Thursday, August 4, 2011

Fireplaces, revisited

As it stands today, the fireplace in our new house looks like this:
We decided pretty quickly that we didn't want that long stack to the ceiling. Fortunately, we are assured that changing it at this stage is not a big deal. The clincher for us is when we say how far it stuck out:
The frame is about 2' thick.
Since we are going with an electric fireplace, we don't need the mantle to be nearly that thick. In our current house, we have a  wood fireplace. While it is nice to have that option, in reality, we've only used it a handful of times due to the mess. The electric fireplace, with the ability to turn on the flame, with or without heat, with a push of a button is the winner for us. However, we do like the basic style of our fireplace:
I like the simple white trim mantle with surround and raised hearth.
When I was looking at fireplaces before, we had kind of settled on something like this:
Dimplex Sahara Sands
Unfortunately, when I visited Custom Fireplace Shop in North Canton day (where we were sent by Charis), I found out that they didn't carry Dimplex due to their tendency to break. He recommended this one instead (insert only, not the mantle):
Classic Flame 36" 36EB111-GRC
You can adjust the colors around the rocks.

The actual insert is less than 8" thick, so we can definitely have a thinner frame. So, if this works with our budget, this might be our insert.

Next up, we have to decide about the mantle, surround (if we wanted one) and hearth.

I've been learning a lot of terminology through this whole process. I did not know that the mantle was the top part and the hearth was the bottom part. I had always used the two terms interchangeably, as do a lot of people out there in cyberland, I learned!

I knew I wanted a hearth. It's the traditionalist in me. I like the idea of a seat in front of the fireplace at Christmastime. I asked the guy at the store if they were going out of style because I saw so many more fireplaces without hearths. He saw that a lot of builders don't put them in to save money, but most people agree that they are nicer. Some parents don't want kids to hit their heads on a hearth, but D has always keep his distance from our current one, so that isn't a concern to me. I realized that I like a higher hearth, between 12" and 18" like this:
 or this:

Hearths typically come out about 18" for a seat (at least, that seems to be standard around here). I love the one above, but the hearth would definitely need to be thicker.

I do want a mantle (to put a big family picture up in our house, at last!) And I want a surround with it, so the hearth and mantle are connected. I don't care for the hanging log look of surroundless-mantles.

As far as the design of the mantle, we both like clean lines without a lot of extra detail, like this:
I like the espresso on on the right.
But I keep coming back to this one. I wonder if we could have a concrete mantle made...
If we have a wood mantle made, we have to consider what kind of material we'll use in the surround and hearth. I think I'm drawn to a light colored limestone or marble, like this one.
I'm not sure, but depending on the size of the surround and insert, you might not even need much stone or tile, like this one, which is very close to the overall look we'll have with the fireplace and flanking mirrors.
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