Q: I’m thinking about a fireplace, what should I consider?

A: Twenty five years ago that was a simple question. Wood burning fireplaces with brick and stone on the front was the dominant install. Not anymore.

Natural gas or propane fireplaces dominate the market. Occasionally we get asked to do a wood burner but not often. If you want a wood burning fireplace there are great options. Check with your local municipality. Some don’t allow new homes to have one.

Most often the fireplace is the focal point in great rooms. People think of the fireplace as more then the burning unit itself. If people use stone or brick on the outside of the home they likely will want the same on the inside.

Mantels are important. Usually there is some cabinetry on the sides of the fireplace. People like to match the mantel with the same material. Cabinet companies are well versed in providing mantels to match.

Rustic mantels can come from a variety of sources. Just remember, the dimensions are critical. The mantel thickness will need to be different depending on the stone or brick used.

The size of the fireplace is all about proportions and scaling. A good designer can help. A small fireplace on a long wall just does not work. Vendors like Lisac’s Fireplaces & Stoves can really help as well. They have excellent displays and knowledgeable staff.

Outdoor living is very popular. It is as if a home has two great rooms. The fireplace or fire pit is typically the focal point. This area tends to be informal. If you can’t afford to do it all I would suggest placing the infrastructure in place so that you can add it later. Things like gas piping or conduit for electrical can be very helpful.

Build for life.

Next week I will discuss Bathrooms.

Please submit questions to jon@quailhomes.com Jon can be reached direct at 360.907.5800. Tune into Green Building with Jon Girod on 1550 a.m. on Saturdays at 9 am. See you next week!