Because winter is the time of year when most fireplaces are set ablaze, we thought it would make for an interesting discussion. Fireplaces almost seem like a luxury addition (for some of us in apartments who are starved for a glowing fire) but really most houses have at least one. There are so many different ways a fireplace can be designed: brick, with/out a mantle, screens, outdoors and bonus accessories like a bellows. There are lots of options for your built in fireplace AND for those of us lacking an architectural hearth.
In the winter, throw a few logs in and light up a roaring fire. It’s cozy. But it’s also hot. Screens can help to block the raging heat that emanate from your inglenook and you can find some that look quite stylish. Various accessories like shovels and pokers can often be purchased as an ensemble and placed adjacent to the hearth. Often the bellows I see are quite rustic and tend to be antiques but you very well could find one and hang on a nearby wall, or even above the fireplace.
During spring, summer and even early autumn fireplace flames may be a little too warm so I suggest instead of logs in the hearth put in (yes, here I go again with…) candles. Candles offer the glow without the scorch . And just to clarify, I’m not talking tea lights here. We’re talking large, round, heavy-duty, fill-up-a-fireplace candles, something that isn’t going to be overwhelmed by the vastness of your home hearth. I prefer candles with a diameter of 6″ or more, but experiment with what you like! You can even purchase candelabras for your fireplace where you can put tapers or smaller candles.
Outdoor fireplaces are fun in the evening any time of year. If you have the big bucks you can build one into your yard, but a cheaper version is a chiminea which is basically a free standing fireplace with a bowl for the logs and a spout coming up to shoot out the smoke. Also, free standing bowl bases can be used for logs, but that has more of a bonfire effect.
Now, for those of us who lack a hearth at all, fear not there is a solution. On décor/furniture deal websites recently I have noticed these “portable” fireplaces. You can buy one and put it in the middle of your floor in your condo. You could even mount it on the wall. Hallelujah, my fireplace woes have vanished! But really, it’s pretty cool, right? The website I found containing the most interesting/varying products is Modern Elements. Their choices are available in a periodic-table style menu and you can choose whichever one fits your home best. But again, if you don’t have the cash for these flames, just go with candles. Always go with candles.
Otherwise, just enjoy the hearth!
 OED it, it is in fact a real word.
 I know you must think I have an obsession with candles. Here’s the thing: I do. And for good reason. They just work so well and in so many aspects. Sorry I’m not sorry.