are made with hundred-year-old reclaimed antique longleaf pine and can be constructed to your exact custom dimensions based on the style and look you’re going for. Our mantels are also incredibly easy to install, more eco-friendly, and infuse the perfect amount of ‘rustic’ in your space.

If you’re looking to incorporate a reclaimed wood mantel or other reclaimed wood element into your space (or a client’s), read our Insider’s Guide to Buying Reclaimed Wood Products.

Reach Out to Us With Your Project Details!

Whether you’re a homeowner looking to add a beautiful reclaimed wood mantel to your space and create a perfect focal point or a builder looking for the next great design element – reach out to us! We’ll work with you to iron out the details of your project and create a mantel or another custom reclaimed wood element that fits your project’s specs perfectly. Give us a call at (225) 320-1227 or contact us.