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.
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!