Don’t let the Economic Grinch steal your holiday spirit. Sit here beside this unusually warm and inviting coffee table. Literally sizzling with style, it’s new from Planikafires, a Polish company with offices in New Jersey. Look into those particulate-free “Fanola” fueled flames, and dream about the hearth in your new home (a little rum in the eggnog might help).
If you prefer something more permanent, remember how Frank Lloyd Wright approached the hearth in the one he designed for oil heiress and theater patron Aline Barnsdall at Hollyhock House in Los Angeles of 1921: by actually making it hard to approach. Or at least artfully approached across a body of water: it’s a small stage for an elemental performance (the house is open for tours).
And the moat takes a star turn as the spark arrester…
Or why not lighten up the fireplace front and add a little wood storage at the same time. Los Angeles architect Alejandro Ortiz drew a thin veil of sandblasted glass across the firebox, making a play of shadow and flickering light.
Wood is stored in the steel platform at the base (photo by Art Gray from Sunset).
The fireplace is always being reinvented. Here’s another example,
the X-Board by Attika, where metal shelving hides behind the stone front.
Eco-friendly fireplace and stove design has expanded exponentially, with the use of bio-ethanols, and other so-called “green fuels.” I’m drawn to the elliptically-shaped Zetal fireplace by Ecosmartfire, an Australian firm.
Designed by Sydney architect John Dimopolous of Geoform, it burns denatured alcohol. I have mentioned Ecosmart before, in my review of West Coast Green; it’s good to see new takes on age-old ideas. (Could it also be a billfold on fire? a metaphor for bailouts?!) A good place to learn about the latest developments in green design is at treehugger.com.
If fireplaces with mantels are more your thing — say, for hanging stockings — explore prefabricated fireplace fronts. Here’s a sampling from Blazefireplaces.com, for a start.
At Houseplans, you’ll find a vast library of plans with fireplaces, so as you explore, think about placement and size, and how you live around a fireplace. Use our Fireplace Plan Collection as an introduction.
This is plan 23-791, with ample room on either side of the hearth. And here’s plan 64-187, with fireplaces in the living and family rooms.
Perfect for a snowy evening before Christmas.