Radiating warmth and light, the hearth as the center of a home endures. And while contemporary thinking about fireplaces has shifted from the essential to the quaint, fireplaces remain appealing architectural devices in a home. Modern fireplaces share a number of common design elements essential for their operation, each of which has size requirements dictated primarily by building code requirements.Abiding by and conforming to these restrictions can have a homogenizing effect on fireplaces, forcing them to look similar in scale and proportion. Fireplaces consist of three primary elements: a hearth, a firebox and a chimney. (Some modern gel-fueled fireplaces don’t even require a chimney.) Other components, including wood storage and mantels, while traditional necessities, are being used in new and exciting ways too. By oversizing or minimizing these three primary elements, you can achieve some brilliant effects.
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Opinions differ on the environmental friendliness of fireplaces used in homes. In some locales, new fireplaces simply aren't permitted any longer. They can be energy drains on a home, no doubt, but taking care to design ways to close off unused flues from living spaces can make a huge difference in heat loss. The compromise solution is to use an efficient, glass fronted wood stove, or fireplace insert. Ch My home is heated with a small Danish wood stove made by Scan, and I love the heat offered. It capably heats our 1600 square feet without trouble. But, heating with wood isn't without drawbacks and the handling of wood is quite simply a chore - especially when March rolls around.
What are your thoughts on fireplaces?