As gently falling snow blankets the streets, a chilly breeze curls clouds of fluffy white flakes in an orchestrated manner, setting them softy across the city. This is the rhythm of the approaching winter in Canada. It may sound poetic but the bottom line is it’s cold, dark and snowy! As a result, our interiors become essential points of warmth and comfort as exterior elements swirl about outdoors.
A focal point in a room
The fireplace hearth is the most significant focal point to capture interior warmth within any room, whether it is situated in a family room, basement or master bedroom. With options of fireplace inserts ranging from wood burning to gas and to electric, the classic fireplace is easy to install and worth so much to weather-worn Canadians both mentally and physically as the cold months take hold.
Traditional or modern mantle?
The mantle surrounding the fireplace box becomes an important expression of style in a room when you decide to add this iconic design feature. A traditional mantle can consist of columns, molding, corbels, carvings and a built-up horizontal surface that allows for display and décor. Today painted wood mantels as well as similar cut stone versions are equally popular as they are both well appointed, over-scaled and long lasting in style. This classic look can be made traditional or contemporary depending on its colour and details.
Stone mantle surrounds
Applied or stacked stone mantle surrounds are popular in family rooms, entertainment spaces or when integrated into more country/causally styled settings as the texture and warmth lends itself to a more relaxed feel. New varieties of stone such as thin, long, stacked versions offer a modern twist on this natural material and can create a more polished feel. Also newer stone options are easy to install and can be added in a single day as a do-it-yourself project.
Modern hearth treatments have grown in popularity as they make an impressive design statement, especially a full vertical column of a single material running from floor to ceiling. Here the fireplace insert can float higher within the column allowing for better viewing of the fireplace itself. Consider a slab of marble or stone to create a luxurious look or select large porcelain tiles to clad this modern feature. Modern fireplace treatments often become a major element in a room as their impressive scale and material choice draws significant attention.
The horizontal mantle that sits over the fireplace insert, often used for display, is a consistent feature in traditional or transitional designs. But in modern design it is less important where the fireplace’s full width and height becomes an architectural feature rather than an area for décor presentation. With the placement of the television over the fireplace itself, however, it’s imperative to add a horizontal mantle even in modern design, to deflect heat away from tv components. This is especially true for gas and wood burning fireplace inserts.
No matter what style you opt for, a fireplace adds beauty and draws attention to a space. Select a style of hearth that best reflects your personal taste and include it in a room where you want both visual and physical warmth, after all, as Canadians, it’s a very useful design feature for almost the entire year!