Come Meet My New Parisian Fireplace Mantel!

Hi Guys,

Well, I had two vaccines yesterday, flu and pneumonia, that my doctor wants me to have. My insurance will only pay for the flu vaccine guaranteed to knock one off one’s feet because it’s the flu vax on steroids.

If you don’t “believe” in vaccines, I respect your right to believe whatever you do. However, I’ve had the flu, pneumonia, and other serious infections. It’s no joke, and I can’t afford to be incapacitated for three weeks, possibly making my POTS worse. (You can read about POTS here.)

Anyway, I took an extra strength Tylenol, and that really helped.


I’ve been working on a lot of things, but one that I’ve spent the most time on is seriously zeroing in on the fireplace mantel.


Remember the Parisian Fireplace mantel we looked at recently?

Guys, several of you pointed me toward places that have reclaimed mantels. I know you mean well and I appreciate that. However, I have one of those. It’s way too big. And, that is the problem with 99% of American mantels.

I have decided I don’t want to muck with that minimum 12″ code for a fireproof surround under wood.


Therefore, the mantel has to be made of marble. Then, we only need about six inches for the slip all the way around.


To that end, I contacted Chesney’s. Like Jamb, they are a high-end seller of gorgeous reproduction fireplace mantels as well as antiques in the UK. However, their prices aren’t in the stratosphere. And they have a to the trade only showroom in NYC’s D & D Building, where I spent hundreds of hours shopping for clients.

There is one mantel I like a lot. It is in the style of Sir John Soane (10 September 1753 – 20 January 1837), the illustrious English neo-classical architect. You can see some of his exquisite work here, at the University of Cambridge I visited in 2017.


Sir John was a contemporary of our own (“our” being Boston) neo-classical architect, Charles Bulfinch. (August 8, 1763 – April 15, 1844).


Portrait by George B. Matthews, after 1842 drawing by Alvan Clark Oil on canvas, 29-1/2" x 24-1/2" 1931

Portrait by George B. Matthews, after 1842 drawing by Alvan Clark Oil on canvas, 29-1/2″ x 24-1/2″ 1931

Charles Bulfinch was the architect of the original Mass State House Building. You know, the one with 100s of building code violations. And, he was also the architect of the fantastic Otis House. Coincidentally, I’m currently living around the corner from the Otis House. Of course, he designed numerous other important buildings in Boston.


So, let’s look at the Soane-inspired chimneypiece created by Chesney’s of London.


Chesney's Albany fireplace mantel
Chesney’s Albany fireplace mantel

See? Beautiful, classical proportions, devoid of extraneous ornamentation. Sir John’s taste was exquisite. I’m not sure if this is the American size of the Albany which is 47.5″ high or UK size which is 45.5″ high.



The details are gorgeous.


Unfortunately, there are a few problems.


I found it at this source online for $4,200. Not bad.


However, the “trade” quote was for $4,100. And, I was told it was 40% off.


Okay… if you say so. :/

In addition, I need the English size, not the American size. The UK size while better would be better a little lower. The height of my opening is only 26.5″ high. With shipping, the price quoted was $5,500. However, that did not include the customizations, which would probably jack the price up at least 20%.

The slip that I like the best can’t be customized to fit, and I believe the price is at least as much as the mantel.

I also feel that the Chesney’s skirting (base) on the jambs (legs) is a little high, especially for the height I need. (43″)


But, one thing Chesney’s does that I love is they have PDF line drawings available for download.


Chesney's - The John Soane - Albany fireplace mantel

So, then I went back to the antique Louis XVI-style fireplace (one here is similar).

Two problems there. The guy didn’t return my query, and it’s really a little too deep for my liking. However, I found another fireplace that’s just the right size.


The guy in the Netherlands got back to me right away.


He knocked off several hundred, which I very much appreciate. And, it’s in line with what I was planning on spending. But, the shipping quote is super steep. He’s going to look into getting me a better rate. Anyway, I’ve decided on it.


Presenting my new Parisian fireplace mantel!


My new old Parisian fireplace mantel

But here’s what’s funny. Two years ago, in the mirror over the mantel post, I shared the beautiful photo below from the fabulous ABKasha on Instagram.


AB Kasha mirror and neoclassical fireplace mantel detail
Yes, it’s the same design! And mine is from Paris, originally, and 19th c. I’m so tickled that I’m going to (God willing) have a mantel like one of their gorgeous mantels they put in all their exquisitely renovated Paris apartments.

If you’re not already, please follow ABKasha on Instagram!


I’ve also redone my rendering with the new Parisian fireplace mantel.


Parisian Fireplace Mantel - new fireplace wall rendering

I love it! It’s a bit of Paris and it’s 19th century. We have to come up with a suitable name. ;]

Of course, I will give you all the details after we finalize the deal.

P.S. I still want the Egyptian chandelier, but I need to wait to see if there’s any money left for it.

There’s so much more I’m working on! Much to share, including the latest on the Cremone Bolts!



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44 Responses

  1. Hi Laurel! I’m late to the show here, but wanted to say that I cannot believe you’re going to have a 19th c. marble fireplace mantel all the way from Paris!!! WOW!!! It’s really like being in a dream, it is so exquisite, so refined, so gorgeous, I am very happy for you! SM.

    1. Thanks so much, Sylvia! I also feel I’m in good hands with the vendor. Part of the expense of shipping is a custom crate for the mantel, plus insurance! Plus, he takes care of all of the logistics.

  2. I’ve always thought a mantle was just the horizontal piece on a fireplace. It looks like you are talking about the vertical components as well…so a mantle consists of three pieces; two vertical and one horizontal? I learn something every day!

    1. Hi Celestial,

      Strictly speaking you are correct. It really is a fireplace surround or chimney piece. However, most mantel’s have the vertical pieces (the jambs or legs) and it’s become more common to call the entire piece a mantel.

  3. So gorgeous. I had goose bumps reading about it because it came through clearly that this was the right decision for you and that it is bringing you joy.. I’m clicking on your amazon link- every day- in case it helps you get your Egyptian chandelier!

  4. Laurel, j’adore votre mantel unique. Vous dites, “mon mantel unique or mon unique mantel.” A name. I got it…”Monique Mantel!”

  5. Beautiful! You are creating a dream room and I have so enjoyed following your renovation. The mantel, however, is my absolute favorite! It is on the tip top of my “dream list” to have one day.
    Already looking forward to reading your next post! Thank-you for bringing us all along.

  6. Hi Laurel,

    The fireplace mantel you chose is beautiful and it will look lovely in your home. I am however curious how they are going to ship something that heavy from the Netherlands. I would assume the shipping would cost as much as the mantel itself.

  7. Love it! It’s perfect! Can’t wait to see everything when it’s finished. Thanks so much for bringing us along on your journey. I always look forward to your next post.

  8. Laurel, Your rendering sings. Love how your knowledge is evident as you pursue what you know will work well. That fireplace mantel is beautiful.

  9. The fireplace is you turned into a fireplace mantel. Lovely, exquisite, ever beautiful, timeless and stays arounds for a long time and kicks out the competition.

  10. Laurel, all I can say is that your new fireplace looks much better than the one that was your inspiration. Thank goodness, the original was too expensive. I love the one you are getting. Beautiful! Alicia

  11. Hi Laurel,

    I’m so glad you found a fireplace mantle you love. I really hope that it all works out. I’m a little skeptical that a marble mantle shipped from the Netherlands is going to be cheaper than your source from Alabama. Shipping just keeps going up. If they can’t I would probably create a CAD drawing and send it to different stone places around you and see if anyone can make it locally. I also found this place in Canada. They could at lease ship it via truck. Tartaruga Design

    I’ve never used them. I just found them online.

    1. Hi Amy,

      Thank you, I know you mean well, but the company you mentioned is the antithesis of what I want. I found what I want and at a reasonable price for an antique mantel that will match the age of my home.

  12. Your fireplace mantel is very beautiful, stately, regal and the perfect size. I think you should name it Louis, after the French king who built the Versailles palace or perhaps just Paris – of course either one needs to be pronounced with a French accent. 🙂 I hope the shipping isn’t more than the cost of the mantel itself. I like the look of the arched slip pictured with Chesney’s Albany mantel, it breaks up the rectangles you see everywhere else in the room and adds to the grandeur.

  13. I love your renovation posts! That mantel is gorgeous and perfect for your space! I pray it all works out so that you can have it in your beautiful home. I’ve been remembering to use your Amazon link to make all our purchases. I hope all your readers will do the same. You provide us with so much information, entertainment, and beauty!

  14. Oh, it’s going to be beautiful! I love living vicariously through this remodel with you. Fantastic work on finding the mantle.

  15. Love the mantel, Laurel! Excited for you; it’s all coming together 🥂

    Why don’t you just wait and get the Egyptian chandelier when you have recovered from the expense of everything else involved in making this room so drop-dead-gorgeous???


  16. your new fireplace is gorgeous – so happy you found your vision…
    Your home will be so rich in detail – what a joy to see something wonderful no matter where your eye lands…
    Lucky (hardworking) you!
    Thanks for the story so far…

  17. OK everybody, we need to buy stuff from Amazon so Laurel can keep going………she’s on a roll and I for one don’t want her to stop. As someone else mentioned she’s introducing me to things I didn’t know I wanted, some of them I didn’t know existed.
    This is the best site ever, gorgeous, educational, inspiring, did I mention gorgeous?
    Thank you Laurel for taking all of us on this trip with you.

  18. First it was the kitchen, then the approval of the stairs… now the fireplace… Pièce de Résistance! Every time you, as Hosier would say… take me to church Laurel, and right from my own home!

  19. Laurel,

    I am so happy for you—the mantel is exquisite. And I am loving your renovation posts. I can’t wait for you to enjoy the beauty and new functionality of your home. Thanks for sharing this adventure with all of us.


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Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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