Friday, January 14, 2011

The Hearth

Frank Lloyd Wright was often quoted as saying, “The hearth is the psychological center of the home.”

The last few weeks it really felt like winter. There was finally this year, a true cold front in California. So, I do what I always do each winter day. As I finished work, I poured my glass of wine and lit my fireplace. To me, that is the most relaxing and rewarding moment on a cold day. Unfortunately, after about 15 minutes I could smell gas…not good. I had to turn the fireplace off and turn the tv on instead. Absolutely not as relaxing or rewarding.
So today, I called the gas company to come and see if there was a leak. I knew that something wasn’t quite right. And sure enough, being the fireplace aficionado that I’ve become, there was a leak in the valve at the wall. The gas man’s detector lit up like a Christmas tree!

Thankfully he was able to fix the problem. So now here I sit with the fireplace lit, and of course the delicious glass of red wine to accompany it. And it struck me, how utterly transformed this space became. The fire brought with it a glow and stillness to my living room. The fire changed the ambiance and light in the space instantly. The mood was altered the moment the flame ignited.
That is the tremendous power of a hearth. It has the ability to transform a house into a home. Its intensity brings heat and energy instantly, as it transforms our emotions, making us feel warm, passionate, comfortable (even cozy) and enraptured in its glow.

It is no wonder that Frank Lloyd Wright thought the hearth was truly the home’s psychological center. It is difficult to sit near a fire and not feel affected by it. So tonight, light the fireplace and see how it transforms your home, your evening, and even your psyche.

Here is a simple idea for making your fireplace even more spectacular:
If your gas fireplace feels smoky, dark, and dirty with soot, you can easily transform into a dazzling architectural feature. It’s an inexpensive and dramatic “fireplace face lift”. Here’s my simple suggestion: Remove the iron crate and the log set that are probably in there right now. Also, say farewell to the old lava rocks that are probably strewn across the base. Mike Brady would have loved it, but time for a change!

Measure the overall size of your fireplace (length and width) giving you the overall square footage of the fireplace floor. With that information, visit your local fireplace store and with their recommendation on quantity, buy the following:

1.Sand to cover the fireplace floor. It will go directly on top of the fire gas ring (which is usually what feeds the gas to the fireplace and was originally obscured under lava rocks). This is a fine type of sand, so please don’t substitute beach sand!

2.Glass crystals. You will find that there are so many beautiful colors to choose from. I suggest choosing one color rather than a multitude. Choose a color that accents or complements your living or family room well. The salesperson will help you determine how many bags you will need based on the fireplace dimensions you took. And then, buy one bag of the same color crystals, but the mirrored type for some added iridescence.

When you get home, first place the sand on the fireplace floor. It will cover the gas ring. Then place the glass crystals directly on the sand. Make sure to cover all the sand. Then sprinkle the mirrored crystals on top for that extra sparkle.
To light it simply turn your gas key (just a little, please don't go crazy or you may just singe your eyebrows off...Use a fireplace lighter and spark it just hovering over the crystals until it lights.)
That’s it…fire it up! Enjoy your evening, and share with me the photos of the transformation.

1 comment:

  1. Read the post, and ran downstairs to sit by our newly transformed fireplace, which YOU have designed for us. With a glass of wine in my hand I tell you it is incredible…even after a winter day in Southern California with 80 degrees.