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  • Writer's pictureScott Powell

Come on baby, light my fire.

The late great star-chitect, Zaha Hadid, once stated that architecture is not simply about building for shelter or constructing a simple enclosure. Architecture should excite you, calm you, and make you think! One of the more public areas in your dwelling, the family/ living room, houses one of the most prominent elements of architecture that should do just that. The fireplace is not only a heating element for your home. It is the central hub of the house, a place of gathering, relaxing, and making memories. Such a space is meant for greatness! It aspires to be a focal point, the piece de resistance(!!) of the room, reflecting the overall architecture of the house and capturing a bit of the homeowners style and spirit!

A fireplace in the master bedroom like at our Brennans project adds to the calm and comfort essential to a space meant to be a peaceful retreat.

There are a couple of decisions to make when designing a show-stopping fireplace wall. When considering the type of firebox to purchase, think about the style or design you are going for.

Traditional fireplaces often have more of a square opening and can be quite substantial in dimension – height and width! A feature wall consisting of a fireplace with an ornate mantle, a few decorative pilasters, and flanking cabinetry with bookshelves above creates a symmetrical elevation that is pleasing to the eye and is functional to boot.

A traditional fireplace with a symmetrical layout is always a pretty sight. Closed and open storage on both sides of the fireplace makes this feature wall a functional arrangement.

A grandiose isokern fireplace with cast stone mantel fit for a statement great room!

Modern fireplaces, many times feature linear fireboxes, and have simple, cleaner lines. Floor to ceiling tile-work or mirrored stone slabs are an automatic attention grabber and look even bolder in a room with tall ceilings! What lights my fire (include cheesy fire pun in blog post –check!) are fireplace elevations made of smart compositions consisting of asymmetrical, yet balanced, planes, floating cantilevers, and overlapping geometries (oh my!) that form extruded panels and slot conditions that are cleverly designed into functional and distinct spaces such as recessed bookshelf niches and art and TV mounting surfaces. The right combination of materials and color can enhance this practical work of art!

Floor to ceiling tile work adds drama to a clean, modern design.

The horizontal lines of this fireplace wall are a true modern design staple. Although asymmetrical, the arrangement has a pleasing sense of balance.

The overlapping planes and linear elements combined with smart use of material and color creates a composition that excites, calms, and makes you think!

This transitional style home features both the clean lines of modern design and decorative details of the traditional style.

In addition to the firebox selection, always remember, safety requirements and clearances can seem restricting to a design at times, but following the rules in this case prevents charred and blackened living rooms!!

Whatever style of fireplace you prefer, with a thoughtful, well planned design, your fireplace wall will be the functional wow factor that all your family and friends are drawn to!!


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