While the origins of the modern day fireplace may date back to the 11th century, it has only been in recent years that the UK fireplace industry has ushered in a wide array of groundbreaking innovations that make the addition or renovation of a modern fireplace quite simple.
Contemporary, efficient, balanced flue, no-chimney gas fireplaces in many formats are proof of that – and can now be controlled by smartphone app or home automation.
If you or your client wants to install the real thing in a home, the shapes, sizes and styles are all seemingly limitless. One of the styles that interior designers are currently inspired by are the extra wide, linear fireplaces.
Many can be installed just about anywhere in the home, for example using a balanced flue system or even a fanned powerflue, the flue route could be as long as 30 metres horizontally, or could even go downwards below floor level, to create a fireplace island.
This image, below, is of a powerflue, see-through, 2.4 metre wide linear gas fireplace located between two rooms, in the process of installation.
But hearth-related innovations have not just been limited to home interiors, outdoor fireplaces – or fire pits – using masonry or pre-engineered products ranging in design from simple but architecturally beautiful firebowls to super-minimalist polished concrete or engineered stone firetables that you can eat from are gaining ground, even in our climate. The gas-fueled fire pit has been given a new stage with its integration into the design of patio furniture and other outdoor architectural features.
Today’s fireplaces more than cater to the specific needs and wants of the homeowner. We refer to contemporary, see-through fireplaces that can warm multiple rooms or prefabricated gas fireplaces that mount directly to the wall – and electric fireplaces that look both realistic and can really put out the heat.
They are clean and minimal – and when chosen correctly they can complement the architecture of the living space. This, of course, is key to all fireplaces as they quickly become the focal point of any room. It is particularly important, though, because TVs are getting larger – and longer fireplaces balance and compliment these sometimes oversized televisions, so the TV doesn’t look too overbearing.
As a result, a recessed television that hangs above the fireplace can appear perfectly balanced with the rest of the room – not taking any focus away from the design elements around it. Aside from the aesthetic factors, though, today’s linear fireplaces are also convenient as they can be installed to operate on electricity, gas or even bioethanol liquid fuel and can always be always controlled remotely.
Ready for the TV to be installed!
A decade ago, generally only the wealthy would have considered having more than one fireplace in the house, but now that there are a wide variety of new products on the market today that can fit most budgets and styles we find that in larger renovations or new-build, there are typically two or three indoor fireplaces and at least one outdoor firepit.
Today’s gas and electric fireplaces are installed for aesthetics and mood as well as for heating purposes. Architects have embraced our long, sleek horizontal fireplaces and are incorporating them into their contemporary designs. Equally exciting, when you consider the visual impact and benefit of a two- or three-sided fireplace or room dividers, the extra expense associated with it seems relatively low but offer designers unlimited creativity.
Second and third fireplaces are being installed in existing homes – sometimes for the calming effect they evoke. Specifically, gas and electric fireplaces that can be mounted directly to the wall, which in some cases do not require a flue are popular. Because of this, fireplaces are making appearances in kitchens, bathrooms and other private rooms of the house.
Even wood burning fireplaces have updated style, including large glass windows that heat more efficiently and make for a handsome fuel-bed presentation. Similarly, woodstoves have been redesigned for greater efficiency, cleaner burning and are available in a wide array of styles ranging from traditional to ultra-contemporary.