Since a fireplace mantel is the focal point of most family rooms, you want classic features that will stand the test of time, which often include an overmantel. Overmantels are decorative structures, originally constructed of plasterwork or carved wood, basically a second mantel set on top of the horizontal shelf of the bottom. The upper mantel may often have ornate panel with a mirror, painting or flatscreen TV framing it's center.
Traditionally, plasterwork or commissioned hand carved woodwork was cost prohibitive; not to mention the challenge of finding a skilled craftsman to build such an elaborate structure. This is no longer the case as cast stone is a masonry product used as an architectural feature, which is an excellent replacement for natural cut stone. Classic Cast Stone Mantels call upon renaissance details adapting overmantels to add visual interest to the mantel shelf, hearth and fireplace surround facings. A niche, 16th century recess introduced into the design of a statue can be fashioned within an overmantel to accommodate a tv while Cast stone crown molding could be customized to coordinate with the whole look.
Overmantels seem to be most commonly found in homes that have ceilings of ten feet or more because rooms with high ceilings can definitely support the classic visual impact of an overmantel. They should be made of the same material as the actual mantel, just used to breakup the space better and provide a backdrop for displaying some family heirlooms or trinkets.
If you want the look, but don't have high ceilings, you aren't out of luck. Custom mantel designs with overmantels are an option with unique widths and heights can be made to order, based on dimensions dictated by your home. Contact our cast stone experts today to achieve that "wow" factor from anyone who enters the room.