Fireplaces, much like the ceiling roses of 2018 or decorative architraves of 2019, have become something of an obsession for me in 2020. Whether peering into rooms of near-strangers on Zoom calls, webinars or Instagram Lives, I have become increasingly aware of their sheer beauty and variety. I seem to see them everywhere and am forever dumbstruck with awe in their pixelated presence. I have since learned that this infatuation with what Henry David Thoreau once called “the most vital part of the house” is a symptom of the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon, which makes for very interesting Googling in this time-rich period. I urge you to find out more.
Or, perhaps I’m just property-market savvy. According to Henry Wiltshire London, an international estate agent, increasing numbers of buyers are willing to pay more for a property with a fireplace, positing that fireplaces can increase a home’s value by up to 5 per cent. Period properties are in high demand in the London property market in particular, or at least they certainly were before lockdown, and this is generally to do with the character afforded to them by their original features. Fireplaces are top of the list, and not just my list. Spending as much time at home as we are, the “mantlescape” might fast be becoming the new tablescape.
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