With the middle of winter well on the way, I think we can all agree there is nothing like a glass of red by a crackling fire. Not everyone has the luxury of an existing fireplace, especially in the windy city of Chicago. However people are discovering they don't necessarily need to take up that much space. There are countless options depending on your budget, style, function, and of course your available space. Gas, wood burning, electrical, and even environmentally friendly bio fuel operated fire places have been on the market for quite some time.
It can be great anchor for a room, a focal feature, or a fantastic accent to an already great room. Andirons are the essential jewelry to an fireplace, be they modern, classical, or rustic, the definitely lend an air to the personality of a space.
Mantels are another addition to the room that have more recently become neglected. More prevalent in newer construction due to wall space restrictions, a large television has begun to occupy the space above. Although functional and efficient as this may be in some styles of design, I can't help but voice a personal opinion that a television and a fireplace should not fight for the center of a room. The tv should be its own separate focal area or even better hidden, unless it is some massive, testosterone fueling theater of magnitude that it requires to be on display. Art work, mementos, and accessories are great pieces to adorn a mantel. They carry the feeling of personality, intimacy, and make for great conversation starters.