Even though it’s spring and most of us in New York City are anxiously awaiting summer weather, I wanted to share some recent fireplace designs I love. Of course we all want a fireplace in the winter, but could you live with it in the summer months? A well designed space surrounding a fireplace can work year round, and even on a cool summer night (or day) having the option for a fire can transform a space. The key is to have the fireplace be warm and inviting without feeling too stuffy like it’s permanently winter time in the family room. If it’s a wood burning fireplace and you would like to store the wood in an open area then it’s important to consider how the other design elements and colors will work. While it may feel cozy in the cold weather, too much wood or an over abundance of earth tones, in addition to the fireplace, may feel claustrophobic in the summer. Fireplaces have evolved to the point where there are options for almost everyone. They can also be placed virtually anywhere from hallways to kitchens to bathrooms.
Bathrooms have evolved from utilitarian three fixture 5′ x 7′ rooms to much more sophisticated spa type rooms. Today residential homeowners are installing fireplaces, whirlpool baths, hot tubs, spas and saunas in bathrooms. There are designs implementing tvs, sound systems, vanities, and array of other options. Bathrooms are being built larger to accommodate more than basic hygenal needs and also to have the flexibility to accommodate more than one person.
One of the most important considerations for any bathroom is that the doorway should be designed to shield the inside visually if the door is left open when possible. The first decision if space is an issue is often whether to have a tub and shower or only a shower.
For materials I’ve found that limestone, slate, wood, marble and glass tile are some of the more popular choices for surfaces for high end bathrooms. The fittings (faucets, shower heads, lever handles, etc) should be the same finish to create harmony and continuity within the design. Matte nickel, chrome and brass are several of the nicer finishes used.
For lighting combining three types works best. Ambient or background lighting such as downlights, focused spotlighting using wall sconces on a mirror and accent lights such as candles is the ideal combination to illuminate evenly. The spotlights need to be the correct color temperature with a warm tone, to show skin tone most correctly. Dimmers should be installed on all of the lights bathrooms. Here are some of my favorite luxurious bathrooms. Which one is your favorite?
If you are considering adding a fireplace to your space the four main types are gas, electric, vent free/ ethanol burning, and a traditional wood burning fireplace. The gas fireplaces tend to give the best flame and look the best, but are also expensive. Gas fireplaces require a connection to the outdoors to have ventilation. Ethanol and electric fireplaces are vent free are less expensive to install. If there are apartment code restrictions you may want to consider a vent free fireplace. The fireplace is a gas fireplace we had installed in a client’s residence in Chelsea. They were fortunate to have an outdoor patio close enough to the family room for ventilation.