Marble Fireplace Surrounds & Mantels The fireplace, one of the most classic elements of a home, can greatly vary in style depending on the type of finishes and details. The fireplace has always been a strong characteristic of the home and the main source of heat in many cases. Even simple dwellings and huts often have a fireplace to heat the space and cook. Homes with a central heating unit are not reliant on the fireplace to warm the home, but the fireplace has become a symbol of the gathering space and center of activity, therefore remaining a staple in home design. Most often found in living rooms, dens, and kitchens, fireplaces are designed to add architectural interest and create ambiance in the room. Marble is perhaps the most classic finish of the American fireplace. The two most common types of marble fireplaces are either a wooden mantel with marble tile around the firebox and a solid carved marble surround. Modern Marble Fireplace Marble slabs that are used for countertops are ideal for modern fireplace surrounds since they can be easily customized. Image 1 shows a modern fireplace with a marble slab surround and hearth inset in a wooden block wall. Marble comes in large slabs, approximately five feet wide by nine feet long, making them ideal for covering most fireplace layouts in a solid piece without many joints. Fabricating the slabs to fit the fireplace is done with a similar process as fabricating marble countertops, allowing the slabs to be cut in nearly any shape. Marble slab fireplaces bring character into a home through the natural color and movement of the stone. Marble ranges from solid colors like white and black to highly veined varieties with red, gold, and green. A fireplace surround done in a marble slab allows that organic nature of the stone to be the defining characteristic, as opposed to moldings or carvings. Traditional Marble Fireplace Although a detailed and ornate carved marble fireplace surround adds great interest and beauty in a space, they are typically more formal, therefore often reserved for historic homes and classical architecture. The typical home built in the traditional style today lends itself to a timeless fireplace that has elegant details done with ease of today.