When we first started looking at houses a few years ago, my list of must-haves included practical features like a recent roof, relatively new air conditioning unit, a safe neighborhood, windowsills wide enough for my fat cats, you know, typical things like that.
Every now and then we’d walk through a house with a fireplace, and I’d shrug. Who cares? Just something else to clean. I figured even if we ended up with a house with a fireplace, it would be a nice place to decorate, but we’d never actually use it.
The house I grew up in didn’t have a fireplace. My parents had to get mighty creative when a too-curious, inquisitive young me asked how Santa Claus got into our house, but beyond that, I don’t recall feeling like I missed anything crucial in life by not having a fireplace.
Then we walked into this house for the first time. The fireplace is gorgeous, no doubt about that. It’s definitely the first thing I noticed when I strolled through the door. Stone up to the ceiling, thick wood mantel, very striking. We fell in love with the house and the yard, and that fireplace came along for the ride as the house became ours.
Gary was much more excited about the fireplace than I was. He had the fireplace and chimney cleaned and inspected so we would be good to go for a roaring fire, the first chance we got.
*Yawn.* I still didn’t see what the big deal was all about.
We finally had a cold night, and Sunflower helped Gary light a fire in the fireplace. And I had to admit, it was beautiful, and relaxing, and peaceful, the glow of the fire, the crackling of the burning wood, the hypnotic dancing of the flames. I was hooked. I ended up taking pictures of our fireplace, like a complete dork. And I learned, at last, just what all the hype is about.
Now I can’t imagine living in a house without a fireplace. The kids love it. Even when it’s 90 degrees outside, they start dropping hints about being chilly and needing a fire. They’ve even suggested turning up the a/c so we can build a fire. (Okay, I considered it, but having to keep up appearances of being practical and sensible adults, we reluctantly had to nix that idea.)
I’m not at all into wanna-be fireplaces, though. Give me a real fire, with wood, and actual flames. Not a gas pretender, or worst of all, a fake, plug-in “fireplace heater” that is little more than a TV broadcast of a fire in the shape of a fireplace. Ummm, just no. May as well just go with this lovely contraption:
Then again, if fake fireplaces are truly your thing, don’t worry, I will hook you up, my friend. Don’t say I never gave you anything! For behold, here is an article complete with full instructions on building your very own cardboard fireplace: 12 Tutorials to Make a Cardboard Fireplace.
Of course, if you build one, I want to see pictures, please!