There’s nothing like the flicker of flames to add a cosy glow to a living space, and the good news is that you can install a focal-point fireplace even without an existing chimney and hearth. There are two ways to create a clean and contemporary look, according to Amy Grieve of The Platonic Fireplace Company.
‘If you do have a chimney, start by getting it swept and have an integrity test done to make sure it’s structurally sound.’ Depending on the width of your chimney breast and flue, it’s possible to knock out an opening to make it wider. ‘Bear in mind, though, that with a bigger opening you may need to fit an extractor fan or gather hood, to help pull combustion fumes out of the room. You may also need a fresh air vent to allow air in,’ she says.
These tips apply whether you have decided to go for a real fire or an open gas option. If you don’t have a chimney, a glass-fronted balanced-flue gas fire, which is a completely sealed unit that can be installed with flue ducting (piping that leads to an exit vent in the wall) is your best option. ‘You can also build in a fake chimney breast,’ says Grieve.
In terms of the hearth itself, natural stone such as limestone or slate is the most suitable material, as it is impervious to heat and can run all the way into the fireplace. Materials like concrete or marble will crack if directly under the heat source, but can be combined with more stable stone if you love the look. A gas burner can then be set in and topped with ceramic logs to mimic a classic fire.
If you don’t have a gas supply, bottled gas such as LPG (Liquid Propane Gas) is also an option. Both gas and balanced-flue fires can be operated via a remote control.
SIX OF THE BEST FIREPLACE SUPPLIERS
Turn up the heat with these brands to know…
From its north London studio, Modus offers a range of custom-made fireplaces and completely bespoke options clad in everything from steel to leather. Milespit Hill, London NW7, modusfireplaces.com
This well-established manufacturer has a wide selection of handcrafted stone fire surrounds including designs by Barbara Hulanicki, Tim Gosling and Jane Churchill. 194–200 Battersea Park Road, London SW11, chesneys.co.uk
One of the most extensive collections of antique fireplaces in the country. The company also offers a bespoke service and can advise on how to create fireplaces with the correct sizing and historical detail for your room. 95–97 Pimlico Road, London SW1, jamb.co.uk
The energy-efficient, remote-controlled ‘X-Fires’ range of gas fires come complete with a timer and a thermostat and run on natural or bottled gas. Acquisitions House, 24–26 Holmes Road, London, NW5, acquisitions.co.uk
This family firm offers a wide range of international brands, including the iconic Gyrofocus by Focus Fires, created by Dominique Imbert in 1968 as the first suspended 360° pivoting fireplace. The latest iteration of this wood-burning fireplace is completely glazed, making it compliant with the Ecodesign regulation which comes into force in January 2022. Marsh Lane, Ware, Hertfordshire, SG12, morley-stoves.co.uk
Alongside a range of antique, stone and bespoke fire surrounds, Marble Hill also stocks wood burning stoves from respected European brands such as Barbas, Hwam and Stovax, plus the Cornish firm Jetmaster. From rustic and industrial to sleek and contemporary styles, each has been chosen for its energy efficiency and low environmental impact. Richmond Road, Twickenham, Middlesex, TW1, marblehill.co.uk