Home & Design: Trends

All Fired Up

Home Is Where the Hearth Is
By Ally Henderson - December 8, 2017

Remember when a fireplace was usually just a brick surround below a wooden mantelpiece? Kiss that time-worn image goodbye. Fireplaces these days can be anything from a dramatic sculptural piece to a sleek minimalist piece. And be surrounded by everything from marble to glass to metal.

In the apartment on Central Park West he just sold for $50 million, Sting had a free-standing open gas fireplace in the middle of the living space. The curvaceous piece was inspired by the Fibonacci Spiral – a dramatic statement to be sure.

At an oceanfront Bridgehampton residence, Barnes Coy Architects wanted a surround that wasn’t the “default stone or wood,” but rather something “striking and new,” according to partner Chris Coy. So, they designed vertical square tubes in varying sizes, which they had made by master metal artisans at De Castelli in Venice.  The material? A black shop-finished steel because of its “interesting cloudy, washy finish.” At 11-feet high it is the major element in the space, dividing living room and study.

When architects design a fireplace – and they do so often in today’s custom homes – they think about things like how it works on not only the interior but also the exterior. “You look at the mass and the chimney can be very strong. It has to work with the roofline,” says Rob Barnes, the other partner at Barnes Coy.

“As the focal point in the living room and great room and an added feature in a master or junior master, the fireplace has the power to define the room,” says Kristen Farrell of the Farrell Building Co. In a Farrell house fireplace styles and materials are chosen by the home’s theme. That might mean modern linear fireplaces, direct vent, vent-less, glass rocks, gas or wood. You name it.

“When we design a Farrell house the aesthetic of the mantle and the stone surround is equally as important as all else,” says Farrell. In a transitional Farrell residence “we work with materials such as limestone to create a single mantle and surround making a bold but warm statement.”

Today’s fireplaces are often just a hole in the wall, albeit a very nice hole. Many contemporary homes sport a wall that protrudes beyond its surrounding walls and is clad in stone (or something else) with just a rectangle visible where the fireplace is. In this vein, Sag Harbor Fireplace is installing many a fireplace surrounded by a “clean and modern sheetrock look,” says owner Michael Scanlon. His most popular fireplaces are “linear,” meaning they are horizontal with the longer sides paralleling ceiling and floor. He is also selling many with “guillotine” doors that slide upwards.

While fireplaces are nice indoors many Hamptonites are requesting outdoor fireplaces and fire pits for use in all seasons. At interior designer Campion Platt’s home in Water Mill, he built a custom marble fire pit. In summer the family, which includes young kids, spends almost every evening around the fire “making a light show from the embers on the ends of burning sticks.” During winter, the pit is used on holidays.

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