Happy to Be Here: By the Fire

August 30th, 2017

Why is sitting by a radiant fire so alluring? For me, fire means something completely different depending on the season.

During the winter months, the burning logs in the fireplace cast a soft golden glow all around my favorite chair. It’s my recipe for a few hours of relaxation: a warm fire with a good book or maybe a cup of tea and my favorite movie.

In other seasons, fire is less about warmth, and more about the opportunity to gather together. On our farm, large bonfires are a must in the fall. It is often a neighborhood social event: bring yourself, some snacks and watch the flames reach for the stars. It’s magical!

In spring, our fire pit is the backdrop for the intense music of the spring “peepers” (a very vocal tree frog). I don’t know if it is my imagination, but I think that the fire smells differently in the spring, mixed in with the musty fragrance of the thawing ground.

And finally, summer. It’s all about relaxed outdoor entertaining and cooking on the grill. I love grilling because the focus is on dining together; the meal itself is secondary.

Fire is a universal element of home; it crosses all borders, all cultures. In addition to function, it is spiritual, dramatic, luxurious, romantic and calming – sometimes all at the same time.

When building a custom home, you become the architect of your own environment. There are so many great choices available for incorporating sophisticated fire elements.

Efficient and convenient Electric and Gas fireplaces (no need for dragging in wood) require only the click of a button.

Other options include “see through” indoor-outdoor models, outdoor cabana fireplaces, gas-fired fire pits in all shapes and sizes, pizza ovens, outdoor kitchens, as well as classic wood-burning fireplaces.

Top them off with mantels that are traditional or rustic or incorporate built-in cabinetry above-and-around a television. Tile surrounds can invoke modern, craftsman, or classic styles.

What type of “fire” details speak to your individual lifestyle and what would you choose to add to your new home?

I was asked recently to design a custom fireplace for a room that would be the go-to sanctuary for a buyer and his dog. At an early design meeting, he described a place in his future home that would have window seats on either side of a fireplace and plenty of windows.

We made that vision come to life by creating a “hearth room” just off his kitchen where he and his dog could relax and nap in the cheerful glow of an impressive stone fireplace and bask in the view and abundant sun flooding through the windows. I wonder if his dog is as happy as he is by the fire?