The house we are building is now being framed, so many of the concepts that I have thought about in the abstract are requiring a firm decision in the very near future. Individually they are small decisions, but cumulatively they number in the hundreds, and each decision makes a contribution to the overall aesthetic and function of the house.
One such decision that we had to finalize this week was the pattern of the firebrick in the fireplaces (the firebrick is the ceramic material that lines the inside of the firebox). Yes, a small thing, but given that I have posted about mantels and fireplaces frequently on my blog, it is one that I have great interest in.
Back in 2008, I professed my admiration for a herringbone pattern in the firebox, as seen on my favorite cover of Veranda.
This beautiful firebox features a herringbone pattern with the fire bricks in a slightly larger size. Interior design by Suzanne Kasler.
The effect can look quite different depending on the size of firebrick used in the fireplace. This fireplace (designed by Jim Howard, with a custom size mantel by Francois & Company) uses larger size bricks for a more graphic effect.
One of the French style homes in Atlanta based builder YM Derazi’s portfolio has an interesting herringbone pattern using larger scale firebricks and multiple brick colors. Image via YM Derazi.
Personally, I prefer when the firebricks are very thin and detailed, as seen in this picture of a house under construction in Atlanta. I love the design and color of this particular firebox, and the fact that the hearth is flush with the ground.
Another one of my favorite fireplace pictures – the combination of the traditional mantel, the graphic contemporary art, and the delicacy of the herringbone pattern in the fireplace makes for a great vignette.
The pattern in this fireplace is also in herringbone design, but appears to be vertically oriented rather than horizontally oriented. It is an interesting twist on the herringbone pattern.
Many fireboxes have the firebricks in a clean lined running bond pattern. This is a nice subtle look.
This fireplace, with a mantel by Francois & Company, had a simple design in the firebox, which works well as the floors of the room are a herringbone (this house was a showhouse several years ago).
Another Atlanta showhouse from several years ago shows a running bond pattern with larger size bricks. The scale of the brick has a big impact on the look and feel of the design. Interior design by Womack Interiors.
A small scale running bond pattern in a fireplace featured on the Belgian Pearls blog.
The pattern in the firebox appeals to me every time I see it – thin strips of fire bricks, laid in a vertical pattern with a thin horizontal layer separating the rows. This fireplace is in the Max & Company Atlanta store. Architectural design by Jim Howard.
A close up of the firebox in a house designed by Bobby McAlpine has firebricks in another interesting arrangement – this time columns with the thin split firebricks laid horizontally. Image via Benecki Fine Homes (builder and owner of the house pictured above; interiors by Melanie Turner).
This image intrigued me, not only because of the unusual dark color of the firebrick, but also because of the interesting pattern – a unique twist on herringbone, with rows and columns.
This beautiful firebox combines the best of both designs – vertically designed fire bricks surrounding the firebox, and a herringbone pattern inside the firebox. Architecture and photography by Peter Block. This home was built by YM Derazi, and it is truly exquisite. (YM Derazi is also building my home, so I have first hand experience with the quality of their work!).
Of course, if you actually use your fireplace, it often ends up looking like this….
At a design meeting this week, my architect suggested a pattern that I have not really seen in many pictures. It looks somewhat like the pattern in this picture, although the firebricks will be thinner. We both think it will look beautiful with the antique limestone mantel that Suzanne selected for the living room.
Do you have a pattern that you like inside a firebox? I don’t even recall noticing this particular design feature before writing this blog, but it is now an element that I appreciate and notice whenever I see a well done fireplace.
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