photo by: Trent Bell

December 14, 2017

8 Historic Fireplaces to Warm Up Your Day

It is a truth universally acknowledged (or, if not, we’re acknowledging it here) that those who love old buildings also love fireplaces. There’s something both primal and endlessly comforting about coming in from a chilly commute, a day of running errands, or a round of shoveling snow and sitting down in front of a toasty hearth.

The best fireplaces have a gravitational pull to them, inviting deep conversations over cups of hot chocolate or mulled wine. Whether in a humble log cabin, a Colonial-era rowhouse, or a grand robber-baron estate, they serve as (literally) built-in reminders that winter, while cold and sometimes bleak, does have its advantages.

Below, we’ve chosen some of our favorite fireplaces from past Preservation magazine stories to help you ward off the season’s chill.


photo by: Don Freeman

When the Fisher-Kahn House was under construction in the 1960s, Modernist architect Louis Kahn asked the stonemasons to rake out the mortar joints in the fireplace so the stones would appear to be dry-laid. The half-round, Montgomeryville stone chimney anchors the 1,800-square-foot house, located in Hatboro, Pennsylvania.


photo by: Jay Graham

The Arts & Crafts-style fireplace in Phoebe Apperson Hearst Social Hall (1913) at Asilomar Conference Grounds in Monterey, California. Its architect, Julia Morgan, often included large, dramatic fireplaces in her work.


photo by: Lincoln Barbour

At Frank Lloyd Wright’s Pope-Leighey House (a National Trust Historic Site in Alexandria, Virginia) the patterning of the brick chimney and hearth reinforce the horizontality of the architecture.


photo by: Dina Avila

At the Burkes-Belluschi House in Portland, Oregon, architect Pietro Belluschi created a massive fireplace using Mount Adams stone. His son and daughter-in-law, Tony and Marti Belluschi, had the stone cleaned when they restored and renovated the 1940s residence.

Meghan Drueding is the executive editor of Preservation magazine. She has a weakness for Midcentury Modernism, walkable cities, and coffee-table books about architecture and design.

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