Fireplaces – How They Can Perfectly Enhance your Home

,  |  December 16, 2014

Throughout the holiday season, nothing feels more cozy than snuggling up next to a warm fireplace on a cold winter’s night. Even in the desert of Arizona, a lit fireplace can warm up a room in more ways than one. In my last post, I discussed some of my best tips on how to decorate for the holidays without losing your home’s design style. Staying true to your style when decorating can go a long way during the holidays and year-round.  A great way you can add a little bit of “you” into your home’s design from the very beginning is by designing a fireplace that accomplishes the perfect role in the overall look of the room.

This elegant carved stone fireplace is ready for the holidays, and the design fits beautifully into the style of the room.

In some cases, a fireplace is a feature we definitely want, but it’s not appropriate to make it the architectural focal point of the room or to group all of the conversational seating around it.  This unique custom fireplace by Fravashi Ironworks and Majestic Mechanical is placed in the middle of the room in a luxury penthouse, which is the obvious solution to the question of where to put a fireplace when  your walls are made of glass and you don’t want to lose the views!   Further it is housed in mirror-polished stainless steel (reflecting those views) and is viewed from all areas of the main living area as a statement piece that doesn’t take away from the rest of the architectural selling points.

penthouse fireplace

This “floating” fireplace in the middle of the room cleverly reflects the views around the room and doesn’t take away from the main feature in this penthouse – the floor to ceiling windows.

In other cases (more often than not) the fireplace IS the headliner in the room – the place for people to gather around, a design statement that brings the materials of the room visually together…the glue that holds the architecture of the room together.  In this example, designer Stephen Shubel selected a tall white stone fireplace for this California home, matching the palette of the room.  My guess is, he wanted to keep the white background of the room to let the bright accent colors pop, but he was looking for the additional texture of the stone to add a design layer to the room.

white stone fireplace

The texture of stone on this fireplace mass adds a lot to the room, even though it maintains the “white” color scheme and is more minimalist than natural colored rock.

In the next example, the fireplace brings to life an already unique design style, giving a strong statement of solid black in this black & white environment.  It  also adds the element of geometric shapes in 3-D relief.

black and white fireplace

This fireplace highlights more triangles, which are a big part of this decor…..note even the inset black granite coffee table top is done in triangles.

Another approach to building a fireplace into the design and functionality of a room is to make it a part of the architecture, separating 2 different functional areas of the space.  In this home, we wrapped the fireplace stack in bush-hammered limestone on all four sides, giving the living room (foreground) a towering focal point, but also giving the smaller and more intimate Game Room/Library on the other side of the fireplace a special design element.

Two sided fireplaces provide separation between rooms while providing a welcoming fire in both.

The height of the actual firebox off the finished floor is part of the design decisions that must be made when creating a fireplace.  We often like to put a firebox right down on the floor in more traditional/Santa Barbara/Mediterranean style homes.

In this Mediterranean home, Janet Brooks Design chose to ground the fireplace in a very tall room by keeping it low, but adding a solid stone slab hearth across the floor in front of the box.

The beginning of this tradition of putting the firebox on the floor may have come from the fact that in houses hundreds of years ago, the fireplace was actually a place to walk in and cook dinner over an open fire!

This fireplace serves more function than just providing light and warmth. It’s actually the kitchen “stove”!

However, a fireplace in a bedroom should probably have a raised firebox, allowing for better viewing from the bed.

Although this is a good size bedroom, the impact of the stone fireplace with raised hearth is significant.

Indoors or Out, fireplaces seem to add that “perfect touch” to make a house feel like a home.  This brick-accented outdoor fireplace, which also happens to be two-sided, grounds the conversation area of the patio, which would otherwise have felt like it was “floating” out in the yard.  It also provides a warm and interesting view from the outdoor dining area on the other side.

outdoor fireplace

There ‘s nothing quite like snuggling up to a fire on an outdoor patio.

 

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