By Andrea Colman
Whether you’re thinking about building a new fireplace or changing out an existing one, a fireplace adds much warmth, architectural detail and a focal point for any room and a great place to flaunt your personal sense of style.
1 | Custom Built-ins
When designing family rooms, I’m often tasked with creating cohesiveness between a homeowner’s flat-screen television and fireplace. A great way to achieve this is to hang the television above the fireplace and surround it with floor-to-ceiling custom cabinetry. Not only does this create a stronger focal point in the room and a place to showcase accessories, but it adds a lot of valuable storage space for games and audio equipment.
2 | Architecture & Interest
A new fireplace is a great opportunity to add architectural interest to your home. If you’re updating an old or dated fireplace, there are many wonderful ways to artfully usher it now into 2020. Re-tile the interior in an unexpected colour or a cool pattern, such as herringbone or Erth Coverings textural stones. Add a chunky stylized mantel or paint it in a glossy, hot hue like Pantone’s 2020 Color of the Year, Classic Blue. The idea is to make it unusual and unique.
3 | Artwork
Another way to amp up your fireplace is with art. Artwork is an instant attraction, and the fireplace makes the perfect home for a large-scale, bold piece. Just remember to maintain a sense of visual balance between the fireplace and the artwork overhead. The rule of thumb is the art should be 2/3 to 3/4 the width of the fireplace, and suspended three to six inches above the mantel.
4 | Get Trendy
While fireplaces are known for their traditional appeal, a modern design can give a home some much-needed edge. I love the look of linear fireplaces, such as those offered by companies like Valor. They are sleek and contemporary, thin and available in a variety of widths. Double- and three-sided fireplaces are gaining popularity, allowing you to enjoy a single unit from various vantage points and different rooms entirely! Also on trend are gas-fed fire ribbons featuring flickering flames that rise from rocks, sand or glass in place of traditional logs, yet offering the warmth and beauty of a traditional fireplace. Create a minimalist look by tucking a firebox flush into the drywall. Alternatively, for a more contemporary aesthetic, surround the box with stone finish or porcelain that extends to the ceiling.
5 | Un-functional & Fabulous
Even without a crackling fire, a non-working fireplace can still add interest and act as a fabulous focal point for your space. Fill the fireplace niche with unusual objects and collections, candles, books, neatly stacked firewood. Line the mantel area with seasonal accessories, favourite photos, or leave it clear and let that beautiful mantel speak for itself! Fireplaces have long been the hub of the home – once for the heat they provided, but now also for their aesthetic attributes. There are lots of options now from wood-burning to gas, and where a real fireplace isn’t an option, great brands such as Dimplex offer electric that provides lifelike steam vapour perfect for condos. Invest in a fireplace that sparks something in you, and let that inspire you.
Andrea Colman is Principal of Fine Finishes Design Inc. With almost two decades of reno and design experience, her full-service firm caters to clientele throughout GTA, Ontario. The growing boutique design firm is known for creating stylish, harmonious, livable environments. finefinishes.ca