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Active Home: Faux Fire Technology and Artistry Unite

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Active Home: Faux Fire Technology and Artistry Unite

I’m an avid reader, and there’s nothing better than curling up with a book in a comfy chair. So, when I was looking for a new home to purchase, I knew that I wanted a den with a fireplace. Nothing compares to a real fireplace on a cold day – right?

Photo, courtesy of Dimplex

As the story so often goes, we find it necessary to tweak our wish list when looking for a home. To my surprise, I ended up purchasing a condo in the city. It seemed to have everything that I was looking for, except for the one thing that I really wanted. I wasn’t going to get my real fireplace in a condo, and a gas insert wasn’t an option – so that dream appeared to be snuffed out.

Photography Gillian Jackson

REALISTIC ALTERNATIVES

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. If I couldn’t have a real fire, I was determined to search out a realistic facsimile of a faux fireplace. I had tacky visions of old-school fakes with tin foil and a lightbulb. From the get-go, I knew that it had to look real, or it wasn’t happening. Welcome to the 21st century – the technology, and design features, of electric fireplaces have vastly improved, and it didn’t take long to find a wonderful option.

THE VISUAL APPEAL OF AN electric fireplace IS AS COMFORTING AS the real thing.
– JANE LOCKHART

In order to create my cosy den, I improvised by adding double French doors to the second bedroom, which is situated off the main living area. By doing so, I created a focal wall that was also visible from the living room.

Photography Brandon Barre

ELECTRICALLY CHARGED

Through my research, I was completely taken by the electric fireplace option. Venting wasn’t required, installation was easy and fumes were not an issue. In addition, it was a cost-effective supplementary heat source, there wasn’t any maintenance (like ash to clean), and it was safe. To my delight, the added warmth was a welcome bonus on colder days and, visually, it was as comforting as the real thing.

When it comes to design choices, the selection is endless. What’s great, is that you can mount them almost anywhere for optimum viewing pleasure. On average, they’re only five inches deep, and they can be recessed or hung directly onto the wall – a sleek addition to a bedroom or dining room. For a traditional feel, consider a floor model with a fireplace mantle. A full-sized media console, with shelves that flank a built-in fireplace, might be the perfect solution for your great room. From modern to traditional, they definitely make a statement.

Photography, Brandon Barre

If you have a chimney with a nonfunctioning fireplace, or you want to build a feature wall with chimney-like stone or a brick facade, consider an electric insert. Add an optional trim kit to give it a custom, polished feel. For a contemporary look, consider a horizontal, wall-hung fireplace.

FLAMIN’ GORGEOUS

Photography, Brandon Barre

Many models are remote-controlled. With the touch of a button, you can have higher, faster flames, or flames of a different colour. You can use the timer to pre-set it to come on at certain times. Those that come with LED lights, which also change colour, offer a nightlight feature as well. If you want to ‘up’ the virtual experience, some models include extra features like sound effects (crackling wood burning), or the illusion of smoke. When you’re ready to turn it off, the embers slowly fade just like the real thing.

My den is probably my favourite place in the world – well, in my condo.

Jane Lockhart, B.A.A.I.D., Founder & Principal Designer of Jane Lockhart Interior Design. Lockhart is a multi-award winning designer, author and television personality, including six seasons as creative director and host of W Networks’ Colour Confidential. JaneLockhart.com

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