As shorter days encroach, cooler temperatures seize the air; soon, the landscape around us will be stripped of its vibrancy. The layers are starting to pile on, and the craving for comfort starts setting in; it’s time to bundle up and nestle into our homes.
Seven miles and two hours into my hike up in the Shawangunk Mountains this past weekend, I had the sudden uht-oh moment as the sun hid behind passing clouds; evening was ascending. When I looked at my watch it was 3:30 PM; it would be dark in just a couple of hours. Completely forgetting that darkness now falls around 6’ish, and even earlier on tree canopied trails; I had to hustle.
As much as I love autumn, I have an aversion to my days being interrupted by an earlier shade of grey. I find myself drawn to water during the summer months, and fire in the winter. For me, the fire seems to soothe the ache of these reduced days; it keeps the sunshine in, and the darkness remote.
As I’m writing this blog, Jim Morrison’s “Come on baby light my fire” is singing in my head. Now we all know this song isn’t about a romantic evening in front of a crackling fire, but let’s face it, a rip-roaring fire ignites romance, which in turn will light your baby’s fire, and set the night on fi-yer! So with the late, great Jim Morrison tune belting out in my mind, I will now set this blog on fire…
Oh how I love the evolution of technology, especially when it comes to fire. With ventless fireplace designs heavily on the scene, everyone in even the tiniest of homes, can enjoy the ambiance of a real fire. You may sacrifice the scent and crackle of wood, but you’ll still have the comforting warmth and soothing ambiance of those dancing flames…and I’m sure if you look hard enough, there are campfire scented candles out there somewhere.
There are ventless firebox inserts that will simply slip into an intended structure, and there are portable fireplaces that will mount directly on a wall, or sit upon a table. You also have the ability to move portable structures from room to room with ease. And, since you’re not stuck in a vented situation, these alternative genres of fireplace technologies allow for endless design possibilities.
Back in the day, a fireplace was used as a source of heat and cooking; today, it’s used more for aesthetic purposes. A room centers itself around a fireplace, so a lot of thought should go into its design. What is the room used for? Where is, or should the fireplace be positioned? What is the proper placement of furniture?
If it’s a bedroom on a second level, you may want to go with gas or a ventless bio-fuel, so you don’t have to cart wood up the stairs or interrupt relaxation to stoke the fire, and there’s no messy clean-up.
What is the best vantage point? Keep it comfortable and at a level that affords optimal viewing pleasure; it shouldn’t be an effort to enjoy the view. Think about how you use the room. I this a room for entertaining? A dining room where crowds will gather? Is this a total hang out room where you kick up your feet and watch television? How you utilize the space dictates the arrangement of furniture, the position of the television, etc. In a relaxing family room where television is the primary feature, you don’t want this space to play out like a tennis match with the television far right and the fireplace extreme left; bring it all in and center the focus. I know many people have an aversion to mounting a television over a fireplace, but today, there are so many creative ways to camouflage or hide electronics. I’ve seen artwork that slides out over the TV, mirrored panels, etc. Another creative idea is to stream a continual gallery of photos on the television; it’s a great way to enjoy family photos, scenic views, etc.
This kitchen is a perfect example of a thoughtful design plan. The design flows seamlessly in this space, and everyone has a comfortable vantage point, whether dining or standing at the counter preparing meals.
I love outside of the box designs. Designers have really turned up the heat on fireplace designs. Take note and don’t box yourself in when designing your fireplace; step outside the typical square; go a little off kilter and take it off center. Spice up the facade and surround it with interest. We’ve collected an entire gallery of fireplace designs to spark your imagination; take a peek…
If the opportunity presents itself, take advantage of a view from all rooms…
Keep your surroundings interesting…
Incorporate the necessary split wood & kindling into the design…
Use interesting sculptural elements inside of your fireplace; just be sure they can withstand the heat.
And as always…safety first!
I hope we lit your fire and sparked your imagination. If you have a few fiery design ideas of your own, please feel free to fuel the fire and share them with us.
Have a beautiful Sunday friends!