Buyers’ Guide to Fireplaces
Nothing beats the character and warmth that a fireplace brings to a room — whether it contains a real fire or one of the alternatives. A fireplace also acts as a brilliant focal point in a room and the best news is that even if you live in an area which forbids the burning of solid fuel, or in a house with no chimney at all, you can still have one.
There are lots of different styles of fireplaces available. Perhaps the first type to spring to mind is the open fireplace. This style of fireplace is an open recess in the wall at the base of the chimney, into which the fire of your choice (be that a firebasket containing solid fuel such as logs or coal, or a gas fire) can be fitted. This type of fireplace will need a hearth and also usually has some form of fire surround.
Inglenooks are classed as open fireplaces — they are often now not seen as very energy efficient and so usually contain woodburning or multi-fuel stoves as opposed to any other type of fire.
Contemporary homes suit fireplaces just as well as traditional and can gain some often much-needed character from having one. Hole-in-the-wall fireplaces are perfect in contemporary homes — no mantel, no surrounds, no fuss. They are simply made up of an opening set into the wall, ready to take a firebasket holding your fuel of choice.
All-in-one fireplaces are comprised of a firebasket, fireback and mantel — everything you need, excluding a hearth — original period all-in-one fireplaces are available from reclamation yards, although there are also some very convincing replicas too.
The material you choose for your fireplace will largely dictate its appearance. Wooden surrounds look great in more traditional homes with pine suiting country-style interiors particularly well. Decorative and ornately carved designs in polished woods add a sense of grandeur, whilst those in woods such as walnut in clean, sleek shapes compliment contemporary interiors really well.
Stone fireplaces are not just the reserve of period properties — although they were a favourite in many Georgian and Victorian homes. Marble, limestone, sandstone and granite are all options.
Cast iron fireplaces were really popular during the Victorian and Edwardian eras and are still available — either as originals or replicas. Highly polished cast iron offers a modern take on the traditional style and brushed or polished stainless steel fireplaces are also now a fashionable choice.
If you opt for a hole-in-the-wall fireplace there will be no surround to consider, but many people choose to soften the look with a chunky timber or slate mantle shelf.
I haven’t got a chimney…
Fear not, you can still have a fireplace — and a fire that works. Flue-less gas and electric fires are both options, but a popular choice at present is for bioethanol fires — an eco-friendly choice that emits no harmful gases and comes in a large range of really unusual designs.
Filed under: Buying Guides
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