Living in an old Tudor, I have a special affinity for English decorative elements and I cannot think of anything more English than a cast iron Victorian fireplace in a bedroom. Unfortunately, these are not easily found in the United States. The ones I did find cost around $1,000, definitely not in my budget! Fortunately, I was able to assemble a similar faux fireplace at a greatly reduced cost. Although we cannot heat the bedroom with this fireplace, it does add decorative warmth and ambiance to our space.
I started by stalking Ebay until I found an antique cast iron fireplace surround for just under $150, this was by far the greatest expense. I could have purchased one even less expensively if I hadn’t had my heart set on an arched fireplace. Once I had the surround, I could determine the measurements of the rest of my materials. I was working with a very narrow space, be sure to adjust all measurements to work with your available space.
Cast iron fireplace surround
Picture wire strong enough to hang the surround
Tin ceiling tile or another material to hang behind the surround
Thin lumber cut to the width of the surround
2” thick lumber cut to the width of the surround. to serve as the mantel
2” thick lumber cut larger than the bottom of the surround. to serve as the hearth
4 x 4” post for beneath the hearth
12 x 36” marble tile to sit on the floor
2 thick corbels
1 piece decorative moulding
Paint for wood
- Cut all lumber to size
- Glue the moulding to the thin lumber backing.
- Sand, wipe away dust, and paint all wooden materials.
- Spray paint the iron surround.
- Glue the 2″ hearth on the 4 x 4 lumber.
- Attach the tin ceiling tile or other backing to the wall with screws.
- Place the marble tile, 4 x 4 lumber and 2″ hearth in the desired position.
- Hang the surround so that it will just rest on the hearth materials.
- Screw the thin lumber above the surround, hiding the screws behind the corbels
- Hang the corbels on the thin lumber backing
- Glue the 2″ mantel on the corbels, making sure the mantel is pushed back against the wallOnce your fireplace has been assembled, you can decorate the inside with logs, a fireplace screen, Christmas lights, or candles. The mantle can be decorated with a vase, clock, candles, books, lamps, pictures, or sculptures.