Victorian style homes are no garden variety. The time of Queen Victoria brought great changes in many parts of everyday life. Industrial success of the time meant a whole new social class establishing their place in the British society. The newly emerging middle class wanted to show off their status and saw the interior of their homes as the best way to do so.
Victorian style is known to be a mix of bold and rich colours and extravagant ornaments. A style element Victorians liked to bring into their home was replications of nature. Unlike in art nova designs, in this era portray of animals, flowers and birds were realistic and vibrant. This was no time of minimalism. Crowded rooms overstuffed with furniture were a manifestation of a social status.Among other wonderful design elements Victorian style fireplaces are a signature of the time. The early fireplaces of the period were made of marble but following industrialisation cast iron fireplaces with heavy ornaments became much more popular.
Many of us are looking to install a modern, minimalistic fireplace but we shouldn’t forget why we were so fond of period fireplaces. Here are some reasons to bring them back.
1. Variety of materials
Victorian fireplaces were made from an array of materials. Initially, marble and slate were used in the mantel of the fireplace. Later in need for cheaper and easier manufacturing cast iron became popular and now is the signature look that many see when thinking of Victorian fireplaces. These had beautiful floral ornaments in the cast iron, which later were substituted by colourful tiles down both sides.
2. Historic legacy
The Victorian design has a very particular feeling to it and it’s true that it is not for everyone. The cast iron sets a mood in the room that for some can seem a bit cold and posh but in other homes this is exactly the kind of thing that works the best.
If you are lucky enough to have an original Victorian fireplace it will set the mood for the whole house. In this case, you better seize the opportunity and get yourself some Victorian furniture from flea markets and garage sales. History coming to live can become the defining feature of your home with the fireplace as the central element.
3. Tiles & Inner Arch
The most striking feature of Victorian fireplaces, at least to us, are the colourful tiles. Going down both sides creating wonderful vertical paintings or forest green and bordo red patterns tiles completely change the cast iron’s character.
Victorian homes are tall and narrow and so are most of the fireplaces in them. An exceptionally interesting feature is the top of the inner arch. It is usually cast iron covered in heraldry, tracery, medieval or nature ornaments. Alternatively, it can even be a continuation of the pattern tails on the sides.
Modern and minimalistic designs are the current hype, but period fireplaces will always be something to admire and occasionally bring back to life. Victorian style revived in itself many of its predecessors creating splendid fireplace designs as well as plump furniture. If you are up for a challenge why not try and bring a cast iron Victorian fireplace in your home?