Custom Fireplace Surrounds And Cabinetry Add Beauty, Practicality And Atmosphere To Fireplaces

fireplace mantels surrounds

Colder temperatures are making their presence known in Washington and its Maryland and Virginia suburbs, prompting homeowners to shift from their backyards, courtyards, patios and screened-in porches and move their activities indoors in order to take advantage of warmer atmospheres. Some of these house owners may be working in home offices, while others seek the cozy warmth offered by fireplaces in their libraries, living rooms and kitchens.

These fireplaces serve several functions in a home besides merely adding warmth to one or more areas of a home. A fireplace adds financial value to a home and serves as an alternate source of backup heat during power failures caused by winter snowstorms. The fireplace is available in different styles depending upon what a homeowner requires, increases a room’s visual appeal and acts as an important focal point in a home’s interior design.

Why A Fireplace Increases A Home’s Financial Value

Fireplaces have long been a popular feature on the preference lists of homebuyers. In journalist Barbara Williams’ March 2014 article, “Fireplaces can sell the home,” Williams points out that a fireplace increases a home’s value by 6 to 12 percent, according to Colorado’s National Center for Real Estate Research.

Similarly, in Idaho writer Rich Binsacca’s Houselogic article, “Adding A Fireplace To An Existing Home,” he mentions a 2013 survey by the National Association of Realtors® showing that home buyers often choose fireplaces as a preferred home feature. Almost 40% of homebuyers reported that they would pay extra for a house with at least one fireplace.

Journalist Rachel Brown in The Washington Times says that having a fireplace in a home is valuable. In her September 2012 article, “Buyers Warm Up To Homes With Fireplaces,” she observes that at least 60 percent of new homes have at least one fireplace, according to the National Association of Home Builders, and a sampling of Washington-area real estate agents indicates that fireplaces are high on buyers’ wish lists in this area.

Some homebuyers are even opting for multiple fireplaces within their homes. According to Minnesota writer Marcia Jedd in her HGTVRemodels article “Fireplaces Enhance Home Values,” about five percent of all new homes now have two or more fireplaces.

Fireplaces: Various Styles And Their Pros And Cons

A fireplace can be manufactured to blend in with a house’s architectural style, whether it uses wood, gas, electricity or fire gel as its fuel source. But each type of fireplace has its advantages and disadvantages.

Wood-burning fireplaces provide a reliable source of cheap heat. A homeowner may harvest local wood or purchase it; this wood can produce up to one million BTUs (British Thermal Units, a measurement of thermal energy) for about $10, compared to electrical heat that can cost up to $30.

Using wood requires a homeowner to cut the wood or purchase it from a vendor, haul it into the house and keep renewing the supply of logs as the fire consumes them. The homeowner also has the extra cost of buying fireplace implements such as log holders, small brooms, shovels, wood tongs and a storage rack to hold all of these tools, as well as the chores of eliminating caked-on creosote that has built up inside the chimney’s interior lining and disposing of cold ashes from the fireplace.

Some communities also ban wood-burning fireplaces since they can contribute to air pollution. According to home design website Houzz, it is wise to check if your county or city permits wood-burning fireplaces, especially if you live in a metropolitan area. Flaming embers from a wood fire can pose a significant risk to residential or commercial structures and to wooded areas dried out by high temperatures and the lack of rain.

Gas-burning fireplaces offer greater convenience, since they can be turned on or off at will by the homeowner, commonly through a flow control knob or a hand-held remote control. Very little maintenance and cleanup is required with a gas-burning fireplace, since there are no wood ashes that need to be discarded and no wait for the hot ashes to return to a normal, safe temperature.

This type of heat source, however, can prove expensive. There is the original cost of purchasing and installing the fireplace itself and the continuous supply of propane gas that is required to keep the fireplace running during the fall and winter months.

Electric fireplaces are less costly and more mobile than wood or gas-burning fireplaces. They have video screens to mimic the aesthetically pleasing appearance of a traditional wood-burning fire, as well as decorative exterior surrounds that copy the appearance of traditional fireplace mantels.

Electric fireplaces are changeable in location; they are easy to position against any wall in a living room, kitchen, dining room or bedroom as needed. In addition, they are useful for traditional homeowners as well as for apartment dwellers who need a reliable heat source small enough to be capable of fitting into the smaller living space offered by an apartment.

Gel-fuel fireplaces offer both convenience and a pleasing appearance with relative ease. They use a special type of flammable gel that creates a reliable and comfortable heat supply of two to three hours.

Fireplaces Add Ambiance And A Focal Point To A Room

To create a cheerful atmosphere within a home, there are various interior design possibilities. Brightly colored paint, patterned wallpaper, wooden chair rails, textured wall paneling, furniture in cheerful colors and area rugs allow a homeowner to achieve various effects, ranging from arty sophistication to authentic history or down-home country hospitality. Additional decorating options include real or artificial floral arrangements, framed posters, paintings, sculpture and track lighting.

In addition, the cheerfully flickering flames of a fireplace add to the hospitable quality of a room. During colder months, the fireplace serves as a gathering place during a family party or a peaceful spot for relaxation, quiet reflection and the reading of good books at the end of a long workday or school day.

For children and adults, the fireplace and its accompanying hearth symbolize the core of a home’s spiritual warmth. California author Daphne Rose Kingma comments, “The hearth is the heart of the house, its pulses, its lap, its warmth. A hearth is the place where people gather, in silence or with words, to warm their bodies, to heal their hearts. Hearths are what we come home to, where we can rest, where we can sit together mesmerized and inspired by the flickering blue-and-orange flames.”

Olympic multi-medalist Magdelena Neuner of Germany agrees. She once remarked: “For me, there’s nothing better than curling up in my favorite blanket on a cloudy or rainy day and just knit. Especially in front of the fireplace.”

The fireplace’s strong aesthetic appeal enables it to easily serve as an important focal point within a room. According to HGTV’s article “The 3 Principles of Interior Design” by Ohio authors and TV hosts Shari Hiller and Matt Fox, a fireplace acts as a natural focal point – a place to which the eyes immediately travel when one walks into a room.

In a San Francisco Gate article “How To Decorate A Room With A Fireplace Focal Point” by Jan Burch of Demand Media, she reinforces the idea that a fireplace is a focal point. She notes: “A wall with a fireplace almost always becomes the focal point of a room. Settling into a comfortable chair by the fire on a chilly evening is a cool-weather treat. Carrying the fireplace wall’s cover throughout the room unifies the space and adds cohesion.”

During the holiday season, a fireplace is the central focus of holiday decorations, in addition to a Christmas tree. Families commonly adorn their fireplaces with stockings, decorative candles, holly sprigs or pine branches, tinsel, wooden reindeer figures, ceramic angels or other mantel decorations typically associated with the Christmas holidays.

If a fireplace is positioned between two open rooms – such as a living room and a dining room — it can serve a secondary function as an attractive room divider. By its central location, the fireplace serves as a visual boundary and marks the end of one room and the beginning of another.

The fireplace may even have two open sides. This type of fireplace allows the beauty of the flames and the heat produced by the fireplace to be enjoyed by onlookers from both sides.

For those homeowners who prefer a more unique look to their fireplaces, they change the traditional location of a fireplace that is usually level with or slightly above a floor. According to an April 2014 post, “4 Hot Fireplace Trends,” which appeared in the “Styled, Staged and Sold” blog of the National Association of Realtors®, one trend currently popular with homeowners is to place the fireplace higher up on a wall, similar to a television set, so that it is easier to view from any location in a room.

Walmer’s Custom Fireplace Surrounds And Cabinetry Add Beauty, Practicality And Atmosphere To Fireplaces

To further enhance the aesthetic appeal of a brick or stone fireplace in a library, living room or home office, Walmer Enterprises creates fireplace mantels that can go above your existing fireplace and give it a completed look. We build custom cabinetry that can accompany the fireplace mantel and frame the fireplace on each side to provide a luxurious appearance in any room.

Our fireplace surrounds and cabinetry products are ideal for use in any home, whether you own a historic townhouse in Georgetown, a sprawling mansion in McLean or Falls Church, a waterfront retreat in Annapolis or a ranch-style home in Bethesda. Our custom-manufactured fireplace surrounds enhance the appearance of any fireplace and we use quality materials such as maple, red oak, cherry, mahogany, birch and poplar wood that may be painted or stained to match your decor.

If desired, Walmer’s fireplace surrounds can be paired with our custom-made cabinets and bookcases, ideal for storing books and albums or displaying photographs, sculpture, floral arrangements or other household decorations. Our designer will work with you to create a design that will easily fit the dimensions of a room, whether you’re in a new home or remodeling an existing older home, and our team of installers will install your fireplace surround and cabinets without any hassle to you.

Walmer provides free estimates over the phone, full-service installations and design consultations. Our workmanship and materials come with a one-year warranty for your peace of mind.

Walmer’s other products include custom cabinetry for kitchens, offices, living rooms, family rooms, bathrooms, bar areas and household entertainment centers and trim packages for ceilings, doorways and the other interior spaces of your home or office. For more details about Walmer products, the ways they can enhance your living and working areas, and the photos that show our creations, contact us.