Design of fireplaces no longer traditional
napoleon fireplaces photo
When it comes to gas fireplaces, don’t think your only option is that traditional fireplace look.
In fact, the whole notion of a fireplace is changing, and in exciting ways! The design team is just thrilled at some of the new options out there.
First of all, a fireplace doesn’t need to be a fireplace at all. Think of it as a flame in a frame. Some of the more exciting ideas that are emerging include a flame surrounded by a stainless steel or another surround. For example, look at the Barrie, Ont.-based Napoleon’s new Torch fireplace (www.napoleonfireplaces.com). This small fireplace can be bought for $1,500, and installation is in the area of $350.
These fireplaces sit in the wall, are about the size of a typical picture in a frame, and look like a picture or a flat-screen television image. There is no mantle, but you can get the warm and flickering effect of a fireplace. The great thing is they can be used in spaces not usually associated with a fireplace, such as a hall, a bathroom, or an eat-in kitchen. And you can put them in several rooms in your house, not just one.
Other new and exciting ideas for a hearth include flames emerging from different kinds of materials. For example, Napoleon manufactures a larger gas fireplace called the Tureen, in which flames emerge from a ceramic bowl filled with river rocks. The back of the “fireplace” is lined in stainless steel and the frame or surround is available in a number of different finishes.
No question about it, the Tureen looks spectacular. But you will pay for the privilege of owning such a cool fireplace. Pricing, not including installation, ranges from $4,000 to $6,000, depending on the type of surround you select. Installation generally ranges in the area of $450 to $700, depending on the complexity of venting.
Jumbled or chipped coloured glass and sand for a Zen-like effect are other materials that can show up in the hearth of the new-fashioned fireplace. In addition to stainless steel, the contemporary surround can be slate, marble, glass or ceramic tile.
Another exciting fireplace idea is the fire ribbon, which is a long, thin gas flame burning in a controlled way inside a low two-metre wide rectangular box. The box is set at eye level in the wall, and is minimalist in style. The look is urbane and stylish — it looks like a sinuous and dynamic sculpture, rather than a fireplace. The flames come through a metal vent, but what is around the vent can be changed, from river rock to basalt stones or sand.
Admittedly, this option is difficult in a traditional masonry fireplace. It is a choice only if you’re into new construction or are undergoing major renovations and are willing and able to spend the bucks for a ribbon — anywhere from $4,000 to $15,000, depending on size and materials (see Redding, Conn.-based www.sparkfires.comfor more information on the fire ribbon).
For a similar look on the Canadian front, see the wide-screen fireplace by Orangeville, Ont.’s Town and Country Fireplaces. This company carries many traditional gas fireplaces, but its more contemporary-looking offering is a stunning wide-screen fireplace that features a 1.5-metre run of flames emerging from river rocks and white sand, accented by a black or coffee-bean brown porcelain surround (townandcountryfireplaces.net).