The Custom Fireplace: Five Tips from a Professional!

The disciplines of architecture and design circle around style and substance. For example, in Chicago where architectural style is taken very seriously, the Louis Sullivan commandment that form must follow function reigns supreme. We turned to a long time stone industry veteran in Chicagoland, Ms.Katie Pomroy, to get some help on how the homeowner can personalize a space by customizing a functional element within it like the fireplace. So here we go with a little bit on the custom fireplace: five tips from a professional!

The legendary Louis Sullivan

“One of the things we take great pride in is our ability to customize a natural stone fireplace for our clients”, said Katie. OK, but let’s drill down a bit. So here are five great tips from on how to get that accomplished.

  1. Design a firebox opening that allows for equal pieces of cladding to surround it. Think about this instead of using a standard opening dimension.
  2. Make your fireplace design more your own by adapting its size to the scale of the room. According to Katie, “this is something we do all the time”. For example, in a very large room with high ceilings we often suggest increasing the depth of the pieces composing the surround.”   This minor change creates a more unique piece that also fits the space more perfectly.
  3. Since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, why not borrow a section of a fireplace you have seen and redo it as your own. According to Miss Pomroy, “use the header you love with the legs you saw somewhere else.”
  4. The crown molding in the room can be incorporated into the design of the fireplace. Again, delivering a more one of a kind piece.
  5. Katie also says, “make a statement with a full wall of stone including thin veneer and a carved fireplace to complement one another and create a substantial focus in the room.”


So there you have five tips on customizing your natural stone fireplace while abiding by solid design ideas. Katie Pomroy can be reached in the Chicago showroom of our sister company, Materials Marketing and at If you are outside of Chicagoland, then Materials Marketing has 10 showrooms across America where there are design professionals like Katie who will be happy to help you!