Warm Up to Fireplaces
I'm a writer who specializes in home and hearth subjects and the author of 22 books. My current home, which sits on the edge of a pond, is my favorite of all the houses I've owned. Every square inch of it is perfect for me, especially the huge windows that face the pond.
I'm a writer who specializes in home and hearth subjects and the author... More »
According to the National Association of Home Builders, fireplaces rank among the top three features desired by home buyers. Realtors estimate that a fireplace adds as much as $12,000 to the value of a house. (The exact figure varies by region and the design of the fireplace.) But few of us need experts or statistics to tell us about its value. A fireplace tells its own story, every time you see flames dancing on the hearth.
Outdoor fireplaces extend the season for outdoor entertaining. A roaring fire warms this patio seating area. A large firebox makes an outdoor fireplace a focal point as well as more effective.
This peninsula fireplace warms this living room and the adjacent dining room. With three open sides, peninsula fireplaces offer three times the view within fairly compact footprints. This surround mantle also offers nice display space.
In a room dominated by straight lines, a little asymmetry creates drama. Although this firebox is centered on the wall, the asymmetrical placement of the surround and mantle make the arrangement more interesting. A raised hearth provides a place to display decorative pieces or even to sit on cold evenings.
Raising the firebox makes it easier to see from seated positions. In this living room, the fireplace is elevated just enough that the fire can be seen over the central coffee table. To save space, there is no hearth, which is optional with gas fireplaces.
The romance of a bedroom fireplace is undeniable. In fact, the bedroom is the most popular location for a second fireplace. The herringbone pattern of the brick firebox and the elaborate detail of the surround add texture to the monochromatic decorating scheme of this bedroom.
Decorative rosettes at the upper corners soften this very simple surround. Once used to keep logs contained in a firebox, andirons are not necessary in gas fireplaces, but they add a sculptural effect here.
A tall, rectangular firebox brings the flames into view above the coffee table. It also balances the floor-to-ceiling bookcases that flank the surround. Bookcases and fireplaces are natural pairings—curling up in front of a fire with a good book is a cozy image.
Large areas of polished stone, such as the marble shown here, can seem rather cold. In fact, they can feel rather cold, too. Placed opposite a large soaking tub, this fireplace solves both problems.
An elaborate tile surround makes this fireplace a focal point without taking up a lot of space in the room. A curved insert is a nice touch in a room filled with straight lines. Glass doors improve the efficiency of a fireplace by preventing heating in the room from escaping up the flue.
Ideabook updated on Sept. 7, 2009.
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