Article Written by Becky Dumais
Some people enjoy stargazing, but there’s something to be said for sitting at home fireside, gazing at the hypnotic flames as they flicker and dance. Today’s gas fireplaces are sleek, contemporary and easy to use. With the touch of a button they add an additional element of calm to a room.
Make Way For New Media
While venting for gas fireplaces was perfected about 30 years ago – direct vent systems burn outside air rather than pre-heated indoor air, making them more efficient – the aesthetics took much longer to catch up. Today, customers want the clean face, contemporary look that linear fireplaces offer, according to Ed Marvyn, at Distinctive Fires in Oakville and Waterdown. “The linear fireplaces are very popular right now,” he says. Clean face refers to the front of the fireplace itself. The unit is rectangular rather than square. “Manufacturers have gotten rid of the grills, so it’s now a larger glass viewing area with no louvers,” says Duane Deley, at Appleby Systems in Oakville.
Linear style gas fireplaces can be installed low to the ground in order to accommodate a TV overtop, or mounted higher on the wall to function as the main focal point. The look seems to have really caught on over the last few years and it’s no secret why: fire is a form of art in itself and with different media types available you can have an almost custom look. Faux logs have taken a backseat to the newer decorative materials available inside the unit. “The trend is going towards the glass bead look,” states Deley. This also means more options to add colour inside the unit: media enhancement kits include faux twigs, river rocks, geometric shapes, and coloured glass in amber, black, blue, red or clear.
Since the overall linear look has eliminated the mantle, instead customers want to turn the area into a feature wall with a faux stone look such as Erth Coverings. “It’s like a ledge stone slab that’s installed on the wall,” says Marvyn. The surround of the unit itself comes in a chrome, pewter or black finish with black being the most requested. Deley says that another common option is simply painted drywall. “It’s very, very clean,” he adds.
If you thought being able to flip a switch for a fire was great, new features and functions on today’s models go way beyond that. “They all seem to come with lights now inside, like a nightlight or glowing light,” says Marvyn. “They have multi-function remotes to control flame patterns up and down, you can control the thermostat, and a lot of them have a smart thermostat so the flame actually lowers as it gets closer to temperature and then comes back up. This means that the fire stays on longer instead of turning on and off.”
Wall You’re At It
There are plenty of options for placement of linear fireplaces, but they can’t simply be hung on the wall. “Normally people think they’re mounted into the wall but if you have a traditional house, the wall is only 6 inches deep, so you need to build false walls or feature walls,” notes Marvyn, adding that each unit can be up to 20 inches deep. Regardless of location, the most popular sizes range from the 40-, 42- or 54-inch linear. “The 36-inch is (also) still very popular because it fits most rooms,” states Marvyn. When you find the size that suits the room best, it definitely draws the eye. “People are putting in fireplaces as a focal point to the room,” states Deley. “We’re not using (them) any more for heating, it is a decorative piece.”
Being able to light the fire at the flick of a switch at the end of a long day is so relaxing and inviting. The alluring warmth may even draw a crowd of other family members, maybe even the family pet, all ready to enjoy the warmth!