Why not build your own gas burner?
How hard could it be? While you may have been adept at lighting the bunsen burner in high school or firing up the backyard grill, the temptation to build your own gas fireplace is one that should be avoided. The metal pipes can be cheaply purchased, and you may already know how to solder or weld, but the engineers who make gas fireplace inserts know just how big and far apart to make the perforations. They have done the math to make sure that the flame stays lit and doesn't trigger an explosion that turns your chimney into a missile silo for launching scrap metal.
Why not use the space for flower arrangements?
Flowers are accents that demand at least the option of close inspection, and this space is generally close to the level of the floor. Something as intricate and high-maintenance as flowers (which must be periodically changed) deserves to be closer to the line of sight of residents and guests. If you plan to use artificial flower arrangements, then you may be beyond help when it comes to interior decorating tips. Artificial flower arrangements are best placed inside of functional fireplaces while there's a hearty, rolling flame. Just be careful of the plastic fumes.
Why not paint the inside or place artwork in front?
Painting the interior bricks can make the unused hearth look like more of a statement, but it's a statement that falls flat. While stone and brick are not the only color options available, a clean white or bright red paint job only highlights the fact that the space isn't being used for its intended purpose. You could paint a window black or fill a bathtub to the brim with small stones, but the artistic expression doesn't need to run directly contrary to function.
Similarly, leaning artwork against the mantle or placing it fully inside are less than ideal solutions. Leaning artwork to block the opening makes the home look like it's being prepped for an estate sale, and placing artwork inside makes it look like you strongly disapprove of those particular brushstroke choices. Artwork shouldn't be placed there unless it's slated for incineration.
Ultimately, anyone looking to make use of a hearth without simply burning a stack of wood should speak with professionals about fireplace inserts. Gas, electric, and wood-burning options are available, and they allow for safe adjustment of temperature in a room. Some even come with remote controls. No DIY solution will be as safe or stylish as a professionally installed insert.
To learn more about fireplace inserts, Sacramento residents should visit http://www.pacifichearthandhome.com/services/.
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