Special Open Fire Project 1 – Oxfordshire Country Home

Dunthrop House

One of our most recent special projects which we installed 2 weeks before Christmas was at Dunthrop House, a beautiful home in the Oxfordshire countryside. This particular project involved the creation of two canopies and fire baskets for two separate fireplaces, and was especially interesting because they were commissioned by a customer who is also an interior designer! We then had to be at the top of our game when designing and creating these pieces to ensure they blended in with their already beautiful home.

The Canopies

These two canopies in particular were unusual, because they were in a relatively uncommon design: the flat-fronted canopy. This means the canopies cover the entire width of the fireplace opening, to create a beautiful metal panel above the fire.

Copper Flat Canopy with fire basket and ball top dog irons.

The two canopies our customer commissioned can be described as a perfect pair, as they were both in the same style, but made from different metals: copper and brass. They are created in our traditional way, by shaping a solid sheet of the preferred metal skinned on to a steel buck as the base of the canopy, and these two fires are no different. However, the two outer metals were then given a very special finish to create an authentic antique appearance. This process involved using acid to burn the metal over a period of time, giving a beautiful finish like that of antique leather (which our customer loved!) The finishing touches of rivet detailing to these canopies were again commissioned by our customer and helped to create a traditional English fireplace feeling in our customer’s home that paired perfectly with the design of the rooms.

Our TwinSkin Design

Close up of flat copper acid-burnt canopy with rivet detailing

The shape of these canopies is not the only interesting thing about them. We used a twin-skin canopy design to make these fires work as efficiently as possible. The chimneys were abnormally large at 400mm in diameter each, meaning without our fireplace expertise and Twin Skin canopy design, these two fires would have needed 3 air vents put in place – which would have been difficult at this stage of the project and significantly increased draughts in the house.

So, as part of our Twin Skin design, we have reduced the effective diameter of the flue and concealed a much smaller canopy behind the flat canopy you can see in the photos. This invisible canopy does all the hard work, allowing the fire to work properly and draw all the smoke from the fire up into the chimney, whilst needing minimal air vents in the room. This also allows the outer display canopy to be as extravagant (in this case large!) as you like. So, the Twin Skin is a much easier, efficient, and safe process than the alternative. For more info on our Twin Skin open fires, head to our webpage…

Flat Brass Canopy with modern style fire grate

Aside from these two extra special canopies, we provided this customer with a set of dog irons and fire basket for one fireplace, and a Belgian style U grate for the second to complete the authentic appearance of a country fireplace. We are pleased to say our customer was overjoyed with her commission – and we wish them a happy holiday making the most of their new festive fireplaces!