The National Association of Home Builders recently conducted a survey which revealed that a fireplace is one of the top three features new home buyers desire. It’s not hard to see why; fireplaces are attractive additions to any home. Fireplaces not only provide warmth through the winter months, but also provide an irreplaceable aesthetic feel to a home.
The downside to owning a traditional fireplace is its inefficiency. Chimneys present a major problem in maintenance and energy loss. Each year, the chimney must be cleaned to ensure noxious gasses do not enter your home; in addition, the chimney is a major air gap which sends approximately 8% of your heat energy out the window. Before you decide to brick up ‘ol smokey, consider fireplace inserts.
Fireplace inserts can turn your fireplace into the highly-efficient, heat- energy-producing beauty you always dreamed of. When installed properly, your fireplace insert will make your fireplace draft-free. The outer shell will keep the heat in your home and out of the masonry. Purchasing a fireplace insert is a prudent investment; the costs involved with purchasing and installing your fireplace insert will save you in the long run. Over time, the unit will pay for itself in energy savings. Your home heating bills will be reduced significantly as each room will be at its most efficient balance point.
So before throwing in the towel on your beloved fireplace, contact the experts at Fireplaces Now. Our trained professionals can help you choose the fireplace insert that will be best for your home. We also offer vent free fireplace models, wood burning stoves, pellet stoves, and much more.
Think of your fireplace mantel as the ultimate foundation for art that reflects your personality. You simply begin with a mantel you adore and inspiration can be found anywhere. Consider a hobby you enjoy, a place you loved visiting, or even a mood you hope to evoke. There are limitless options when it comes to creating a one-of-a-kind mantle.
Why celebrate your family history like an “ordinary” person when there are so many extraordinary things you can do to bring that history to life? Scour flea markets and antique stores for old frames of different sizes. Fill those frames with black and white copies of family photos, reaching back as far as you can reach in family history. Don’t worry about organizing the photos or placing them in any particular order. Simply arrange them in clusters of three. Between each cluster, display something else that represents your family: your grandfather’s pipe resting on a cookbook once owned by a great-aunt; a pair of reading glasses perched on an old schoolbook. The idea is to mix and match pieces from as many generations as possible, without worrying about the rules.
A Curious Reflection
Gone are the days when everything on a fireplace mantel was lined up neatly and carefully displayed. Pull a collection of mirrors together — old, new, wooden, metal, ornate, and plain. Hang the largest mirror above the fireplace. Choose a few smaller mirrors that appeal to your aesthetic sense and stand them on the mantel. Odd numbers tends to draw the eye, so shoot for one mirror on one side of the mantel and three on the other. Reflection from the windows as well as the glow from the fireplace will be enhanced by the way they play off the mirrors. For extra drama, add a large candle or oil lamp to the side of the mantel displaying one single mirror.
Perhaps you once took a dream vacation or there is a city you have always wanted to visit. Celebrate that place on your mantel! Be creative: frame a map of the city, stack books about the place, and add pieces reminiscent of the art created there. You can even stack small pieces of old-time hand luggage on one end of the mantel for an extra bit of whimsy.
Color My World
Psychology teaches us that different colors evoke different feelings. It explains why a soothing shade of green is used to cover the walls of so many hospitals. Choose a color that makes you smile and dedicate your fireplace mantel to it. Gather together everything you can find in that color and don’t worry about what they have in common. The only trait they need to share is their color. Pottery, books, candles, frames, clocks – anything that appeals to your senses can find a home on that “all the same color” mantel.
Decorators tell us that in order to accentuate a room, we should choose a focal point and build everything else around it. If you’re fortunate enough to have a fireplace, you have a built-in focal point.
For generations, families have gathered ’round the fireplace to while away time, visit, and relax. You can celebrate the history of the fireplace by making it central to your decorating scheme. You can accomplish this in five simple steps:
- Pare down your belongings. When there are too many elements in one room, they compete for visual attention. Remove those pieces of furniture that rarely get used, the old collection you spend more time dusting than appreciating, and other extraneous items that do nothing to add to the function of the room.
- Play favorites. Choose the seating that is most loved and most used. It might be a comfortable chair and ottoman, sofa, or loveseat. Consider this piece of furniture your “anchor,” and place it so that it is parallel to the fireplace and just far enough away to receive a comfortable level of heat on a cold night.
- Decide how you’re going to use the room and arrange remaining seats accordingly. If the room is primarily used for conversation, place the remaining pieces so that they face the anchor piece. If you plan to watch television in this room, turn the remaining pieces slightly so that everyone can view the screen, but conversation can still take place.
- Once your seating is in place, position coffee tables, end tables, shelves and other storage. Again, the trick is to make sure that no other element competes for visual attention with the fireplace. If you have a large, dramatic piece, you might want to consider relocating it to another room.
- Keep the lights low. Harsh light too close to your fireplace can diminish the magic of natural firelight. Position lamps around the room in a way that creates ambiance without clashing with the fireplace.
Vent free fireplaces offer many more attractive advantages in comparison to traditional style fireplaces. If you’ve always wanted a fireplace, but don’t want to deal with bulky piping or chimney maintenance, a vent free model might be the way to go.
When choosing a traditional vented fireplace, you are limited on placement in your home. Vent free type fireplaces can be installed virtually anywhere, allowing you flexibility on placement. Adding ambiance to your bedroom or office is easy with a vent free fireplace. Most traditional fireplaces can only be placed in large areas of the home such as family rooms, dens, or dining areas.
If space is an issue, going vent free can greatly expand your installation options. Vent free models can be recessed into walls, freeing up valuable floor space in your home. If your home is considered too small for a typical fireplace, a vent free model allows you to enjoy a fireplace when space is limited.
Because of their open-style design, traditional fireplaces lose a significant amount of heat. This can force you to run your fireplace longer and use more resources to create a comfortable temperature within your home. A vent free fireplace is completely self contained; therefore, the heat generated by the fireplace stays where you need it: inside your home.
Generally, vent free fireplaces are powered by your home’s natural gas. This lends to less maintenance and easy starting. In most cases, a simple push of a button starts your vent free fireplace. Traditional fireplaces need a constant supply of burnable material and can be more difficult to clean. Low maintenance vent free fireplaces allow you to enjoy the benefits of a traditional style fireplace without the hassle.
Creating a cozy atmosphere within your home adds to its appeal. For more information on vent free fireplaces, traditional fireplaces, wood burning stoves, and much more, contact the experts here at Fireplaces Now. Our staff can help you choose the fireplace that best suits you and your family’s needs.
With the wealth of man-made materials available for home renovations, it’s easy to overlook a classic component like stone. Accents made from rock or polished rock are durable, beautiful, and surprisingly versatile when paired with your artistic vision, and they can be used everywhere from counter-tops to fireplace hearths. Stone comes in a staggering amount of natural and dyed colors and attractive finishes, ensuring it can be easily-incorporated into existing decor themes without needing new carpeting or paint.
In the Living Room
While this room is usually associated with soft surfaces, stone is a wonderful addition that complements and elevates a space that typically sees a lot of use. Stone fireplaces have, of course, been used for hundreds of years but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still trendy. Whether you use rounded rocks and rough plaster for a rustic look or granite blocks for a smooth finish, you’ll be building a durable stone fireplace that provides comfort and warmth in the winter months. Stone can also be used along a french door or sliding glass door to form a small inside patio that will keep rain and dirt from damaging carpets.
In the Kitchen
Granite counter-tops are an obvious choice for stone placement in the kitchen, but they aren’t the only place that can be improved by this natural material. Inset blocks in man-made counters can act as trivets for hot pots when a large meal is being made - provided the stone is of the correct density. Cooking enthusiasts have also taken to installing small removable slabs of Himalayan pink salt, which, thanks to its density, pure salt content, and microbial properties, makes an excellent cutting board for preparing vegetables and meats.
In the Bathroom
Stone is easy to clean, which means that shower walls or bathroom floors are a fantastic use for nature’s favorite building material. With the right grouting and a professional installation, stone walls and floors hold up against water and will avoid the breaking or cracking of plastic and ABS-based materials often used in bathrooms. In addition to performance benefits like these, stone vanities also look attractive and help add value to your home.
Whether you use it to build an impressive stone fireplace in the living room or decide to use it throughout your entire house, stone is a material that withstands the rigors of time and looks gorgeous while doing it.