Winter is nearly here . . . and what better way to spend it than relaxing in front of a crackling fire? So make yourself a hot drink, find a cosy chair and take a tour of five feature fireplaces that sit at the heart of some of our favourite homes.
Here’s a traditional fireplace and mantel arrangement, but with a modern twist. We used Hinuera stone veneer cladding to the exterior of the Harts Creek Lane House and brought it inside as well by using it on the chimney walls. We created an elegant inset mantel cut from a single piece of stone – we selected a piece with small fragments of pumice embedded into it to make it stand out from the cleaner stone used on the rest of the wall. The mantel serves a functional purpose too, deflecting heat away from the framed artwork positioned above the fire, and forming a solid lintel to support the stonework above the fire. The fireplace is positioned on a raised black granite hearth, bringing it to the perfect height for the seating gathered around.
Heart of the home
This Timaru Bluestone feature wall in our McCormacks Bay House incorporates both a recessed gas fire and a television. You may have seen houses with the TV set positioned on the wall above the fireplace, but we find a side-by-side arrangement is much more practical. When you’re installing a TV above a fireplace there is a minimum clearance required, which usually results in the TV being mounted so high on the wall that it is uncomfortable to view. Instead, position both the TV and fireplace side-by-side as we have done here so you can have them both at a comfortable height. You’ll create a much more functional space, and the TV won’t dominate the room as it tends to do when sitting up high. Hi-fi equipment can be concealed in a side wall for a clean and uncluttered look.
Sleek and minimalist
Sometimes you don’t want a fireplace to stand out. Here we’ve lined the wall with dressed cedar panelling which has been stained black so the gas fire and TV blend into it, disappearing from view when not in use. The uninterrupted dark panelling becomes a feature of the room, a striking contrast to the cantilevered hearth running the full width of the wall beneath the fireplace and TV. Concealed LED strip lighting beneath the hearth casts a soft glow on the oak floor below.
This fireplace was an original feature of this classic mid-century home in Redcliffs, designed by Stewart Minson in 1951. It was always an important part of the home, not only being the focal point of the living area, but also supporting the exposed timber roof beams. Following earthquake damage in 2011 the fireplace was carefully restored utilising a new gas fire box. New bricks were carefully selected to be in keeping with the original style, each one being cut down to 50mm high to replicate the original narrow brick profile. The Halswell stone hearth matches the adjacent paved terrace, and a mantel piece formed from glass-reinforced concrete links together the fireplace and the original built-in joinery.
Including a fireplace in your outdoor living area is a great investment, as you’ll be able to sit outdoors long into the evening and even in colder months. Here we’ve built a gas fireplace into a framed enclosure clad with cedar weatherboards. The stainless steel fascia on the fireplace is durable for exterior use, and matches the BBQ and balustrade. And the glass-reinforced concrete that has been used to form a floating hearth as well as the bench to the outdoor kitchen ties the whole area together into a true outdoor entertainer’s area. Another option for outdoor areas is to use a double-sided fireplace that can link together your indoor and outdoor living areas.
Which one’s for you?
Imagine the benefits of having a beautiful fireplace at the heart of your home, and the focal point that it could become for your family each winter. Download our ‘guide to writing a brief’ to start thinking about your own wish list, and call us to arrange a free consultation to discuss how we can help you achieve special spaces like these in your new build or alteration.