Home is where the hearth is

Best in Class: A guide to fireplaces that can transform your living space


A statement fireplace is the focal point of a room. The wood-burning Odin design by Dik Geurts pictured above makes the point by visibly looking like an exclamation mark when installed with a flue as pictured. The anthracite black, powder-coated steel form can be ordered as a single-sided design which costs from €2,975, while the double-sided option, which will work really well in an open-plan room, costs from €3,280. A third option, which can be done with either design, is to set the stove into a bench, which costs an additional €685, and offers a smart place to store wood. This fireplace can be seen at the stand of Barry's Fireplaces, which also trades as Balrath Designs, at the upcoming Ideal Homes Show in the RDS, from next Friday, October 26th, to Monday, October 29th. It will also be available to view at European Stoves, by appointment, in Cookstown Enterprise Park on the Belgard Road, Dublin 24, from the end of November. balrathdesigns.ie; europeanstovesandfireplaces.ie; idealhome.ie


A surround picked out in brick is a decorative way to bring in the current terracotta trend. When lining the grate in a similar brick be sure your contractor uses fire retardant bricks. These look especially good in a Georgian or Victorian property, but if burning solid fuels they will darken over time. For a more contemporary look, interior designer Philippa Buckley of Studio 44 suggests you go with a gas insert instead, as the scorching will be minimal. Buckley suggests Skamolex panels, a reeded, fire retardant look that comes in a pale brick colour but can also be sprayed black with fire-rated paint. The look is available from Lamartine Fireplaces. With no mantle, there is no overmantle mirror, but rather an oversized artwork that is the breadth of the breast. The fire is flanked by a pair of Troll chairs, a reinterpretation of the beanbag by Anastasia Nysten, who won the rising talent award at Maison et Objet last month. anastasianysten.com; studio44.ie; lamartine.ie


If you like a contemporary look, the Rais Viva L 120 is an option and looks especially well when teamed with bare concrete. Pictured in black with glass doors, it costs €3,785, including VAT, from Fenton Fires and is also available in white, nickel, silver, mocha and platinum. Fitting and flue are extra. Concrete Design Studios can pretty much do anything that can be done with concrete and can fabricate log-holders similar to those pictured. fentonfires.ie; concretedesignstudios.ie


If you fancy something more baronial then take your design lead from the Ranji room at Ballynahinch Castle, which was designed by Simon Noddings for de Blacam and Meagher. He selected the Elizabethan-style limestone fireplace, supplied by Limerick-based Livingstone Fireplaces and costing from about €4,500, and set it within oak panelling, based on original joinery from the house, by Galway-based Geraghty Joinery. It's a look that will work well in an Edwardian arts and crafts home, especially when with the Chesterfield-style and club chairs. Dublin 12-based Sofa and Chairs and Portlaoise-based The Store Yard can supply good options. You can see the fireplace for yourself during a two-night B&B stay, plus one dinner, at the castle from €290 per person sharing. livingstone.ie; ballynahinch-castle.com; deblacamandmeagher.com; geraghtyjoinery.com


A corner fireplace can be problematic in that it very much compromises where you can and can't put furniture within the room. Its treatment in this room, where the hearth has been raised and the aperture extended out to the side and up, with a tongue-like round hearthstone, turns what may have been considered a merely functional form into something far more sculptural. The bed is dressed in beautiful bed linen and a Clevedon quilt, a deliciously soft to the touch cotton design, €243 for a double, all from The White Company. thewhitecompany.com


Many period homes, particularly the redbrick kind found in our cities and large towns, have brick chimney breasts that can be skimmed over and picked back in a stylish fashion to frame the opening, allowing you to play with the contrasting textures by using clashing colours that really chime with the current fashion for earthy shades. To really make the space sing, be sure to ask the plasterer to follow the subtle arch of the brickwork above the fire and the brick edges, as pictured in this Sainsbury's Home autumn/winter image. Antique Fireplace Restoration on Dublin's Francis Street can supply a range of fire grates, from decorative Queen Anne styles to modern box shapes. These cost from €600. sainsburys.co.uk; irishchimneypieces.com


Many period bathrooms are blessed with an open flue. If you're lucky enough to have a cast iron fireplace in situ you should make the most of it and, if you have gas-fired central heating, install a gas ceramic log insert, for those rare days when you get the luxury of time to take a soak. If you don't have a pretty cast iron fireplace then steal the look of this 6th Street home by LA designer Chris Barrett and opt for a simple modern aperture, framed by a wall of Thassos tiles in a staggered keystone mosaic from American-based bath and tile chain Waterworks. chrisbarrettdesign.com; waterworks.com


This Arada i600, with wood storage base, offers a degree of customisation in that the design, which is available in a basic black for €1,435, can also come with this Sandcastle-coloured glass front door for €1,585, which can change the look of a room. The design is available to order from Arada stockists, including O'Dowds in Carrick-on-Shannon. The single wall enamel flue, pictured, costs an additional €65 per square metre. These prices include VAT. odowdscarrick.com; aradastoves.com