A thick sweater, a soft shawl, a favorite book, and the ever-present cup of coffee – these items signal the arrival of winter in Pakistan. Before the advent of indoor gas heaters, most people relied on coal-burning stoves, furnaces, and fireplaces to warm their homes. Ask any interior designer in Lahore and they will say that modern homes are incomplete without a few inverter air conditioners. Adding a fireplace to your house not only enhances its aesthetic appeal, but it can also add to the property’s overall value. There is little else that can replace the comfort of reclining in front of one’s own roaring fireplace on a chilly winter night.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!
When building a brand-new house, you can add in a fireplace just about anywhere – from the living room to the study. The challenge lies in trying to accommodate a fireplace within an existing room. If your family room is rectangular in shape, it might make sense to center the fireplace along one of the longer walls and create a seating area around. The usual practice is to lay down a woolen rug, layer on top with floor cushions and add in two wing chairs near the hearth. In case the room where you want to install the fireplace is more square, some interior designers recommend building it in one of the corners. The chairs, rugs, pillows, log caddy, and even fire pokes – they are all then arranged in a fan-like pattern. Ask your architect to add in a power socket point near the fireplace for maximum convenience.
TYPES OF FIREPLACES
Wooden fireplaces are traditional but are not very practical. If you have kids or pets at home, you will need to be extra vigilant when they are in the vicinity. A gas fireplace is also a good option as they are economical and are usually the simplest to install. Built-in options can be installed with little reconstruction to an existing built-in fireplace and chimney. Electric fireplaces are the easiest and the safest to use, however, they do not have a real flame. If you have toddlers or pets in the house, an electric fireplace will suit you best.
COOKING IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Indoor fireplaces are a definite ‘yes’, but have you ever considered an outdoor firepit for your patio? With portable firepits, homeowners can relax around an open fire but without the hassle of a lengthy clean-up afterwards. Patio firepits can also serve as an additional cooking range for family barbeques and weekend brunches. All that needs to be added to the pit is a grill. Permanent firepits can be constructed from fire-resistant brick, clay, and even stone. Outdoor firepits are fueled by either gas or wood.
FIREPLACE DO’S & DON’TS
While there are many things to consider while building a fireplace in one’s home, safety should come at the very top.
❏ Schedule a chimney clean-up by a team of professionals on an annual basis.
❏ A good rule-of-thumb is to set up tempered glass doors or screens that protect young children or small pets from the flames.
❏ Clear the vicinity around the fireplace from flammable materials like newspapers, magazines, books, and soft furnishings.
❏ Experts also recommend keeping at least one window slightly open while the fire is burning.
❏ Make sure that the chimney flue or damper is open until the very last of the embers stop burning. If that is not done, there is a real risk of smoke inhalation within the house.
❏ Install both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home before using the fireplace.
❏ There must be a fire extinguisher handy at all times.
With the winter season underway, it is the perfect time to hire a construction company in Lahore to build your brand-new fireplace! Set up a cozy fireplace corner, grab a bowl of popcorn and bask in the glow of a design job well done.