Building a Fireplace: 5 Key Design Elements to Building A Fireplace

When you consider design elements, you get to play with the rules and mix it up a little bit and have some fun. Most designers will tell you that good design is all about the mix not the match. The components that go into the art of building a fireplace is no exception. When building almost anything the rules to consider are form and function. The architect’s point of view is definitely function and how everything works or is engineered. However, the design is what makes it pleasing to the eye and comforting to live in.

There are 5 main design elements that form the formula for building a fireplace.

Building a Fireplace: 5 Key Design Elements to Building A Fireplace

The first element is the type of fire itself.

The consideration of wood or gas is most relevant in the final stage – lighting the fire. With real wood fire you will never be short of crackling wood fire and real burning light. The alternative is to enter gas. There are many new and different designs for gas fires and their own insert models.

The second element to consider is facing the structure.

This is where there are the most trends, even regionally. Traditionally, brick has been the first choice among homeowners. With the advent of artificial stone, cost and availability make it a popular choice. A coat of stucco has always been popular in the southwest regions. We even see a modern trend of poured concrete or even fabricated metals in very contemporary structures.

The third element is choice of mantle.

This is where the fun really starts. How much mixing and matching do you feel comfortable? Something to keep in mind is balance and proportion. Mixing ingredients and even style is smart and sexy, making sure your coat doesn’t exceed your fireplace or vice versa.

The fourth element is the hearth.

Functionality can be taken into consideration when choosing a material for a fireplace. The added value is that it will capture heat from the fire and release radiant heat for some time after the fire has extinguished. Will this also provide additional seating if it is long and wide enough? Besides, will cleaning be a problem if you burn real wood and have wood and ash left over?

The fifth element is add-ons.

These can include a wood box, shelving for books, a niche for art or for components like TV’s and audio/video equipment. Wherever these add-ons may be incorporated within your design, remember the heat that your fireplace can produce.

As with other home design style areas, fireplaces both indoors and outdoors can follow trends. Masonry supply yards and shops that sell gas fireplace inserts are great places to start looking for ideas and attending every home show in your area. New or renovated fireplaces can become a gathering place for homes!… READ MORE ...

How to Select a Green Architect

Selecting a green architect is no easy task. You need to be weary of inexperienced contractors who may want to take you for a ride and will create a ton of needless obstacles for you during your project. By selecting the proper architect for your green project, you’ll rest assured they will build the essentials needed to ensure you have every element successfully fulfilled for the best green living.

How to Select a Green Architect

Conventional building need not apply…

Green building is the least conventional style available today. Not only does it integrate features you may have never thought of, but it will require your immediate attention to many facets of the project that you may not encounter with traditional building practices. While you may be spending more up front for an investment, you will reap the benefits of a green dwelling for years to come by just doing a bit of homework before diving in to the project. First, search the web for LEED certified builders as well as creating search for green architects in or near your zip code. You can search the EcoBuilding Guild for these architects as well as research them on your own. You may want to take a few classes of your own so you’re able to talk with the architect about the project.

Compare the Cost

When searching for a green architect, ask many questions about the project. Ask about the utilization of energy efficient products, salvaged materials and reuse of land materials that will be extracted during the demolition. Find an architect that has a focus that aligns with your own whether it is strictly on building with green materials, or healthy building and living in general.

Experience is key…

Once you’ve decided on a few architects you would like to receive quotes from, make sure you interview them. Ask about their experience with green building-have them show you their portfolio. Make sure your architect is enduring continuing education, as this aspect of the construction industry is on the boom and new products (as well as issues) arise each day. Ask about the disposal of waste, and the health and safety of the workers who will be completing your project.

Green Contracting

After you’ve decided on the green architect you will be using, make sure you have the specifications down to a science. Keep an open line of communication, as your architect may need to ask you questions on the spot, or when making a decision on your behalf. Create the specs that you will accept, everything from how you would like the paint applied, to materials that are unacceptable. Once you’ve established the fundamentals with your architect, you’ll be creating a green project that will outlast and out energize any standard project of today.… READ MORE ...