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A mantel serves not only as an architectural anchor in a room but as a functional shelf on which to display prized possessions.
That's why so many of them still grace the parlors, dining rooms, and bedrooms of old houses even when the fireboxes have been walled over to eliminate drafts.
Sharp, detailed models come in kits that lock together with a few twists of the Phillips-head. For full step-by-step instructions on how to update your fireplace, see How to Install A Mantel.
Because each piece is designed, molded, and glazed by hand, no two look exactly alike.For more on these and other beautiful tiles, see The Art Tile Buying Guide.There's something so homey about a stone fireplace, bringing to mind cozy nights spent with loved ones in front of a blazing hearth.After years of searing-hot blazes, fireplace mortar can crack, crumble, and fall out.Gaping mortar joints are not only unattractive, they leave the bricks more vulnerable to damage.