From the Hearth: Focus on Fireplaces

There’s nothing quite like a real fire crackling away to spread warmth and light throughout a room. A beautiful fireplace provides a natural focal point for a cosy living room or entertaining space, as well as way to underscore your property’s period architectural details – ultimately adding value as well as aesthetic pleasure.

Richard Holden’s own home features a historic fireplace that once warmed the room in which Dwight Eisenhower planned the D-Day landings, and was recovered from a house on Inner Park Road, dated 1944.

Eisenhower fireplace dining room designed by Holden Harper

Reclaimed mid-century fireplace in architect Richard Holden’s Wimbledon home

We’re often asked to incorporate fireplaces into new-build projects, or to reinstate an original fireplace with a suitable surround for our period restorations in Wimbledon Village. There are many considerations and practicalities for which the services of an experienced architect are needed, but here are three pointers for anyone considering creating a fireplace in their home.

Fireplace Tips: Chester House & Copse Hill

Keep a sense of proportion

Bigger is not always better: to create a harmonious and balanced look, keep the proportions of your fireplace appropriate. An oversized hearth can make a bold statement in an entrance hall, but will overwhelm a domestic drawing room. Look to pick up stylistic references from other period details in your home and reflect these in the surround, which could be made of wood, marble, stone or cast iron.


Fireplace Ideas: Staircase Home Hallway

Size matters

If you do decide to go large, remember that the bigger the opening of your hearth, the bigger the flue – and therefore the chimney breast – will need to be. Without careful planning and clever design, a protruding chimney breast can take up valuable floor space. And of course, any structural changes will need to comply with building regulations.


Bespoke Fireplace: Living Room Wooden

Feed the flames

A real fire needs combustion air, so you’ll need a way for air from outside to ingress the firebox to keep the fire burning. If the flue is too cold, or too small, the fire won’t draw properly and will choke or smoke. A bespoke fireplace with a custom-engineered chimney is the best way to avoid complications.


Holden Harper Fireplace Tips Ideas White Living Room Fireplace Ideas

Holden Harper designed and installed all the bespoke fireplaces featured above. For advice on reinstating or installing fireplaces – or any other home renovations – please get in touch.

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