American Hardwoods
Real American Hardwoods

A sudden dip in the temperature here in the North East had me thinking about fireplaces. Nothing beats the winter blahs like a cheery fire blazing in a welcoming hearth. But burning wood is an inefficient, uneconomical, and environmentally unfriendly way of heating a home. A natural gas hearth addresses many of these issues while offering a less combustible use for hardwood—as a fireplace surround that sets off the flames beautifully. Here are three examples that recently caught my attention.

Quarter-sawn oak paneling and coffered ceiling surround a gas log fireplace in the library of a Shingle Style vacation house at Lake Keowee, South Carolina, designed by architect Stephen Fuller and constructed by Gabriel Builders. Photograph by TJ Getz

Quarter-sawn oak paneling and coffered ceiling surround a gas log fireplace in the library of a Shingle Style vacation house at Lake Keowee, South Carolina, designed by architect Stephen Fuller and constructed by Gabriel Builders. Photograph by TJ Getz

Asked to design a large weekend retreat at Lake Keowee, South Carolina, Atlanta-based architect Stephen Fuller decided to do a playful take on the grand Shingle Style made famous by New England’s “summer cottages,” the sprawling 19th-centruy seaside mansions where Gilded Age society relaxed and played. Even though the lake house is very big and imposing, Fuller made sure to include a number of smaller, cozier rooms where the family would feel snug and comfortable. Such is the case with the library. Not only is the gas fireplace surrounded by quarter-sawn oak mantle and trim, the whole room is paneled in the same hardwood, which is also used for the coffered ceiling. In fact the library’s intimate scale and traditional detailing were inspired by a ship captain’s quarters—a subtle reference to both the home’s lakeside location and the Shingle Style’s oceanside roots.

 

 

 

 

Renovated by architect David Howell and interior designer Eve Robinson, the living room in a former carriage house on Manhattan’s Upper East Side has a limestone fireplace and hearth surrounded by a wall of American black walnut paneling. Photograph by Peter Margonelli

Renovated by architect David Howell and interior designer Eve Robinson, the living room in a former carriage house on Manhattan’s Upper East Side has a limestone fireplace and hearth surrounded by a wall of American black walnut paneling. Photograph by Peter Margonelli

American black walnut never looked better than it does paneling the wall surrounding a gas fireplace in a recently renovated New York City living room. Here on the Upper East Side, architect David Howell and interior designer Eve Robinson have made the simple but massive limestone mantle and hearth the central focus of the spacious, light-filled space. Rich and warm, but quiet and restrained, the hardwood panels set off the limestone perfectly, allowing it to glow even when there’s no fire in the grate. The designers created the serene room as part of the gut renovation of a former carriage house designed in 1917 by Delano & Aldrich, architects of many superb Beaux-Arts buildings in the city. Although little or no original architectural detailing remained, Howell and Robinson have succeeded in recreating the grandeur of the era using a clean, modern style and fine, timeless materials.

 

In a New York City loft by architect Jae Chang a wall of golden rift-sawn maple paneling floats above a gas fireplace on an elongated hearth made of pietra serena, a gray Italian sandstone. Photograph by Rob Kassabian

In a New York City loft by architect Jae Chang a wall of golden rift-sawn maple paneling floats above a gas fireplace on an elongated hearth made of pietra serena, a gray Italian sandstone. Photograph by Rob Kassabian

Rift-sawn maple paneling above a long slit-like gas fireplace lends a golden aura to the living area of a contemporary New York City loft by architect Jae Chang. The blackened-steel firebox, which is only 16-inches tall, sits on a massive slab of pietra serena, a type of gray sandstone quarried near Florence, Italy. The gas flames emerge from a bed of river rocks, which replicate the distinctive color of the raised hearth. The tawny wood, black steel, and gray stone form a sleek geometric composition, almost like a piece of abstract art, in which the flames are a playful animating presence—as is the adjacent flat-screen television. A layer of fire-resistant mineral wool insulation between the millwork and the firebox protects the maple panels from the heat—a good thing, since there is storage behind many of them.

 

 

 

 

 

Stephen Fuller Designs
3079 Crossing Park
Norcross, GA 30071
stephenfullerdesigns.squarespace.com

Gabriel Builders, Inc.
52 Parkway Commons Way
Greer, SC 29650
gabrielbuilders.com

David Howell Design
200 Park Avenue South, Suite 1518
New York, NY 10003
davidhowell.net

Eve Robinson Associates Inc.
2091 Broadway, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10023
everobinson.net

Jae Chang Design
200 East 90th Street
New York, NY 10128
jaechangdesign.com

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American Hardwood Information Center

The American Hardwood Information Center (AHIC), located at www.HardwoodInfo.com, provides advice from industry experts on decorating, care and maintenance, design trends, as well as flooring, cabinetry, furniture and millwork product information and specifications, to assist with building material selection for both residential and commercial applications. Step into the world of American Hardwoods and understand why products made from this sustainable and exceptionally beautiful material have been treasured for generations.
American Hardwood Information Center
American Hardwood Information Center2 days ago
Is it time to upgrade your kitchen? A #RealAmericanHardwood countertop can take the design from ordinary to extraordinary.

Counter and photo by Hardwood Lumber Company | #hardwoodlumberco #AmericanHardwoods #counter #kitchencounter #walnut #countertop #countertops #kitchens #kitchen #kitchendesign #design #interiordesign #designtrends #kitchentrends

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