Picture this: It’s mid afternoon on a cool October weekday, and you are about to log on to your fourth virtual meeting of the day. Most of the other callers will be in front of a bland background. Maybe a wall, or a bookshelf if they decide to get fancy. There may be one or two people on the call who are both adventurous and tech-savvy enough to use a virtual background: a sandy beach, their favourite golf course, or a luxurious office space that doesn’t really exist. And then there is you. You’re poised with the comfort and ambiance of a real fireplace just over your shoulder. Congratulations. You have won the meeting, and it hasn’t even started yet!
With the COVID-19 pandemic transforming how and where Canadians work, it’s no surprise that sales of home improvement and outdoor entertainment goods have been strong this summer.
“You’re looking at about $3.5 billion in sales in the month of June — that’s the latest figure from StatsCan. Not only higher than it was in May but it’s actually higher than it was in June last year — so you’ve actually seen growth over the comparable month pre-COVID,” said Karl Littler, Senior Vice-President of Public Affairs for the Retail Council of Canada.
Whether investing to take your home office to the next level, up the cozy-level in a bedroom, or adding new style and animation to a living space that may be seeing more living than usual for the foreseeable future, a fireplace adds warmth, elegance, and comfort to your home like nothing else.
If you haven’t explored what is available in the fireplace market recently, you will be pleasantly surprised at the flexibility of styles, sizes and fuel types now available, which provide nearly infinite options for location, design, and functionality within a home:
- Natural Gas remains a great option for beauty, warmth and convenience
- Of course, some will opt for the traditional authenticity and comfort of a woodburning appliance
- Ethanol or Alcohol Gel models offer the beauty of real flame with no smoke or smell, do not require any chimney or venting, and as a result can be installed virtually anywhere.
- Electric fireplaces offer an alternative to real flame, which will appeal to some for safety, convenience, or design purposes
Heating vs. Decorative
You may also be surprised to know that not all fireplaces are designed to heat the space around them. Ethanol and alcohol gel models generally produce little heat, and Natural Gas, Electric, and even woodburning appliances can also be configured with little heat output for those seeking the aesthetic benefits of the appliance over heating functionality.
To discuss trends and design options, HPBA Canada spoke with Adriana Mot, Principal of Toronto-based Dochia Interior Design since 2000. Both an architect and interior designer by training, Adriana has a unique perspective on the fireplace as a key design feature: “A fireplace can be a mix of art and architecture, and a feature element in any space”.
Adriana has identified the trends she has experienced with her most recent hearth projects:
- Open flame, when safely available, is very much in, both indoors and outdoors. Outdoors, the feature can be a place to gather together. Indoors, it’s just something cool.
- Simple and sleek linear fireplaces always remain popular.
- Two sided fireplaces are popular, and can positively change the relationship between two rooms, such as tying a working space into a more family oriented space.
- Three sided fireplaces are an elegant way to divide an otherwise open space.
- Many clients are looking for ambiance and visual presence over heat production.
On the topic of working from home, Adriana notes “the office or work space is traditionally somewhere private and quiet, so adding the animation of a fireplace to the space where you will be working can make it feel less isolated and more comfortable while maintaining the necessary privacy.
Adriana has worked with beautiful appliances from a number of HPBA Canada member companies, referencing Canadian companies Montigo and Napoleon, as part of her more recent work, and has regular contact with many of the industry’s manufacturers to keep abreast of the latest developments in innovation and design.
If you are considering home updates in the near future, consider the beauty and animation of a feature fireplace.