As with most things related to the firehouse renovation, the living room fireplace has evolved as we became acquainted with the space and started looking for options. The one thing that never changed was our desire for a wood-burning fireplace. We both love the warmth (literal and figurative) that you get from a wood fireplace.
As usual, Pinterest was a great spot to save some inspiration, as evidenced by Aaron’s extensive Fireplace board on Pinterest. Not all of these were contenders, but we thought it would be interesting to walk through our thought process.
When we signed the papers on the firehouse, we envisioned a floating fireplace situated in the middle of the room. Something like this:
Side note: When we bought this place, I wrote a long letter to our future selves detailing all the plans we had for the place. We printed it out, trashed the electronic copy and stored it with a bottle of wine that we’ll open on our 5 year anniversary. We picked 5 years because we would (obviously) be close to finishing this place at that point. Ha Ha HA! Oh, pre-renovation Aaron and Heather, how naive you were. I only mention this because the floating fireplace was definitely a detail included in the letter that clearly won’t be happening.
But, I digress… Floating fireplaces are cool. I’ll also take that tree. Please and thank you.
After we moved in, we got a better sense of the space. This room is actually on the small side. We always talk about how BIG the spaces are in the firehouse, but if I could add square footage anywhere it would be to the kitchen and downstairs living and dining rooms. The living room clocks in at just 135 square feet, which has to include a sizable walkway to get to the bathroom and stairs.
A central floating fireplace was definitely out. This ultra modern beauty caught our eye next, but was eventually ruled out because of the configuration of the flue.
We planned to bust out the glass block window to allow for the vent/chimney.
A fireplace hanging from the ceiling would require busting through the upstairs living room and roof to add the requisite smoke removal. No bueno.
The piece had some mid century modern charm, which we we love. That sent Aaron looking for a retro inspired piece. This Malm was the next thing to catch our eye.
The simplicity was nice and the price was good, but I don’t think we were ever terribly in love. It mostly hung on as a good, economical back up.
This guy though… this guy is just cool.
BAM! Fireplace! Unfortunately the multi sided configuration didn’t make sense in our design plan.
Part of the problem we kept running into is that all the cool, minimal, wood-burning fireplaces are made in Europe. Because European design > American design. While we could (and would) ship one over, differences in the fireplace code and the sheer cost made it prohibitive. So I did what anyone does when faced with this problem: poured a glass of wine and pulled up Pinterest. That led me to the Stuv brand, which offered stand-alone fireplaces AND sold versions in the United States.
We loved several of the cladding options (the material that wraps the exterior of the fireplace) but overall the cost was more than we could spend.
Stuv also offered this really sleek option.
It comes with a really cool “face plate” that makes it look like a super hero (or villain considering the fire) when it is closed. Plus, you can order a grill kit and actually make food on it. Aaron was basically sold… until we found out it was even more expensive than the other version of the Stuv. Womp, womp.
Around this time we completed our refi and with the prospect of actually having the money needed to do this project, Aaron kicked into high gear. That man can source materials like nobody’s business. Seriously, is that a job? Professional Sourcer?
He turned up these sleek beauties from Wittus.
We didn’t like that the firebox was so small, and they were extending past the budget we hoped to hit.
With stand-alone fireplaces (except for the Malm) seemingly out of reach, he focused on fireplace inserts. Which led him back to the original Stuv, which was available without the cladding.
Aaron reached out to Stuv to get pricing and see if they would sell direct. They would, but the insert was STILL out of reach. The fireplace is such a focal point, that we decided to crunch the numbers again. After pulling up the spreadsheet, Aaron realized he had money set aside to remove the wall between the kitchen and dining room. Because we can’t tackle the kitchen right now (more on our plans here), that wall is staying in place, and the extra funds put the Stuv insert within reach! Huzzah!
We ordered the Stuv 21/85 sf (single face).
We absolutely love the minimal design. A slim 1-1/2″ frame is all you see. The glass door slides up into the model and the track is hidden. The unit is fully insulated, which makes installing it to code much easier. This was important because we thought we would be tackling the whole job ourselves. More on that in the next post…