Monday, May 11, 2009

Keep the Homefires Burning, Indoors and Out

Outdoor Fireplaces Bring the Living Room Outside

When summer rolls around it’s easy to lose the fireplace spirit. Outdoor temperatures rise and we become less concerned with saving on heat and more with keeping the a.c. in good working order and minimizing our use of the oven. For many families, the period from May to September is a time for sitting on the patio and grilling out, maybe sneaking in a quick game of badminton between the burgers and the brats.

Of course, there’s no reason we can’t have the best of both worlds. The number of people who enjoy a fire year-round is growing all the time, as evidenced by the current trend in outdoor fireplaces, and it’s not as outlandish an idea as you might think. As the mercury rises there’s absolutely no reason not to take the party outside and under the stars. The flames dance that much higher in the open air and the crackle of the kindling will even give the crickets a run for the money.

So why not look into an outdoor fireplace as a way to keep the home fires burning until cooler temperatures return? If you get tired of badminton you can pull up a chair and stare into the flicker the same as you did back in December—and while you’re at it, you might even make plans for fixing up the indoor hearth so it will be ready when the leaves finally start to fall. Now is the time to think about things like new fireplace doors or fireplace blowers, not once the temperatures have already dropped. After all, summer goes by more quickly every year and before you know it you’ll be shivering again.

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