Sooty, ashy and smoky, traditional fireplaces can be more hassle than their mood-setting abilities are worth (and if you've seen Factory Girl, the romance of a fire looks especially trite when it sets a clichÃ©d sex scene). These downsides look all the more dismal considering the environmental hazards posed by such an inefficient heat source. What follows are CH picks to keep you warm, eco-friendly and in the company of good design during winter months.
Made of two stainless steel oil lamps nestled together like logs of wood, Carl Mertens faux fireplace (pictured above right) creates a focal point, radiates light and warmth and is small enough for a tabletop. Mertens' designs intend to elevate supposedly mundane actions such as eating and drinking to a pleasure-filled dining experience. The very contemporary Tabletop Fireplace is available for $350.
via Urban Daddy
The Spark Fire Ribbon is so clean and modern it almost looks electronic. Fully customizable, the vent-free fireplace reflects the design of the room with options including copper, brass, stone and ceramic, to name a few. Fireplaces without vents produce a very hot flame that results in nearly complete fuel combustion, eliminating nasty carbon monoxide and soot. They also come equipped with an Oxygen Depletion Sensor (ODS), a safety device that monitors air quality in the room. It is available for $3999 at Spark or by calling 01-866-938-3846.
Designed for both indoor and outdoor use, the Geniol Fireplace, is made of cylindrical Schott borosilicate glass and brushed stainless steel. We think marshmallows are still better toasted over a campfire, but the Geniol still brings all the hypnotism of an open fire. Fuelled with a gel fuel paste, the fireplace comes in two sizes, the standard, which is a little under 16 inches tall and costs $653, and the large scale "Edition" model ($1839) that measures nearly 40 inches tall.
The fireplace Balance, designed by Peter Maly, distinguishes itself with its modular interior design concept. Able to assemble in a variety of ways, you can choose between the floating version, where all elements are fastened horizontally to the wall, or the free-standing version on stainless steel feet.There are convenient storage elements for firewood in various widths and the bench extends in a clean horizontal line. Ventilation options include either a vertical smoke flue or a direct wall connection. See Conmoto for more information on Balance.
The first stove of its kind, the Europa 75 burns natural bioenergy materials like shelled corn, hulled wheat and wood. More importantly, these bioenergy fuels do not contribute to climate change (which may eventually make all these fireplaces irrelevant). As non-renewable energy prices like gas, oil and propane continue to rise, it is also an economical choice to heat your home. Efficient and clean while throwing enough heat to fill an average home, find a dealer close to you at Pellet Stove.
For those in warmer climes Extremis' Qrater, an outdoor fire dish, is a simple saucer shape that makes stacking wood into well-burning arrangements easy. Made from special weather-resistant steel, the surface of the dish forms a protective layer called a "platinum layer" that prevents erosion from fire and rain. Designed by Diry Wynants, a pedestal protects the surrounding from heat damage, a hole allows drainage and the Qrater comes with a poker. $1676 from Unica Home.
With contributions by Ami Kealoha and Evan Orensten.