Monday, September 28, 2009

Aesthetic Elements in Residential Fireplace Designs

Once the heating side of the equation is nailed down, it is time to address the aesthetic element. The first major decision involving the appearance in residential fireplace designs is the placement in the room. The vast majority of fireplaces are built in the center of an exterior wall, but your choices are not limited to this. You could choose to place the fireplace in a corner which is ideal for smaller homes. If your home is large enough, consider a multi-sided island fireplace. These can provide a four sided view and also radiate heat in all four directions making this a great choice for efficiency. A see through fireplace can separate two main rooms thus providing two fireplaces for the price of one. As you can see, there are choices for placement other than just the traditional placement on an outside wall and you should consider these before a final decision is made.

Next comes the most important aspect of the visual element of any fireplace. The material used to face the front of the fireplace can set the tone for the rest of your home decoration and allows for personal expression. Many homes built in the post World War II era, have the more traditional fireplaces faced with brick that matches the brick used on the exterior of the home. However, you have many choices other than brick. Some choose to just face their fireplace with smooth, painted sheet rock in order to match the walls in the rest of the room. This method can be utilized if you want the function of a fireplace but desire it to be less of a focal point. Another popular choice is stone. Some of the more dramatic fireplace designs I have seen are achieved with stone. There are many different shapes and sizes of stone and since it is a natural product, no two stones are alike thus resulting in a truly unique fireplace. Flat stone can be laid with the face of the stone exposed or with the edge exposed. If flat stones are not your style, look at the unique qualities of round stone which also make for an interesting fireplace design. In addition to stone, other natural products such as tile, marble and granite are used in many residential
fireplace designs today. As you can see, there are many good choices for materials to use in the design of an individual's fireplace.

Okay, the hard part is over. Now we just need to decide on the mantle and the type of hearth and our fireplace design will be complete. Let's first address the hearth. The fireplace hearth allows for a couple of choices. You can have the hearth and firebox level with the floor which some say seems to make the fireplace less obtrusive in a room. Or the hearth can be built up which allows a place for you to sit and enjoy the warmth of that nice roaring fire. The last thing we need is a mantle. The mantle is not only decorative but also functional. It will be a place where family pictures are displayed and of course the Christmas stocking will be hung by the chimney with care. There are as many different kinds of mantles available as there are ideas, so take your time and choose a mantle that will compliment the other design elements of your fireplace.

Now that all the features of our fireplace have been decided upon, we just need to ensure we have a brick and stone mason that is experienced with
fireplace and chimney construction. Contact your local building department and see if they can or will give you some recommendations on the best masons in your area. Otherwise, contact local builders. I am sure they will know the best of the best stone masons in your vicinity. If you take the time to research all the different fireplace elements available, you will find that residential fireplace designs are quite simple to envision and your plan will result in a fireplace you can enjoy for many years to come.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Heating Fuel Choices in Fireplace Designs

It is difficult to find something more enjoyable than sitting beside a nice warm fire on a chilly, cloudy winter's day. And with today's many fireplace designs, the experience is even more enjoyable than ever. The design of a fireplace in most homes is generally dependent upon the style of the rest of the home or the function of the room it is in. Today's modern fireplaces range from contemporary to Victorian, modern, country and everything in between. If you can imagine it, it can most likely become reality.

When considering the design of a fireplace, you must remember that a fireplace consists of two separate functions. One being the heat element and the other being the fireplace designs visual element. The first decision made will usually be the type fuel it will utilize or the heating element. There are many primary forms of heat available for a home, such as a gas fired furnace or oil filled heater, that allow you to be less concerned with the type fuel in your fireplace. When I think of a fireplace, my first thought is the scent of burning wood. While some find that to be a very appealing smell, others would just as soon not have their clothing, curtains and other fabrics retain that lingering smell of smoke. Luckily, there are choices that can help with this issue. Other residential fireplace designs allow for the use of a vented or ventless gas fireplace, electric fireplaces that simulate the real thing or even a wood burning furnace.

While we know that seldom is anything ever as good as the real thing, these new gas log and electric fireplaces do a pretty doggone good job. In addition to their good looks they come with the benefit of not having to cut or buy wood year in and year out. Nor do you have to split or stack wood, carry it into the house and clean up the mess it makes. Once you consider all this, those electric and gas log fireplaces look even better.

Now that you know the type fuel to be used there are a few other necessary decisions to make about the heating side of your fireplace design. If you have chosen a gas log fireplace, you may choose to build a non-vented fireplace. While there are definite advantages to this type of application it also has it's drawbacks as well. One advantage of non-vented fireplace designs, and it is a major one, is the fact that you can place these in any room of the house and place them any where in the room. This, coupled with the other benefits I mentioned earlier, provide a compelling argument for installing gas logs along with a non-vented fireplace. However, before you make the final decision to go the non-vented route, know that once you do this, you can never go old school and burn wood.

If your decision involves the installation of a vented fireplace, you have another decision to make and that is in the type of vented fireplace to build. The two types are prefabricated and masonry fireplaces. While the prefabricated fireplace is cheaper to install, the masonry fireplace will likely last many more years. You may also consider a free standing fireplace. These are also available in many different styles. Whichever way you decide to go, professional installation is a must for this project as the actual construction of fireplace designs is likely outside the scope of abilities of even the most experienced do-it-yourself homeowner.

Friday, September 18, 2009

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Welcome to Pinpointe Fireplace Designs

Thanks for stopping by my fireplace designs blog and I hope you find the information provided here to be helpful. As a fireplace is the focal point of any room it occupies, you cannot overlook the importance of its beauty.

It is my intention to provide you with information and a few ideas that will help you as you consider the best residential fireplace designs for your home. If at anytime you feel the need for additional information, feel free to contact us at