Notes from the Field: Home and Hearth

January 30, 2012

By Karin Lidbeck Brent

Since the beginning of time, man has been drawn to fire for warmth, to cook and for protection. A roaring open fire, once needed only for survival, has today evolved into something much more. For me, the fire is a signature of comfort. If I enter a room with a crackling blaze, the sounds, smells and gleams from the fire immediately beckon me to relax.

Living in New England, a fireplace is a home necessity. However, some may think owning and maintaining a fireplace is impractical. You might be worried about wood storage, cleaning and cost. But the various options–wood, gas, electric and others–allow homeowners to pick the fireplace that best suits their needs. Gas and electrical fireplaces are very easy to maintain and to turn on and off, and today, fireplaces can be built to resemble and mimic the quality and charm all woodburning fireplaces possess.

Overall, fireplaces create a calming atmosphere, provide your home with a warm ambiance, and they allow you to enjoy those long winter months with greater pleasure.

I asked photographer Susan Teare to share some of her favorite fireplace projects that she has shot for her clients, and together we came up with these inspiring examples of fireplace designs.

Builder:  Silver Maple Construction
Architect:  Studio III Architects’ Gregor Masefield
In a larger home, a big, woodburning fireplace may be just the right fit. This stone and tile fireplace fits perfectly in a mountainside address and is also very sustainable.  It is an ideal comfort after a long day on the slopes.

Photo by Susan Teare

Architect:  John McLeod
Builder:  Northern Timbers Construction
Worried about where you’re going to store your wood and how it is going to look presentable in your home? This modern, clean and architecturally inspired fireplace demonstrates the perfect storage solution. The wood is not only stored conveniently next to the fire, but it creates a cozy nook to sit down and enjoy a good book in the warmth of your home.

Photo by Susan Teare

Designer/Builder: Peregrine Design/Build
This image demonstrates how a fireplace can truly light up an entire room. This fireplace turns the large room into a warm and welcoming environment, and shows how a fireplace creates colors that no artificial ceiling light can begin to match.

Photo by Susan Teare

Designer/Builder: Peregrine Design/Build
Who says fire and water don’t mix? This oceanside home and traditional fireplace built by Peregrine complement each other impeccably.

Photo by Susan Teare

Architect: Sam Scofield
Builder: Northwoods Joinery
This space and fireplace define the true meaning of timber home living. The wood of the home and the stone of the fireplace go hand-in-hand. Who wouldn’t want to cuddle up on that couch after a visit from Jack Frost?

Photo by Susan Teare

The Finishing Company
You may not know it, but fireplaces are not only meant for your living room. A fireplace in the bedroom is one of the greatest comforts. For me, a crackling fire is my favorite lullaby, and falling asleep next to a fireplace is no hard task. This conventional fireplace is perfect fit in this countryside home.

Photo by Susan Teare