To watch the fire in the fireplace Essay

To watch the fire in the fireplace Set in a corner next to a hallway, a floor-level fireplace mighthave seemed stranded in this large family room. Instead, a boost inelevation put the flames in full view from every angle. Working for Betty and Steve Mar of Bellevue, Washington, architectsCarolyn Widgery and Stuart Silk raised the zeroclearance,heat-recirculating fireplace 14 inches off the floor and created a lowand wide wood-storage space underneath.

Conventional 2-by-4 framing sheathed with gypsum board encases andraises the prefabricated metal firebox, which sits on a 1/8-inch-thickasbestos board set atop 3/4-inch plywood. The fireplace surround isvertical-grain Douglas fir. A standard 10-inch triple-wall metal flue vents the firebox, but togive the fireplace a bolder look, the architects designed an outersheet-metal cylinder to wrap around it. The 16-inch-diameter cylinderis painted with a high-gloss enamel in the same pale gray color as thewalls.

The owners use the space around the flue as a display mantel. The wood-storage space, 55 inches wide and 16 to 28 inches deep,holds enough wood for several evening fires. The fan for therecirculating system is housed in the back left corner of the storagespace. On the floor in front of the fireplace, 8-inch glazed quarry tilesfoil occasional sparks and make easy work of cleaning up spilled ashesand bits of wood. Photo: Elevated fireplace puts flickering flames where they’reeasier to see and makes room for wood storage below

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