In the Middle Ages, fireplaces served dual purposes – they warmed the often draughty and cold manors and castles of the nobility and often allowed the upper classes to entertain in style with cooked offerings to guests that may seem a little, well, over the top by today’s standards. In England, the fireplace in Shute Barton House is so large that two oxen could be prepared in it for special occasions. That particular installation clearly fits into the classification of ‘Monster Fireplace‘.
Today it is unlikely that anyone will be roasting two full grown oxen in their fireplace (unlikely – but not impossible – the world is a funny place) – however for many people the idea of a ‘Monster Fireplace’ still has a certain appeal.
However, the sanity test musts till be applied when it comes to the decision of just how big is big enough – and just how big is ‘I think that’s a bit much’. Every fireplace that is installed by a homeowner needs to meet certain criteria. It must first be suitable for the room in which it is being installed. There is simply no point in installing a huge fireplace that overwhelms the space where it is found. It will then almost inevitably overpower any other design elements in the room – and this will disturb the interior decor balance of the area.
If the fireplace is actually going to be used it again must conform to the requirements of the space. Installing a monster fireplace in a smaller room means that it cannot be fueled efficiently – especially if it will be wood burning. Fill it completely and the possibility exists that it will cause the room to become uncomfortably warm. Underfill it and it may look a bit odd.
The key to getting a large fireplace that fulfills the homeowner’s requirements is to seek that all important balance- a bit of planning will do wonders when it eventually comes to the attractiveness and functionality of the final installation.