A Fireplace to call my own

If you are Canadian like me, you will not be surprised to find a fireplace to be a design staple to any Canadian home. Whether wood, gas, electric or ethanol bio-flame it keeps you and your home feeling cozy and warm when old man winter controls the outdoors. 

And what better winter than this one to remind us of the real importance of feeling that fireplace warmth!! These are just two examples of the type of real wood burning fireplace I'd love to have. A little inspiration.

houseandhome.com

virtualhomedesign.net

I love a traditional wood burning fireplace!!! Not gas. 

There is something about the crackle and smell and general coziness that just makes my heart complete. I have so many great memories fireside. The favourite homes of my childhood are all associate with a wood burning fire. My mother always had our living room fireplace roaring in the winter in our own downtown Toronto home whether only for us or a house full of family & friends, we enjoyed it almost daily. Out of the city, my father prided himself in creating HUGE log fires in our family ski chalet after a chilly day on the slopes. I still miss that place and it's beautiful double sided flagstone chimney. Even now on a cool summer's day at our family cottage on Lake Rosseau we will pull out the kindling and grab logs from under the deck to build a big crackling fire that we can all gather around, and sip a mojito or a glass of vino. 

Warm fire only a cool summer's day at the cottage... with wine of course!

Warming my frosty feet at the top of the ski hill by one awesome open fire at Sutton Quebec

So, needless to say... I have always wanted a wood burning fireplace of my own.

When we bought our house almost 2 years ago, I was so excited at the idea of having a real wood burning fireplace. It was one of the main reasons I fell in love with our house. However, when the day came that we got the keys to our new dream home I realized that perhaps this fireplace hadn't been used in a very long time. In fact, after several contractor visits we determined that it is a Masonry Brick Fireplace and doesn't have the proper flue to burn wood. Not to mention that it had been closed up years ago and the chimney is currently being used to vent our hot water heater.  Sad face. This was a big blow for me.

After much whining, I filled it will candles and decided to settle.  

After several months (and two Christmases) it just didn't fulfill my desire for a real fireplace.

Sure, it created some atmosphere and all our friends told me it was just as good as the real deal. But then the winter dragged on and on and on and on.... and I couldn't take it any longer. The candles did not warm me up nor were they easy to light. Not to mention that our dog Bailey made a game of knocking them over with his treat ball every and started to eat them!

So we decided to re-visit the idea of a gas insert. Long story short we found this great Valor brand that would actually fit our small opening. There was a long debate over contemporary or traditional and in the end traditional seemed to fit the age and style of our house the best. This is the insert we selected.

The VALOR portrait series - Windsor Arch. We purchased ours at Walltek on Kipling Ave. Log set with fluted liner.

So, several hard earned well saved dollars later, this past Saturday Walltek came to install our "almost" real fireplace. Below are a few pics of the installation:

It took a while to drill this large hole through the double brick wall of our 96 year old house!

And it fits!

 I must say, it's perfect. We still need to trim it to finish it off but it's so exciting to finally have a fireplace! The first day we burned it for like 5 hours and it smoked up the house and smelt like toxic chemicals (this is normal but not widely advertised). We decided to leave all the windows open and vacate the house for several hours. But now it burns "clean" and we've been cozying up to it every night! 

It was well worth the wait! Even Bailey loves it.