Building our home from scratch was no easy task. I am all about a project but this was a monster! It was the first home I had ever designed from the ground up, and working with your spouse on something this big can be challenging!
(European Home model HVF42.)
Fortunately my contractors were okay with my "design-on-the-fly" approach though there were, of course, some mistakes and do-overs. One that haunted me for over ten years was the gas fireplace we installed in our dining room.
When the unit didn't work after it was installed, the contractor told us it was fine he simply "forgot the remote for the unit" and would deliver it to us the following week. We went on with building the house and after a month or so, I remembered he was going to send the remote! I contacted him and discovered the company was no longer in business. Did you know there are manufacturers out there who don't stand behind their product when an installer is no longer in business? Hard lesson to learn.
(Original fireplace - that never worked.)
Looking at a non-working fireplace in the dining room for years gave me plenty of time to understand what I really wanted from the new fireplace. Correcting this was on my project hit list for years. I finally had time to address, and managed to do it with a design hack I'm so happy with! More about that later....
The first priority was to actually SEE it. The dining room is anchored by the fireplace wall. I decided the fireplace needed to be raised to eye level (when siting) so we could enjoy it while having dinner. I also wanted an open fireplace, like a fire pit, where we could sit around and enjoy great conversation and linger.
I wanted a modern linear look with no screen or glass. A cool modern face for the unit, something organic...and I did not want to see black metal or brass trim á la 1974. I had seen so many interesting options in Europe.
I searched for a local company that offered a modern product line that would work aesthetically in my home, had great service and who stood behind their product! After a lot of research, I found European Home. They had an incredible selection, and are right here in New England! Anderson Fireplace was our local dealer/installer. They were both knowledgeable, accomodating, and a pleasure to work with.
Chris Weiner at European Home guided me in selecting the model HVF42. It’s a 42” frameless/ventless gas fireplace. I loved the open, exposed linear flame. I chose the Carrera marble pebbles, for an Old Silver Beach-y feel.
Having the fireplace at eye level gives everyone a glimpse of the flames with amazing reflections from both the windows and the mirror on the wall; the best atmosphere after the sun sets. With it's built-in thermostat I find myself using it in the morning to warm up the house while we settle in to daily routines.
I love a good hack.….when I started my kitchen remodel, I kept referring back to a sample I had gotten from Paris Ceramics - aged and smoked French oak flooring. I carried the sample around as I searched and searched for this color wood for my kitchen island. I couldn't get anyone to match it, and finally I thought, “Why not use flooring for the island?” Doug, my carpenter extraordinaire, measured it out, and we had the flooring custom cut to fit the island. The result was just what I had hoped for. Once that project was finished, it triggered a design idea for the frame of my new European Home fireplace. I sketched what I envisioned.
I called upon my fearless carpenter Doug, he’s used to hearing from me with my endless design projects, and his talent and skill never fail me.
Doug used my rough sketch and created the new face with the leftover wood flooring from the kitchen island!
For the finishing touch, we lined the inside of the unit with custom cut porcelain tile with a concrete look.
The clean lines of the wood brings continuity between the kitchen and dining room, adds warm tones that are complimented in every light, and gives my European Home fireplace the perfect touch.
To see just how easy it was to design and install, check out my YouTube video here.
If you have any questions about cost, etc. Please go to European Home, and contact Chris. I'm happy to answer any questions on installation, operation, etc.