Some of my earliest memories are not made up of people or events, instead they exist as textures and feelings forever imprinted on my brain.  Like most toddlers I had a favorite blanket.  This blanket was made out of a pale, baby blue fabric that was as soft as silk and always felt cool to the touch like the underside of a pillow in the summertime.  While that memory is as clear as day, I find it amazing that I haven’t seen or touched this blanket in 25 years.

Texture matters.

Contemporary Two-sided fireplace

Bidore 95 by Element 4 – the geometrical pattern-like texture of this fireplace surround provides an interesting and unexpected focal point for an otherwise subdued modern room.   Installation by Distinctive Mantle Design Inc.

According to Hatch Interior Designs: “texture can be described as either tactile or visual. Tactile texture relates to the actual feeling of a surface – smooth, rough, soft, hard, etc. Visual texture is our perception of what a texture might feel like. In other words, we often make assumptions about the texture of a material based on our memory of touching similar surfaces.”


Sky T and Lucius 140 by Element4 -

Texture is perception.  At this year’s HPBExpo we used Skamol to enclose some of our fireplaces.  With minimal treatment we were able to get a  beautiful raw concrete-like texture from the lightweight building board.  

The idea that texture is tied to memory seems to be playing itself out in the trendiest of urban lofts and renovated warehouse microbreweries these days.  Indeed the very textures of America’s Industrial Age, the exposed brick, the untreated concrete, the patina’d steel, feel almost cozy with the fireplace lit or a craft beer in hand.

Be it an old baby blue blanket or a reclaimed barn wood bench, with texture we build our home, our sanctuary, and our memories.


Lucius 140 by Element 4 – The industrial textures of our past are being revisited and reinvented. Installation by All Seasons Fireplace


Posted by: Cory John Ploessl
Cory is the Marketing Manager for European Home.  He has an MFA in Sculpture from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston.  He writes about fireplace and modern design on the European Home Blog.

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