Tag Archives: fireplace

Embracing Chilly June in New England

Embracing a Chilly June in New England

What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?
-John Steinbeck

We use a combination of gas and wood-fueled fireplaces

Here in New England, we’ve had a long winter and chilly spring – and the start of June has followed suit. But, we New Englanders are a resilient bunch, familiar with this unpredictable prelude to summer. We find ways to connect our indoor and outdoor living space as much as possible – even when the weather doesn’t always cooperate. In fact, a particularly cool spring may inspire us to use our outdoor areas even more frequently.

Today, we will share some of our favorite ways to connect the comfort of indoors to our outdoor living spaces during June’s cooler evenings and throughout the months ahead.

When we design a home, we like to encourage easy indoor-outdoor living. There are several ways to create and expand a homeowner’s living space including light-filled, three season rooms, intimate covered porches and richly appointed outdoor entertaining areas.

The three season room – sometimes referred to a sunroom – is typically enclosed in glass and provides an immediate visual connection to the outdoors. It is weather resistant (not weather proof) and provides a wonderful, gradual transition from the house to the outdoors. In warmer weather, the glass can be removed and replaced with screens, allowing summer air to circulate throughout.

Covered porches represent another continuation of a home’s living space and provide an outdoor retreat where homeowners can relax and entertain al fresco. Depending on our client’s program, we often include a fireplace in this space to create an inviting and cozy outdoor oasis.

Some of our homes include both an outdoor fireplace and fire pit, which provide social seating areas for multiple guests or generations. With the fires’ light and added warmth, homeowners can enjoy these outdoor spaces in cooler weather – and later into the evenings.

Outdoor entertaining has never been more popular, and for many clients, the backyard living space is the new seasonal living room. Therefore, our design goal is to create an inviting retreat that offers not just one experience, but rather numerous opportunities for passive and active outdoor living. By using the home’s topography, we create multiple levels of outdoor enjoyment – from porches and gardens to fireside seating – which homeowners can use throughout the seasons.

We all appreciate that wonderful connection to the outdoors, even when the weather is brisk. So enjoy your special gathering spots – before long the heat of summer will be at our doorstep.

Hearth & Home: Wood vs. Gas

Hearth & Home

Wood vs. Gas

A cold front is headed our way this weekend. That means many of you will be hunkered down at home enjoying the comfort of your fireplaces while watching the football playoffs or reading the morning paper. Some will cozy up next to a crackling wood fireplace, while others will relax by a quiet and beautiful gas fireside. Both have their place in today’s homes depending on the amount of time you want to tend to – and enjoy – the fire.

Trends come and go, but the once utilitarian wood-burning fireplace will always conjure the imagery of hearth and home. The process of building and lighting a fire from scratch is satisfying. Listening to the crackling logs and the scent of burning wood while you tend to the blaze feels primal. Watching the wood burn down to embers is soothing and romantic. And the design options are vast. Whether your taste runs more towards classic exposed brick, or you prefer the polished look of marble, your wood fireplace delivers an overall experience.

But, a wood-burning fireplace is also a time commitment. You have to work to keep it going and be prepared for the ashes and clean up. Maybe you don’t want to work today. Maybe you’d prefer to avoid the clean up.

Which brings us to the non-wood burning options that many of our clients enjoy. Depending on the homeowner’s aesthetic and structural layout, we may recommend a gas fireplace designed with organic stonework and a wood beam mantle. Or, we may suggest a sleek, slate design. There are also wonderful ventless gas fireplaces available which require no outside venting at all – a great option for city apartments. A gas fireplace can be the ideal addition for a home office, or guest room, for example, as it requires a short “fire-time commitment,” is low maintenance and highly functional. After all, there are times when the ease of an on/off switch just makes sense.

Both wood and gas fireplaces serve an essential roll in our clients’ homes. While the cozy ambiance of a wood-burning fireplace will always be in fashion, the clean burning, no-chimney needed gas fireplace is an option with important benefits as well – especially in a restricted space. And both options provide timeless style and functionality to today’s most classic homes. Stay warm this weekend!