Want to entertain in your great room but also let guests mingle on the patio? How about hosting a cocktail party that spills over from your kitchen to your outdoor deck? One of the frequently asked questions we’ve gotten at European Home has been about how to install a dual-purpose fireplace that works for both indoor and outdoor spaces for these kinds of occasions. As a perfect solution for this, we’re excited to share an elegant see-through fireplace installation we recently worked on with builder, Bernie Cormier of Cormier Builders, and installer, Bob Rizzo of American Propane, to implement in a home on Boston’s North Shore. See how the Element4 Sky L T vertical fireplace rises nearly floor to ceiling to create a stunning architectural feature connecting an indoor living area and a tree-lined entrance outside.
Why is this solution so unique? One of the best benefits of our Sky L T and any of our other high-end, see-through fireplaces is the ability to enjoy your fireplace inside and out while protecting it from the harsh outdoor elements. European Home Sales & Service Manager, Chris Weiner says, “Instead of putting the fireplace partially outside, we can create the appearance of it being outside to keep the integrity of the glass and the controls intact.” He emphasizes appearance because it’s the key to maintaining and enjoying the hearth for many years to come. Since the unit is wholly contained inside, “You no longer have to worry about glass breaking, massive temperature changes, or the deterioration of wires and metals on the components.” After all, in this Massachusetts town of Reading, the homeowners may see a harsh Nor’Easter (a.k.a. wicked bad storm) or two in an average winter. But what better place to watch the snow falling than through a 62-inch-tall fireplace casing like the Sky L Ts. For something less looming, consider the medium height (47-inch-tall) Sky M T offering the same impressive styling in a more petite frame.
When you’re deciding on a place for an indoor-outdoor fireplace in your home, it’s important to identify an exterior or casement window that aligns with the inside area where the fireplace will sit. You should be able to open or easily remove it for servicing considerations. Or, you can get your contractors to build or modify a custom window. In our recent install, Bernie had to make some adjustments to the windows so that the view from inside to out would be unobstructed. “This is where the design had to be dead on, so we changed the windows so that they lined up precisely with the width of the fireplace unit.” After you choose a space, the real work begins.
Though it may seem like it’s as simple as selecting a fireplace design you like and inserting it into your home, a lot more goes into an installation of this kind than meets the eye. Bob Rizzo clarifies his role, “Our scope is delivering the fireplace, venting it, setting it up, and managing the start-up when it’s ready.” As an installer, he’s just one in a team of contractors. “There’s a plumber, an electrician, and a framer.” For this project, Bernie adds, “It wasn’t as simple as him just putting it in, I had to go over everything in detail as to what we’re going to use, for example whether tile or metal and other non-combustion materials.”
Though the Sky L T is a favorite for our customers, we offer a variety of models in different shapes and sizes. Prefer linear to vertical? The USA-made H Series see-through, open-face fireplace has several options to cut across a room in various lengths. To decide what works best for your home, think about the size of the room and the amount of heat appropriate for the space. Our installers can help you determine some options based on the amount of BTUs a model produces. Venting requirements should also be checked against the building code for your specific location.
Deciding between direct vent and vent-free? While both direct-vent and vent-free fireplaces offer high efficiency. The main consideration for a ventless fireplace is it does not require a flue so involves less construction and, therefore, a reduction in material costs. On the other hand, a direct vent fireplace offers larger flames and a higher heat output.
Beyond the installation decisions, set the mood of your fireplace with our selection of media. Choose from an authentic looking log set, glossy fire glass or white Carrara pebbles. Our real flame burners or flat burner systems create natural looking effects. The H Series vent-free models come with a flat burner that spreads the flames over the full depth of the fireplace. As another option, the award-winning Summum 140 T uses real flame burners that burn high and wrap around the logs to appear natural. Their see-through model, also called Tunnel, means the flame looks realistic from both sides. With either type of burner, enjoy convenient remote-control technology.
Whatever your lifestyle, we offer a fireplace collection of vertical towers to linear styles. Whichever you choose, the architectural features add beauty and warmth. Guests or family members can enjoy the fireplace inside with a glass of wine while others can have a fireside chat on the other side in the open air. Truly both an indoor and outdoor experience. Browse our gallery for inspiration or contact us for help. We’re happy to share our expertise or put you in touch with a local dealer.
Story by: Annaliza Nieve
Annaliza is a Creative Director/ Copywriter living on the seacoast of Massachusetts. An avid four-season hiker, she appreciates a great campfire and enjoys writing about how to bring back this cozy ambiance indoors. She has been writing for a variety of lifestyle brands for more than 20 years.