WoodCentral's Book Reviews
Fireplace and Mantel Ideas

Fireplace and Mantel Ideas
by John Lewman

Fox Chapel Publishing: 2004
Paperback, 130 pp., $19.95
ISBN 1-56523-229-1

     Including dozens of varied design ideas, the author of Fireplace and Mantel Ideas first takes the reader through examples of historical influence on mantel designs, with illustrations from medieval, baroque and neo-classical styles. He briefly discusses the arts and crafts movement, art nouveau, and art deco.
     A long chapter is devoted to fireplace technology, and the efficiency of wood burning as well as gas fireplaces. New, energy efficient firebox inserts are shown, that will vent exhaust from the top, rear, or side. Of masonry fireplaces, the author shows how to construct the two-hundred-year-old Rumford fireplace design, which, according to the author, "is still the only mortar and brick design that completely meets the EPA's pollution standards." Gas fireplaces have their own chapter, with discussion of log designs and realistic yellow flame designs that vary in color to duplicate the appearance of a wood fire.
     The real appeal of this book, however, is in its dozens of ideas for mantel construction. Standard requirements for bacis mantel design are presented, including tile surrounds, standard framing and use of applied moldings. Ideas for custom carved mantels are given, with samples of work from custom builders such as Wehners, Stone Magic, Brickstone, Wally Little of Nevada, and Greg Young of Wisconsin.
     A mantel portfolio illustrates sixteen model designs in exploded construction drawings, side views and color renderings. An idea gallery displays dozens of finished installations in room settings. One chapter goes through basic mantel construction step by step , with clear photos of work in progress. The author also indexes ten pages of fireplace dealers and suppliers in the U.S. and Canada. This book is modern, up to date information, and a valuable resource for any new fireplace project.

. . . Barb Siddiqui