A Hearth For Every Home
Home South Africa|August 2020
A Hearth For Every Home
Whether your fireplace is an open wood-burning one, a closed combustion stove or a structure in which you can also braai, make it a focal point where the whole family can get together.
Shane Barnard

1 Rustic charm

A brand-new fireplace was high on Winston Williams and his family’s wish list when they renovated their home in Kuils River in 2018. They entered their project in Home’s 2019 Fix it with Flair competition and we were so impressed that we simply had to share it with our readers! The fireplace takes pride of place in their open-plan living area. “It is wonderful to watch the fire and hear it crackle, even if we are in the kitchen on the other side of the room,” says Winston.

The chimney breast extends beyond ceiling height into the exposed roof beams, creating the illusion of space, while the exposed bricks lend rustic charm to the structure.

2 Cool contrast

This contemporary fireplace is a showstopper in Daphne and Stephan de Swart’s open-plan living room in Somerset West. Architect Donovan Hanekom of DH Architecture designed the space around the fireplace and its built-in bench. “We initially wanted a freestanding combustion stove but our budget wouldn’t allow for it. I’m a big fan of the design app Houzz, and that’s where I got the idea for the bench next to the open fireplace,” says Daphne.

A raw cement finish goes perfectly with the industrial style of the space; a dark blue wall behind the fireplace softens the look. The bench’s backrest is just wide enough to serve as a display shelf, while there is ample storage space for wood and other items under the seat and fireplace itself.

“Stephan loves to braai. He would probably braai in the house too but, so far, I’ve managed to persuade him otherwise!”

3 Effortless warmth

After the first winter in their home in Kalk Bay, Alma Kennedy and Nico van Niekerk decided their open-plan kitchen needed a fireplace. “We wanted to heat the room in the ‘cleanest’ way possible and since we also rent the house out, we wanted to install something that works easily. That’s why we chose this Monia Bianco fireplace which works with compressed hardwood pellets,” explains Alma.

Thanks to a built-in electric fan that disperses the hot air from the fireplace throughout the room, the entire space heats up quickly and the temperature of the fireplace remains constant. “It takes very little effort. You don’t have to add firewood to the fire all the time and the wood pellets last a long time,” adds Alma.

She turned this corner into a focal point in the kitchen by hanging a collection of prints (purchased on holiday in Hôi An, Vietnam) in identical black frames on either side of the flue. The stainless steel flue bends out towards the home’s exterior.

Fireplace from Italfire; pendant lamp from Illumina Lighting Solutions

[HOW DO PELLET FIREPLACES WORK?]

“Pellet fireplaces are similar to wood-burning fireplaces,” explains Leonardo Errera of Italfire. “But instead of burning firewood, it burns compressed hardwood pellets. You control the temperature by means of a thermostat attached to the device. You simply fill the hopper (pellet storage container) with pellets and with the push of a button your fireplace is lit.” A fan called a combustion blower pulls outside air into the stove and blows out smoke and fumes through a stainless-steel flue. Another fan called a convection blower sucks cold air in the room into the stove, where it is heated, and then recirculates the hot air, helping to distribute the heat evenly.

The stove will automatically use the correct number of pellets to maintain a constant temperature – all you have to do is keep the tank filled with pellets. A built-in timer will automatically shut down the fireplace at the time you choose.

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August 2020