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My Favourite Fireplaces

An occasional series in which we ask a well-known celebrity to nominate their favourite fireplace...

#12 Mrs Brenda Oats:

My favourite fireplace is the imposing chimney breast and Regency-style surround to be found in the so-called Grey Room at Threadbone Towers.

As might be expected of Mrs Threadbone and her inhouse interior-design guru Senõr Enrique de los Chicos Perdidos, this one oozes class and is very much à la mode for 2020; grey being the "colour de notre jour". Lest this sound as though I am suggesting that Mrs Threadbone is "on-trend" [she once famously remarked "I wouldn't know a trend if it crept up on me like a rising incremental curve!"], I should add that, remarkably, the fireplace was installed when the room was remodelled in 2017 - almost a week and a day before grey became the default colour and Regency re-established itself as the classic English style.

The magnificent fireplace and chimney-breast of the Grey Room, Threadbone Towers.

What is I think most impressive about the ensemble as a whole, is the subtle blending of tones "across the piece". Shadows apart [yet how important they are with their dark-hued inky-black effects] the style is almost completely monochrome. The same shade of Furrow and Bull's #26785 ["Slate"] is simply allowed to create its magical effect wherever it is applied [everywhere].

Straying from the fireplace itself, the subtle addition of colour [the pewter grey candelabra], the deep non-luminous red of the standing lamp and the startling ivory of the clock-face, all bear witness to a unitary vision with subtle variation as well as a brilliant executive design concept allied to highly refined craftsmanship and perfect execution. To call the overall colour scheme grey and the effect sombre is simply to miss the nuances and understate the rigorous logic working its secret magic underneath. The overall sense of stability and calm is matched only by the room's almost chiaroscuric funereal vibe [a tribute to - or at least an echo of - the late Mr Threadbone for whom lurking in shadows was a modus operandi and an art in itself ?].

To return to the fireplace, it is almost certainly the vertical upward extension of the grooved panels adorning the chimney breast that creates the sense of restrained majesty evident throughout the design: the perfect metaphor for the fireplace's owner: the words "Threadbone", "Mrs" and "majestic" are - like the elements of the fireplace in the Grey Room, Threadbone Towers - "simply made for each other".



Mrs Brenda Oats, former thrupiecediet slimmer of the year, is a freelance writer and sometime acquaintance of Mrs Threadbone. Though she was paid for this article [ready money changed hands], no pressure was applied and she was not persuaded in any way to express the opinions stated herein. Mrs Oats has not seen the fireplace or ever been present in the Grey Room herself, but was instead supplied with a photograph and a rough - but publishable - draft.

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