Marble Fireplace: A New Frame of Mind

November 11, 2009 Updated: October 1, 2015

BEAUTIFUL STONE: An elegant mantel carved out of honey onyx. It was custom designed by Grandiose Marble. (Cecil Greene/Grandiose Marble)
BEAUTIFUL STONE: An elegant mantel carved out of honey onyx. It was custom designed by Grandiose Marble. (Cecil Greene/Grandiose Marble)
Grandiose Marble is a quaint business located at 909 Sophia Street in old town Fredericksburg, Virginia. Many years ago, the owners, Cecil and Denise Greene, moved into their home in Spotsylvania, Virginia, about 12 miles outside of Fredericksburg. One day they realized they wanted something a little classier than their plain wood fireplace mantle. Nearly all homes these days use wood trim for the construction of the fireplace mantel. Mrs. Greene had a photograph of a fireplace with a grand marble mantle that they both liked.

“We always liked the grand attitude that statues give a home… we wanted to incorporate them into our home’s décor, but all we could find were concrete statues,” said Mr. Greene. They did some research on the Internet and finally, after much searching and calling around, found what they were looking for.

The Greene’s were ecstatic at the beautiful appearance of their new fireplace. “We wondered if there were others out there who were as frustrated as we were in the search for that special look that stone renaissance provides,” said Mr. Greene.

“Stone Renaissance” is the term Mr. Greene likes to use to describe the resurgence of stone in home decor. Mantles, fountains, statues, reliefs, doorways and staircases made of marble, limestone, travertine or sandstone are the next step up in home décor and improvement.   

So, they started a marble décor business and Grandiose Marble opened its doors five years ago. About two years ago they moved their shop to Fredericksburg, one block off of Caroline Street in Olde Towne, a street which is lined with historical buildings, museums, and antique shops. Their shop is close to the Old Stone Warehouse and Center for Creative Arts, on Sophia Street.

Mr. Greene admits that marble décor is not for everyone. It is certainly not the first thing most people think about when decorating their homes these days. But the strength and natural beauty of stone is undeniable. The patrons of Grandiose Marble are “not afraid,” said Mr. Greene, “to design and decorate in a style that is not status quo.” They typically have an edge in their decorating attitude and appreciate “upscale, high-end grandeur.”

While specializing in neo classical marble and granite fireplaces, the Greene’s also display marble columns, large water fountains and gazebos, classical and avant-garde statutes, and, of course, granite countertops, which most people think of when marble or granite décor is mentioned these days.

It’s not limited to just these, however. They also specialize in custom work. How about a mantle composed of four golfers, two on either side putting a green? Large horse heads or your pet carved from a photo or even a large replica of your favorite NASCAR on either side of your fireplace mantle. In stone, it can be custom made.

Mrs. Greene showed me an architect’s design sketch for a fireplace for a home in Great Falls. It was not at all ornate, but composed of straight rectangular lines with several surface layers. The finished product was a stately looking fireplace mantle carved of onyx. As one enters the room, it draws your attention in a way that an ordinary wood fireplace could not. This particular fireplace took 12 weeks from sketch to delivery.

“When you go into a home, the fireplace should be a focal point,” said Mr. Greene “and it makes a statement about you and your home.”
 
Mr. Greene calls this kind of a fireplace with its straight lines, “English style,” which distinguishes these from the more ornate “European style,” i.e., Louis XIII, and from the fireplaces with carved figures holding the mantel up, “Renaissance /neo classical style.” The English style was used by the colonists because it was easily recreated in wood and if painted white would resemble marble.

The beauty of marble must always be weighed by the extra cost. Prices start at $3000.  Many people would hesitate at spending this amount or even more on their home, but Mr. Greene points out: “Ten years ago, if they saw the price of granite countertops, they would have bulked too.”

Just as homeowners today have fallen in love with their granite countertops, they will be even more delighted to have a marble fireplace mantle, explains Mr. Greene. Moreover, unless you entertain in your kitchen, most guests will not see your kitchen granite, but will see the room with your marble fireplace.

Your Home is Your Castle

Let’s say someone wants a fireplace made of marble with renaissance figures on the ends. Would the rest of the décor in the room have to be renaissance?  Not necessarily. “The rest doesn’t have to be antique,” said Mrs. Greene.

What if your home is not fancy? Mr. Greene answers, “Put this [marble fireplace] in your home and it will be fancy!” A fountain or maybe statues that line your driveway or surround your pool all will make an indelible statement.

“A room is made up of four walls and it’s up to you what you do with those four walls that reflect you.”
 
Mr. Greene says they work with architects, decorators, designers, contractors and home owners. For those without their own decorators or designers, the Greene’s are here to help.

Mr. Greene explains that people need a new frame of mind.  “You don’t have to live in a palace to have your home’s interior look like one.”

The Web site for Grandiose Marble is www.GrandioseMarble.com and the phone number is (540) 582-2227.