How to Locate a Gas Fireplace

The dreaded corner gas fireplace has long been one of the prime targets of attack from the Slow Home front. The reason the corner gas fireplace is such a bad idea is that it shifts the focal point of the room to the corner and often prevents an effective furniture arrangement.

Furniture groupings in living spaces work best when they are organized around a focal point like a fireplace, television or view. Sometime back in the 1980′s, designers and builders began to set gas fireplaces on 45 degree angles in the corners of the living spaces sending the design world into a downward spiral that we are still trying to get out of today.

Gas fireplaces need to be thought of as part of an overall composition, and not as an appliance that is drywalled into a corner. Gas fireplaces work best when they are positioned to center on the furniture grouping and properly relate to any other features in the room such as a window, built in storage or a flat screen TV.

Today’s Slides:

  • Konkinsa

    Hi John and Matthew. 
    I’m back from a quick but fun trip to Palm Springs.  While we were there we took in the Palm Springs MODCOM Fall Home tour.  We toured 7 homes that exemplify mid-century modern architecture and design.  
    One house was a 1962 time capsule – no renos on the house since then.  Most homes on the tour however were thankfully new builds.  What I saw a lot in all the homes was glass.  Lots of glass.  Floor to ceiling glass.  I think it would be a good topic for some design minutes.  I know we’re much colder here in Canada but is glass more efficient now – heat loss-wise?  We are considering putting more glass into the view side of our house.  Is there a guideline for this aspect of reno’s?  
    I was really noticing the bathroom details on the house tour because of Bathroom month on slowhome… boy have you two educated me.  I saw some very good tile work – square drains etc etc.
    Thanks for slowhome.

  • Matthew North

    Hi Konkinsa – sounds like you had a great trip to Palm Springs. I have to say I am a little jealous because Palm Springs has been on my list of places to visit – I really want to see Richard Neutra’s Kaufmann house but I understand it is a private residence (recently restored) and is difficult to get access to see. It is my all time favorite architectural work so I can still hope that one day I will get to see it! 

    Your idea of doing a Design Minute series on the use of glass is a really good one. We use a lot of glass in our reno’s and new builds and it is extremely cold in Calgary during the winter. It is so important to have a visual connection to the outdoors in any climactic condition and is one of the most important things to try to achieve during a major remodel. By the way….happy to hear you made not of all the bathroom details on your tour!

  • Matthew North

    …..pardon my typo….the last line should read “happy to hear you made note of all the bathroom details on your tour!”