Marble Mantles New & Old

Since we bought our house three years ago I have wanted to redo the surround on our fireplace badly. I tempered the heinousness of our current brick and terracotta tile situation with several coats of black masonry paint, but the time has come to really do it right. And by right, I of course mean marble. Because marble is always just so right.  I don’t mind our actual mantle and I’m also not made of money, so I’m not going to do what I’d REALLY like to do which is to replace the whole thing with an antique salvaged mantle.  Instead I’m looking at remnants of Statuario, Calacatta and Danby marbles (my faves) to cover the brick and replace the hearth. We also plan to convert to gas because our flue is old and small and our wood fires leave the house smokey and smelly.  Oh, and we need to get rid of the shiny brass doors too.

Erin Gates Newton_345

Above photo by Michael Partenio

So here are some inspirations of both antique mantles and new marble surrounds to inspire you and I!

Hello lovah.
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Designer Maria Beck designed this gorgeous Calacatta Gold mantle (I think this is the style/ material surround I want myself!)

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Haven’s Kitchen in NYC has a gorgeous example of a vintage mantle combined with modern design.

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The details on vintage mantles are just BEYOND.
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But clean, new marble installations can be just as gorgeous. This Design Co. room is pretty much perfect

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Modern meets traditional:

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An antique that is so unique with fabulous patina:

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I love this combo of dramatic vintage mirror, mantle and clean modern design.

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We’ve done mantles like this one using small brick Cararra subway tiles- clean, classic and pretty simple to install.  I personally prefer to do a solid slab on the hearth to prevent grout lines from getting super dirty if on a working wood fireplace.  Honed absolute black is a great choice is you have darker floors.

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DAYUM GINA.

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This whole situation from White + Gold is perfection.

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Nina, of course, has a very cool black version.

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Another more modern application great for a contemporary space.

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This entrance is just plain ol’ BANANAS:

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Jamb in the UK is a stunning source for both antique mantles and newly made stone surrounds:

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This one is an antique:

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These two are new:

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Chesney’s is famous in the US for their mantles as well:

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Antique

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Locally there are some architectural salvage places that sell old marble mantles pulled from old townhouses and such (which begs the question, what dope would ever REMOVE an amazing mantle and not reuse it in a renovation????)

Restoration Resources is one such place.

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Nor’east Architectural Salvage is another resource.

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34 comments

  1. Who knew fireplaces could be so sexy? I love these types of posts when you discuss with us what you are considering for your own home.

  2. So timely!! We just ripped our surround apart and are redoing the mantle and adding built ins on both sides. Also doing a marble surround. While I like the design elements of the smaller subway tiles, slab is a timeless look. Thanks for reinforcing/encouraging my plans!

  3. Love this post and would welcome any suggestions on where to buy great fireplace accessories (screens, tools, etc)! Thank you!

  4. Great roundup, Erin! I love all of them and would definitely have the hardest time to decide. The vintage marble ones remind me of Michelle Adams’s gorgeous home makeover.

  5. This post is so timely! I have been wanting to redo my fireplace and you just cut my work in half- thank you. All gorgeous and please keep up the great posts!

  6. Great roundup. When we were redoing our mantel, we found that it was very hard to find a vintage or antique one that was just the right size/proportion, so we ended up designing our own wooden one, using lots of photos as references. Taping out all the dimensions and proportions on the wall with painters tape helped us get a better sense of what looked right (we added built-ins, one for the TV, on either side of the mantel and were constricted by windows there as well). We used a gray-green arts & craft style tile surround, but I love the marble you’ve shown–just make sure you can clean everything, because it will get dirty (though not if you’re switching to gas). Good luck, you’ve chosen some beautiful inspiration!

  7. Thanks for the fireplace inspiration (I have a similar before, but worse) — but thanks especially for the local resources for architectural salvage!!

  8. More than anything, your post begs the question, how do you have a TV above your mantle without all the annoying cords from Apple TV, Cable box, etc? Where and how did you hide them? I’m all about the beauty of this post, but you can’t have beauty without practical functionality!

    1. We had some special system installed when renovating that allows us to keep the components in a closed cabinet and no wires needed. I’ll ask Andrew to respond with details :)

  9. we have a gas fireplace with the faux logs and a remote control starter! while i initially thought it was the dumbest thing, i could now not be happier ever time i use it and i think we use the fireplace so much more bc it’s just so easy. it is actually ‘ventless’ and doesn’t have an actual chimney for any of you that don’t have an existing fireplace, there are options! just converted a small (real) fireplace in another room to gas but there wasn’t room for the remote control starter so i have to contort myself to reach the key for the gas while holding the match so it lights and praying my arm doesn’t go up in flames while i am paying attention to the key action…go remote if you can! thanks for the inspo, love to hear your thought process on these big decisions!

  10. Erin – we’re moving into a condo without a fireplace (cry), but i would love to do some kind of a mantle or something. Is that weird? Do you think it’s possible to do and make it look elegant?

    1. Why not a TV over the fireplace? Enjoy fire and TV simultaneously! Since I do watch TV, I love seeing beautifully decorated rooms where the TV is present.

  11. Hi Erin,

    We have same venting issue and planning on doing the same, but Theo says installing a liner (for gas) might fix vent issue. Thoughts?

    Can you tell me who you find to do liner and gas conversion when you do it???

    Love the marble ideas :)

    Mandy

  12. Love this post. We changed our fireplace to gas 2 years ago…so happy. Only thing I wish was that we didn’t have to have glass doors. It is code in Mass…
    We have black doors…doesn’t look bad but not a fan of glass doors on the fireplace.

  13. Oh my GOD! These are all the same images I’ve been obsessively pinning too! We just bought an old (OLLDDDD) Victorian in San Francisco, with a truly heinous fireplace that we’re looking to replace. The first image has been my spirit animal for this project… dying to see what you come up with while we save for it (and ponder the idea of going with an antique marble surround)

  14. Interesting and different post today…loved it! I am in California, without a fireplace but makes me want to put one it! My dream is one outside.

    I also would love information on the TV installation.

    Thank you!

  15. YES! They are so classic and beautiful. My grandmother had the most gorgeous antique marble fireplace in her living room and I will never forget it. It was stunning and elegant and I wish to the good Lord we had taken it out before selling her house. So, go for it!!!

    On another note, where did you find the incredible candle sticks on your fireplace? They are so cool and I have seen them on a couple of blogs, but do not know where to find them. XO

  16. Erin — question for you. What are your thoughts on polished vs honed for the fireplace surround? We are doing a more traditional mantle (similar in style to the Maria Beck photo) — I’m leaning toward honed but wanted an expert’s opinion.

    Best,
    Lianne

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