The Heart of Your Home, A Fabulous Fireplace

​​​​​​​As the nights grow chillier, wintertime is often the best time to gather around a beautiful fireplace and create wonderful long-lasting memories. Do you remember visiting with family and friends when you all cozied up by your fireplace? How about the times you enjoyed mulled wine and a flickering fire with lowlights that created a ver y special ambiance? During the rest of the year, your fireplace can also be an attractive focal point of your décor while providing comforting glowing warmth on cool spring and fall nights, too. Camaraderie and conversations around a fireplace can create unforgettable memories, so why not take time to think about fireplace design in our homes, both indoors and outdoors.

Fireplaces used to be only a source of warmth and coziness, but over the years, they have turned into more of a decorative element with a purelysymbolic meaning. The history of the fireplace is fascinating as it evolved through the ages. The Celts and Romans used fire in their homes, with the Romans creating ways to move the smoke safely outside. The first chimneys were constructed in castles, probably during the 12th century, and innovations in the Middle Ages allowed them to vent the smoke out the roof. The fireplace was an imporatant center point in historic homes and was a critical necessity in early America. Fireplaces were used for heating a dwelling, cooking, and heating water for laundry and domestic uses. Fireplaces in English homes were smaller and more efficient. As the center of the house, a burning hearth provided heat, and provided multiple fires for cooking and baking, while serving as the destination for family gatherings. In the 1600’s and early 1700's, the typical fireplace was a walk-in, a wide, deep, open recess, generally with only a small mantel. or no mantel at all. By the 1900’s, electric heating became commonplace and fireplaces were less essential for heating.

Today, homeowners have a wide array of choices for the fireplaces in their homes. There are so many different ways to design your fireplace today and it still remains an important element in one or several rooms in your home. You will want to find the perfect place for your fireplace in each room, whether it is in the center of the wall creating symmetry, perhaps with bookcases on each side, or placed in a corner of the room. Fireplace designs come in all sizes and shapes and they are easily integrated into every room.

A hand-carved wooden mantel with a unique custom design adds a special timeless Old World elegance to a room. A variety of beautiful woods can be utilized, including cherry, mahogany, oak and others, lacquered or stained if desired. Stone fireplace designs can be a good solution because of their rustic appeal and they also help to bring nature inside your home.

Get dramatic with a painted fireplace surround, glamorous black slate and an elegant wood mantel. You can choose not to have a mantel and select the great look of stone, stacked all the way up to the ceiling. For a classic look, you can surround your fireplace with buffed limestone tile and a contemporary wood mantel. Or, you can paint a fireplace and create the look of adobe with plaster and a color that meshes well with the rest of the room. In addition to traditional-style fireplaces, modern fireplaces can be built attractively with stone, brick. marble or glass.

Fireplaces can also work as room separators when you have an open floor to design and you wish to create a private area in the living room. Floating fireplaces are examples of modern fireplace design that go as far from the traditional ones as possible. Their lucky owners have the advantage of putting a fireplace exactly where they need it, especially when they have high and spacious ceilings.

You can also create a well-styled and accessorized fireplace mantle with photos, artwork, plants and more. The more layers, the more attractive the finished product so why not layer varying sizes of framed or unframed art dccoratively on the mantle. Another fireplace mantel decorating tip is to hang numerous sizes and shapes of mirrors
instead of just one.
A wide range of accessories are also used with fireplaces, including grates, fireguards, log boxes, and irons, pellet baskets, and fire dogs, all of which cradle fuel and accelerate burning. For fireplace tending, tools
include pokers, bellows, tongs, shovels, brushes and tool stands. Other wider accessories can include log baskets, companion sets, coal buckets, cabinet accessories and more.

If you go for a functional fireplace, rather than a symbolic one, you should think about the heating source. The most popular trend nowadays is an ethanol-burning fireplace, because of its minimal looks; effortless maintenance; and flexibility. Ethanol fireplaces are eco- friendly, since they work with denatured ethanol which produces no smoke or ashes once the fire is on.

Electric fireplaces can be built-in replacements for wood or gas or retrofit with log inserts or electric fireboxes. Electrical fireplaces may look like real ones, but they only imitate their appearance and their functions. They usually have a screen with 3D logs ‘burning’ inside; and are sometimes even smoky in order to reproduce the real experience.

Outdoor fireplaces are also wonderful during nice weather in your region. Everyone loves to stay outside during the summertime and fully functional outdoor rooms are increasingly popular with fireplaces, pizza ovens, giant tv’s, couches, sound systems, special lighting and more. Comfortable seating makes for an inviting spot for everyone to enjoy teh fire and there can be ledge seating depending on your fireplace design, both indoors and outdoors.

You don’t need to go overboard with an outdoor fireplace — especially if you have a great view or another focal point. A low but attractive fire pit can still provide plenty of ambience on a deck or patio. How about creating the feel of a high-class resort by putting a fireplace by your pool? It’s a perfect way to warm up after a late night or early morning swim!

Whether ornate, elegant, simple, modem or rustic, a fireplace continues to be a source of warmth and comfort in the home and it’s still one of the most desired elements in any house today. Enjoy!

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