Lately I've been talking fireplaces. Both in my own home (we're trying to figure out the unnecessarily complicated remote control set up) and for some clients, too. They own a California ranch with a decidedly modern bent. Unfortunately, previous owners had the mantle take a trip to the baroque side, and as you can imagine, the results aren't pretty. So we plan to reface it, to make it feel more of a piece with the rest of the house, and I've been accumulating research for inspiration.
I've found myself really attracted to this minimalist style: no tilework, no fancy surround. Just a simple opening with a plain front. I think this pared down, Scandinavian aesthetic is just so chic. Take a look:
You'll notice a few things about these fireplaces: one, unlike more traditional models, they don't draw a lot of attention to themselves. They seem to spring from the room organically, and this is because they're surrounded by the same wall material, from floor to ceiling. Two, neutral paint reigns supreme. This style of fireplace is so clean and pared back, it works best in rooms that are the same way. Three, when it comes to the rest of the room, texture is king. Rough hewn wood logs, cozy sheepskins, and nubbly jute rugs: all of these lend a natural warmth to the space, one that juxtaposes nicely with the no-nonsense fireplace aesthetic.
This style isn't for everyone, nor for every house, but I think it's just perfect for my latest project. Will my clients agree? I'll keep you posted.