What Makes A Contemporary Fireplace?

There are many different words used to describe different decorating trends and different styles, and the two most commonly used are vintage and contemporary. There is really no accepted style that defines each, but the overall look and ambiance they add to a room, particularly with the choice of a fireplace, needs to be carefully considered.

Antique, Vintage and Retro

To define a contemporary fireplace, it is important to first describe the other option or the antique, vintage or retro styles. These are the classic fireplaces, typically made of cast iron for a wood stove or heater, or brick or natural stone for an actual fireplace.

The cast iron options in the classic style are fully enclosed, and may vent through the roof or through a wall to the exterior. They are almost always that black to very dark brown color depending on their age and level of maintenance.

The old styles of classic wood or brick fireplaces have the large firebox and the full chimney. They may have a grate in front of the fireplace to stop sparks and ashes from entering the room. The fireplace may also have a smaller or larger hearth, again designed t prevent ashes from getting into the room and potentially posing a hazard. Originally designed to burn wood, they may be converted with a gas fireplace insert.

The Modern Look

The contemporary fireplace includes elements of the tradition, but provides a more efficient system with fewer potential hazards. Typically, most contemporary fireplace models are designed to be zero clearance, meaning they do not need the large firebox and can be safely mounted into any wall.

With direct venting, they can vent through a traditional fireplace chimney or through the wall, and they use gas as the fuel source, increasing the efficiency of the fireplace. They are also much safer, do not put any smoke or ashes in the home, and even bring in outside air through their flexible venting system or combustion.

Often one of the hallmarks of the contemporary look and style in fireplaces is a large glass front where the fireplace itself is fully enclosed. The hot air vents from the upper and lower areas of the fireplace, and the temperature can be preset and maintained perfectly in the room either through a control on the wall or a remote unit.

Different styles and options in these fireplaces, including the use of glass beads to create a unique look to the area under the fire, makes this style a beautiful addition to a modern room.

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