Linear Fireplaces are one of the hottest trends in modern designs.
Fireplace design has come a long way since archeologists discovered fire pits around 500 B.C. in huts that had a small hole in the roof to vent smoke. In 43 A.D., Roman bakers included a flue to pipe smoke to the outside. Historically, fireplaces were used for cooking, heating rooms and heating water for bathing and cleaning. Benjamin Franklin improved fireplace design by developing a convection chamber and also improved air flow by pulling air from a basement and venting at the top.
Although the fireplace was integrated into construction as a heat source, modern mechanical HVAC systems have made fireplaces obsolete, at least from a functional perspective. We still love them as an emotional symbol of comfort, however.
Like many building products, fireplace design has evolved from simple colonial styles to ornate Victorian styles. Mid-Century Modern design celebrated the fireplace massing with small openings. From wood-burning, to gas-fired or electric, many options are available today. Gas log inserts can be easily inserted into original wood-burning fireplaces for a convenient and much more efficient heating solution.
Staying informed of the evolving trends and technological advances, we attend the annual International Builder Show. In January 2020, we investigated the newest technology in fireplace designs – water vapor. Benefits include most realistic flame, no harmful emissions, cool to the touch, no venting requirement and very efficient to use, running on LED lights and tap water. We also discovered a mini wall-mounted fireplace that would add a unique focal point to a small room.
Today, many fireplaces are paired with ever-increasingly larger TV screens above or beside the fireplace. Traditional, or modern, whatever our preferred design, when we cozy up to a fire we celebrate the comfort of home and family.
Written by: Laura Thul Penza, AIA, LEED AP, BD+C, CAPS
Photo credit - top right: Whitney Wasson