Crackling fires, smoke billowing from the chimney — this is the picture of a cozy home on a cold winter day. Maybe your fireplace is within a wall made entirely of red brickwork, or perhaps it’s built into a wall with a beautiful mantel where Christmas stockings hang. The history of the fireplace is a long and winding one, with designs changing and blending with the styles and tastes of people over the centuries.
The fireplace, now a central and highly coveted part of the home, wasn’t always so loved. In its beginnings, it was simply a means to an end. Over time, it has grown into a stylish, yet functional, focal point.
Fireplaces were then known as fireboxes and were practically as large as walk-in pantries. The location of these fireboxes was also dependent on an area’s overall climate. In New England, they were built of great stone in the center of the home to heat several rooms at once. Meanwhile, in the South, they were placed at only one end of the home to keep the rest of the space cool.
In the 18th century, the fireplace took central stage in living rooms. They remained quite large in design and rarely had a mantel. However, toward the end of the century, there was a surge in design where fireboxes begin looking like what we know of as fireplaces. People began mixing different materials into the brickwork, using more stone, and creating an artistry around fireplace openings.
By this time, fireplaces became smaller, and people burned coal rather than wood. As industrialization took place, the use of iron fireplaces grew in popularity. There was also a rise in cast iron grates, and mantels became more common.
Designs began to fall away from Victorian and Greek flourishing, and a Colonial style was the new trend, signifying a move toward simplicity yet elegance. Teddy Roosevelt was a big proponent of nature and was one of the first to combine river rock with the brickwork inside to give his home a natural feel.
B & K Masonry has cared for the brickwork around fireplaces and chimneys since 1989. Whether you live in a historic Colonial home or one with a modern design, the masonry contractors will ensure your home maintains the style you enjoy. Don’t have a fireplace? They also make custom fireplaces and chimneys, in addition to brick block and stonework around your home or garden. Call them today at (860) 627-5388 or contact them online.