With the return of winter, it’s time to get cozy, and there’s nothing better in the Pacific Northwest than snuggling up with family and friends next to the warm glow of a fireplace. In any room, a fireplace provides ambiance, decorative charm and a warm place to gather. Thanks to new technology, designing with fire has never been more fashionable, fun or environmentally friendly. Whether you’re starting from scratch or remodeling an existing fireplace, here are some of the hottest hearth design trends to spark up your home.
Move Over Refrigerators, Here’s What’s Cool
Based on heat reflective technology originally developed for use by the military, advancements in fireplace heat distribution are unlocking a whole new world of design opportunities in the home. According to Mara McCloskey-Becker, marketing manager for Bend Fireside, these new heat distribution systems guide the convective heat of gas fireplaces from the front of the unit, just above the glass, to a location higher up on the wall. “This reduces the clearance to combustibles and accommodates TV installations closer to the fireplace,” said McCloskey-Becker. By reducing excessive radiant heat directly in front of the fireplace and maintaining a cool wall surface, cool wall systems reduce energy consumption, permit the placement of art and media around the fireplace without heat barriers (mantels), and enable the use of flammable finishes like wallpaper and wood around the unit, providing unlimited options for elevating the atmosphere and style of your home.
Less is More
When it comes to modern fireplace design, minimalism and clean lines are all the rage. “The latest trends in fireplaces that homeowners and designers are really gravitating towards these days are fireplaces that offer a ‘clean face’ frame,” said McCloskey-Becker. “The clean perimeter of the fireplace face really complements the minimalistic contemporary style that’s popular in homes.” This clean face design, with no grills or vents in direct view, delivers a sleek and slim-lined look coupled with large glass viewing areas for a contemporary design that blends seamlessly into its surroundings. It also complements the long, rectangular design of modern linear fireplaces and corner gas fireplaces, trending hot commodities that allow homeowners to create beautiful fireplace feature walls with an arresting aesthetic and eye-catching ambiance. These super-minimal fireplaces leave room for the elements to make their mark.
More is More
Although a longtime living room fixture, fireplaces are a comfort best enjoyed everywhere. In recent years, a fireplace for every room has made a comeback thanks to innovative technology and a growing demand for elemental living. With the advent of the direct-vent fireplace, a chimney and hearth are no longer needed, which means you can pretty much install a fireplace seamlessly into any room without running into ventilation obstacles or space constraints. Position one in your bathroom for a toasty soak in the tub, and place one in the bedroom while you’re at it for a cozy night’s sleep—a well-situated fireplace can make any room snug and warm.
The most popular among homeowners today is the addition of a wood-burning, open-hearth fireplace in the kitchen. The kitchen is the heart of every home, and the heart of every home needs a hearth to go with it. A unique wood-burning fireplace designed for cooking adds a welcoming, established feel to a kitchen, creating an intimate space and structural interest. Plus, you can make wood-fired pizza, a delicious luxury born of style and purpose.
Fireplaces—whether gas, wood burning or electric—are a time-honored amenity that never go out of style. No matter what sparks your fireplace fancy, there’s a design that complements your aesthetic sense and personality while showcasing a spectacular fire view in any room of your home.
Written by Mariah Wilson