Contemporary Fireplaces - Gas & Electric Fireplaces
Design Ideas for contemporary fireplaces
As they have become more rarified, fireplaces have gone up in the world: from their status in previous centuries as the normal way to heat a home they have wafted up into the pages of style magazines and showrooms of top designers.
Contemporary fireplaces have acquired a romantic value which your average 19 th century cottager or tenement dweller would have found perplexing. But many people today, like then, don't find much romance in the hassle it takes to maintain an open fire - the flue cleaning, the fuel carrying, the soot and smoke. Hence the rise of flame effect or 'real flame' in contemporary fireplaces. These fires, which run on gas or electricity, are available from a variety of places at a variety of prices, from a few hundred dollars to several thousands.
If you're considering getting a fireplace, also bear in mind that there are several independent organizations which you can get help and information from - first and foremost is the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) (www.hpba.org) which produces leaflets on all aspects of fireplaces including imitation ones such as coal and log effect gas fires. There are other useful consumer websites such as the Council for Registered Gas Installers, or CORGI (www.corgi-gas-safety.com) and the Domestic Appliance Service Association (www.dasa.org.uk). DASA, the only organization of its kind in the UK, is seeking to improve the quality of the independent domestic appliance industry.
It's worth bearing in mind though, that the hassle attached to open fires is not purely negative. If the bywords of our age are speed and ease to the exclusion of almost everything else, an open fire is for many people proof that a little effort can pay dividends. And consequently there are plenty of contemporary fireplaces which still produce heat the old fashioned way. It's analogous to a slow form of travel like cruising: the journey is as important as the destination. Fetching that coal and tending that fire might make you appreciate its warmth all the more, and as you sit by it you will know that though you are (post)modern, you are perpetuating a practice which has been around since the dawn of man. Mind you, cavemen would have probably just plugged the fire in too if they had had electric sockets - it was a busy life then as well, what with mammoths to catch and stick paintings to draw and everything. For ideas on (relatively) contemporary fireplaces and period models, try Katherine Sepping's guide Fireplaces for a Beautiful Home - it was written a while ago, in 1989, but it's very readable. Or browse design magazines for ideas for styles and fashionable companies such as The Platonic Fireplace Company and Elgin and Hall.