'Tis the Season for Faux Fires

(Expresione fireplace, courtesy of Planika Fires)Janet Ramin - The calendar may have read only October, but the first snowstorm of the season already swiped the Eastern seaboard, from Maine to Maryland, catching many people unprepared. And it’s not even officially winter yet!

As thoughts scurried to winter coats, blankets, and the like, I started to dream about fireplaces … the warmth from the flames, the romantic glow of the dancing amber and red colors. Then I woke up to chilly reality … I live in an apartment that never had fireplaces and never will. But of course, some imaginative minds thought, Let’s solve that!

Enter the “faux” fireplace. They don’t require a chimney flue, gas, or electricity – perfect for apartment dwellers or homeowners stuck without a fireplace. They still work even when a storm blows out your electrical lines. 

(Hearth Cabinet - traditional styling)Hearth Cabinet is one of the manufacturers and as shown in the photos left and below, their fireplaces can fit into any type of interior design style. They can insert their firebox into a traditional style fireplace, with mantel and moulding, and cover its frame with marble.  In the photo below, the hearth cabinet is made with a stainless steel frame and fits into this modern room. Notice that there's wooden shelving built right on top of the Hearth Cabinet – no need for that traditional chimney flue!

(Hearth Cabinet - modern styling)So exactly how do they work? And are they safe? The faux fireplace is like the old-fashioned fireplace in the important aspects: it imparts heat and displays the mesmerizing flames that everyone is drawn to. The difference is that these fireplaces use alternative fuels to create the flames. For example, Hearth Cabinets use alcohol gel fuel cartridges; Planika uses a biofuel made of ethanol called Fanola; and Brasa Fire also uses a bioethanol fuel.

The biofuels don't emit any smoke – so there’s no need for a chimney or some other kind of vent. They emit heat plus water vapor and low amounts of carbon dioxide – the same amount that you expel when you exhale.

(Duo Cabinet, courtesy of Planika Fires)Planika, another manufacturer, really takes advantage of the versatility of using biofuels. Since the biofuels can be housed in a small container, the firebox can come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Planika offers wall mounted fireplaces: just like a painting, Expresione fireplace can be hung on the wall, sticking out only a few inches (see first photo). The fireplace can be housed in a piece of furniture, as in the Duo Cabinet - shown above. Planika also created a freestanding version – as in the Aquario fireplace – where an owner can just plop it down anywhere in the room, between two rooms, in the center of a seating area ... the possibilities are endless. 

(Aquario fireplace, courtesy of Planika Fires)(Centerpiece, courtesy of Brasa Fire)


















This guest post is from the Sheffield School, New York, NY. Sheffield began as an Interior Design school in 1985, and then expanded our course offerings to train people in other design-related fields, including Feng ShuiWedding and Event Planning, and Jewelry Design. With thousands of active students and more than 50,000 graduates, Sheffield has trained more design professionals than any school in the world.

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