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Framing the flames

A mulititude of fireplace designs can help accentuate the ambience of your home

Nothing says “warm, cozy home” on a crisp fall evening or a frigid winter afternoon better than a crackling fire. A fireplace offers utility for cooking or heat, but it also is an ideal place to unwind or to share conversation with family and friends. While a roaring fire has undeniable appeal, the fireplace itself does a great deal to enhance a home’s overall ambience. As these examples show, whether rustic, modern, or traditional, a well-designed fireplace can become the centerpiece of the house it serves. For more cool fireplaces, check out the excerpt from Fire Places (The Taunton Press, 2006).

Great-room geometry

Centered on a stone-faced wall between a study and a foyer, this fireplace’s size, design, and location ensure centerpiece status. Large granite slabs form the fireplace’s opening. Focus on the fire is enhanced by the symmetry of hanging light fixtures, curving timber-frame roof trusses, and even the furniture.
Design by John Chapman Architect. Photo by Todd Caverly.

Rugged but refined

This fireplace is tucked into a concrete wall that retains the rough textures and lines of its formboards. The raised concrete hearth extends from the firebox, providing a place for wood storage and a horizontal complement to the glulam beam above.
Design by Leger Wanaselja Architecture. Photo by Rob Karosis.

Modern moves in the woods

As this fireplace suggests, straight lines and simple shapes can have dramatic impact. Rectangular stone slabs extend on both sides of the fireplace to provide seating and a sheltered space for firewood.
Design by Kelly F. Faloon, Architect. Photo by Chris Kendall.

Making a formal statement

Located in a Victorian house, this gas fireplace has its impact amplified by a tile surround and a traditional oak mantelpiece integrated with the wall paneling.
Design by Rehkamp Larson Architects. Photo by Ken Gutmaker.

A pebbled porthole

A wall-size mosaic of small, smooth river rock surrounds a round fireplace opening. The inlaid, natural-edged hearthstone and rustic stools contribute to the impression.
Design by Paul Froncek. Photo by Michael Mathers.
From Fine Homebuilding192 , pp. 92-93
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