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The Hearth of the Home

The Hearth of the Home


Fireplaces and fireplace inserts have had a special place in the hearts and homes of Canadians for a very long time.  What seems like, many, many years ago they were a source of heat and a place for cooking. Now, either a wood fireplace insert or a unit fueled by natural gas, fireplaces may be used for supplementary heat but more often are more of a focal point for any room they are in.  

Families and friends still gather around the fireplace…possibly for added warmth, but more for the charming ambiance or the romantic setting it creates.  Because of such, fireplaces are an element that are still very much in demand by many homeowners when looking to build a custom home.

While the fireplace unit houses the flame, the fireplace façade (the design elements that surround the unit) is very much a part of the enchantment...the allure is not from the flames.  The way a fireplace unit is surrounded can make or break the look of a room.  Some homeowners may see their existing fireplaces as an eye sore rather than being captivated by it.  Sometimes the unit style or shape is all wrong for the room, or its surround does not reflect their personal tastes--that can usually be changed.  

To enhance a room, you may want to start with a facelift of the fireplace and its surround as part of your custom home renovation—it can be a show stopper! You just need to decide which style truly reflects your home and your personality.  

Maybe your idea of the perfect fireplace surround starts with stone and a barn beam mantle for that traditional look.  Perhaps you prefer a more elegant, polished presentation of natural stone tiles surrounded by an expansive floor to ceiling wood façade. On the other hand, it may be a sleek and refined linear fireplace design with chic large scaled tiles and no mantle at all that meets your liking.  For custom renovations in modern homes, it may be a double-sided see-through design that works best.

Descriptions such as sleek, majestic, contemporary, understated elegance, intricate, old world, rustic, quaint and homey, open and airy, to name a few, are sometimes used for the type of look that a homeowner wants to achieve.  Fortunately, there are a multitude of building materials and fireplace units to choose from to create just the right feel.

Regardless of the style, form and function meet when the scale and design is balanced with the fireplace unit and the room.  Your fireplace design should complement a room, not overtake it and not get lost in it.  

A popular fireplace design is the incorporation of symmetrical cabinetry flanking both sides of the fireplace.  This allows one to highlight their treasures (artwork, family heirlooms, collections, family photos, etc.).  This design can also provide storage to keep a living room or office well organized and clutter free.   But as unique as we are, one design does not fit all. 

Your fireplace surround preference may be ‘majestic’ in appearance instead of understated, perhaps situated between two windows or in the corner of a room.  It’s very presence may be the entire draw to that room—most likely in a ‘great room’.  If a room is smaller then it goes to reason that the fireplace design must adapt in depth and shape.  

When considering your fireplace design, keep an open mind to the possibilities but understand that there may be limitations (e.g. your room size, room location, house style, and of course, your budget, etc.). But whether you are doing a ‘facelift’ or custom renovation to an existing fireplace or installing a new one with the build of your new Niagara custom home, most importantly ensure that you are using licensed experienced professionals. There are safety factors to consider.

If you are looking to renovate your home or build a Niagara custom home, call Vanderzalm Construction Inc. at (905)562-4463 or (905)684-5823.  We look forward to building your dreams into reality.