Question: What could be better than kicking up your feet near a cozy fireplace this winter? Answer: Absolutely nothing. Cold dark months filled with snow and frigid temperatures require a warm centerpiece for relaxing and entertaining. And just because a fireplace recalls cozy feelings of tradition doesn’t mean a fireplace has to be traditional.
Check out the custom-made four-sided Acucraft gas fireplace, above. The best thing about a fire in a glass box is that it can sit in the middle of the room, allowing more people to gather around its warmth and beauty. Glass fireplaces give off radiant heat on all sides, which is a big plus in long narrow rooms where a fireplace on one end might not adequately heat a space. When it comes to glass-paned fireplaces, the amount of heat they radiate depends on whether they are made of single or dual pane glass. The look is clean, modern, and not at all fussy.
You’ll find another custom option with a totally different feel in the gas fireplace below. Wood panels and stone create the surround. Inside the fireplace are stones for decorative interest. Bonus: theycontinue to radiate heat after the fire has been extinguished. A gas fixture allows the fire to take a long narrow shape.
Why not go totally mod? The Italian Oggifocus Fireplace from Diligence International below looks best when a Lucio Fontana painting sits above! We especially like the minimal, curved wood mantle, that supplies just the right amount of emphasis, but in a very subtle way.
Got a small space? This simple Emifocus fireplace, also from Diligence International looks a little bit like a ship’s porthole, or else a giant eyeball. The fireplace can be supplied with a visible flue or with the flue exiting behind. Very original!
In the age of the ubiquitous screen, some of us just don’t want to pull ourselves away. Check out the Eurofocus fireplace below, that looks like a giant television screen. It can be placed centrally in a room or flat against a wall.
Although the 60s are over, suspended fireplaces still hold a warm place in our hearts. That’s because they function as sculpture, right smack dab in the middle of a room. Check out the one below, also from Diligence International.
Sometimes what’s on order is not so much a fireplace, as a stove. Stoves can generate quite a bit of heat, and they are much more flexible in terms of where they can be located. In the beach house below, a stove makes a sculptural statement and helps provide heat for both the living area and the entry way.
The vacation house below also boasts a stove — especially cool because the stovepipe echoes the pillars found throughout the room. The result is that the stove looks like it was meant to be, not just an afterthought.
And what do you do if you have a tall narrow space, but you’re hankering for a fireplace? Witness the Vertivision fireplace below that looks almost more like a traditional window than a fireplace.
So if you’re thinking about adding or upgrading your fireplace this winter, know that you have a slew of great options. Fireplace doesn’t have to take the traditional shape. In fact, it can be a lot more fun when it’s a little different!
The Hazukashi House by ALTS DESIGN OFFICE is squeezed into a tiny space in Japan’s Kyoto prefecture.
Making the best of a typically tiny space left in urban Japan, the design disguises its long and narrow and windowless site.
A recurring gabled motif is reminiscent of a child’s drawing of home.
The gable motif is even carried to an extreme, but serves to illustrate the sense of belonging that defines “home”.
Instead of windows on the ground floor, light descends from above, through skylights.
Windows on the lower floor are simply filtered light.
Different levels within the multiple gable cutouts create a place of refuge for the young family.
The tiny house achieves a homey feeling, far from its urban neighbors.
By dispensing with windows, the house is able to occupy the entire width of the narrow lot.
A very clever use of space.
A most unusual design by Dutch firm Hofman Dujardin Architects hides second storey bedrooms completely below grade.
From nearby, the Villa Geldrop appears to have just a single storey and a dormer in part of its steeply pitched roof.
As simple and charming as a child’s drawing of home, the house is flooded with natural light.
On the main floor housing the public spaces, the entire front is fully glazed.
The sweetly childlike gable and the fully glazed front results in a home full of airy sunshine.
Each panel of glazing opens up entirely from floor to ceiling to the clean fresh air outside.
An elegantly unobtrusive fireplace avoids that forlorn look of an unwanted fireplace in summer. A tiny TV suggests homework is the priority here.
The steep pitched roof has two dormers; one in front that houses the parents bedroom, above the kitchen.
Another dormer is in the back of the house, housing a family room up above the living room.
A pleasant and modern Dutch home in Geldrop, The Netherlands, with an interesting secret.
Daniel Martin Ferrero, principal of Martin Ferrero Architecture, designed the dreamlike Xálima Island House.
Ferrero created the astonishing render as “a poem to the horizon framed by the sea.”
The building sits atop a rocky cliff on an imaginary island created by the artist.
The atmospherics are extraordinary.
The incredible renders of the impossible structure suggest a future in sci fi movies.
Perhaps a Shangri La set for a new James Cameron movie.
The design is just totally over the top… a sort of all-out fantasy architecture.
A video that swirls you on an amazing tour through the entire place can be seen on Youtube.
Every spot is set to stun.
Each of its fantastical places are almost realer than real.
As we move into chillier, darker, shorter days, we naturally start considering ways to make home feel warmer, cozier, more comfortable. And cozy, in our opinion, has everything to do with comfortable surfaces to curl up on, as well as softer textures and textiles everywhere to soften hard edges. The idea is to create a nice, fur-lined box for icy winter days. So here’s what’s on our wishlist this winter:
1. A big comfy sectional.
Nothing is better at breaking that winter chill then having a large, comfy couch to curl up on. One, of course, that is large enough to accommodate several people! Sectionals like the ones above and below perform a number of functions that can improve the cozy factor of a room. In a large space where a couch must float, a sectional can provide room definition. It can also help fill up a large space without inducing a feeling of clutter. Sectionals are also the most comfortable way to sprawl out before the TV, a roaring fire, or to curl up with a good book. Add plenty of pillows and a nice warm throw, and you’re all set for the coldest, bleakest days!
2. A rug in the kitchen. Normally, rugs in kitchens seem kind of superfluous. What do you do when you inevitably spill a pot of spaghetti sauce? And yet, we’re willing to suspend our suspicion for the coldest, darkest months of the year. There is truly something appealing about the sense of warmth, color and texture that a rug can give a very practical, and often very sterile, space. Take a look at the examples below:
The oriental rugs above and below add elegance and warmth to all-white looks that would otherwise feel cold.
3. Good lighting. Imperative to a cozy home is good lighting. And this doesn’t necessarily mean only bright lights — rather it means lighting that can perform a number of functions, from task lighting to mood lighting to general room lighting. Your home should have it all, and in winter, there should be an emphasis on mood lighting that can create an intimate atmosphere.
The Philadelphia rowhouse above and below is a perfect example. Recessed lights perform the general lighting function, but can be dimmed to soften the atmosphere when required. A pendant over the dining table and over the kitchen island serve as lighting for meals, and can also be dimmed or brightened, depending on what’s required. They also provide a sculptural feel that is beautiful to look at, even when the lights are not in use.
Remember, lighting can extend beyond just overhead lights and reading lamps. Lighting artwork instantly provides a room with atmosphere.
4. Plenty of sheepskin. Nothing feels cozier than soft, embracing textures on furniture or floors.
Bathrooms are a particularly great place for a sheepskin rug.
And so are bedrooms!
5. Add some culture.
Spending a lot of time indoors? Well, you need something to do there! The last important addition for a cozy home includes tons of books.
A large screen TV, or a projector screen that can descend from the ceiling doesn’t hurt!
Artwork gives you something to look at and reflect on.
Are you ready for winter? We say, bring it on!