One of the greatest perks of manufacturing and distributing modern fireplaces is being able to collaborate with amazing professional architects, designers, and builders to turn a client’s dream into reality.
Of the many that European Home has been fortunate enough to work with, our West Coast partner, Method Homes, stands out for their unique ultra-modern prefab home designs as well as their commitment to sustainable living and handmade craftsmanship.
“Our products work really well with their aesthetic. They’re into very clean lines and interesting angular shapes,” pointed out Holly Markham, founder and President of European Home. “I think they recognize the same in us. We’re a really good fit for each other.”
Method Homes just celebrated its 10th anniversary. In that time, the Seattle-based builder has built over 150 homes across a wide swath of the West and up into British Columbia. Often working in rugged, remote terrain, they’ve created homes that look as natural in their often stunning surroundings as the thick Pacific fog.
The company offers seven standard home designs, all built with sustainable materials, systems, and practices. They also team up with architects to produce custom homes. All their houses can be built to LEED, Energy Star, Passive House, or other environmental certification standards.
In addition to having the controlled space to engineer their homes for transportation over long distances and rough terrain, their building process offers a number of other advantages.
“The modular process is inherently more sustainable”, explained Christy Beaver, Method Home’s lead interior designer. “We have much less waste during our construction process in a factory setting. Any waste we do have gets recycled right into the next project. Sustainability is a core value of our company.”
This is music to Holly Markham’s ears. It also further explains why the two companies developed a mutual admiration in the first place. European Home has gone to great lengths to offer energy-efficient modern gas, wood, and electric fireplaces. When they’re installed in an energy-efficient home, like those built by Method Homes, the carbon footprint is negligible compared to the average home.
– Holly Markham, Co-Founder, and President of European Home
Taking the Guesswork Out of Choosing the Right Fireplace
From Method Homes’ point of view, the partnership with European Home has made it easier to build a specific fireplace into a project, cutting down on the guesswork of code compliance, clearances, and venting concerns.
“One challenge we had with fireplace specifications, in general, is that it’s very easy to get on the Internet and find beautiful, yet obscure units,” Christy explained. “Often these products aren’t available in America, don’t meet American codes, are significantly over budget, and don’t have the product and sales support we get from a local company like European Home. That’s one aspect of our partnership that’s made our process smoother.”
That’s always been a key point of emphasis for her company, Holly Markham said. Yes, European Home loves to show off its products on its website, but it’s also designed as a working resource for building professionals. One click on the Design Professional Resources button brings building professionals to all product technical files and manuals, access to CAD and BIM files, 3-part specs downloads, fireplace glossaries, how-to videos, information on AIA & IDCEC CEU credits, and a whole lot more.
The Big Picture Includes Doing the Little Things
Customers also know when they call their Middleton, Massachusetts facility they’ll get a real human voice on the phone. Holly makes herself available to customers, as does her husband, and co-founder, John on the technical side.
“We try to be aware of what our customers want, what will make their job a little easier,” she pointed out. “I could never understand why manufacturers would make their customers call to track down their orders. We provide tracking numbers right on the invoice. That way they know exactly where their order is and when they’ll get it. That’s really important for customers like Method Homes in terms of scheduling. It’s simple, but it’s important. We’re proud of our products, and we try to be good at the simple things too.”
The benefit of their partnership is certainly not a one-way street. European Home has had the distinct pleasure of having its fireplaces installed in a Method Homes display home at Dwell on Design, an influential annual trade show for architects, designers, and design enthusiasts. Cory Ploessl (Marketing Manager, European Home) and Christy had a chance to chat at the 2018 show in Los Angeles.
There, Christy said, she learned that the design team literally went into the woods to find the perfect birch logs to serve as inspiration for their “Fallen Birch” fire media mix.
“Very soon after the show I had a client say to me, ‘I want a fireplace that doesn’t have those cheap or cheesy logs in it and I knew exactly which brand to recommend. Realistic fire media was a priority for this client and European Home was the perfect fit.”
Unlike traditional builders who have to deal with the onsite elements, the pace at Method Homes hasn’t slowed much with the onset of winter. As they tackle ongoing projects in Big Sky, Montana, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Sun Valley, Idaho, and other premier destinations, they know that a modern, clean-face fireplace is a phone call away (there’s a good chance a familiar and friendly voice is on the other end!).
“For me personally as the in-house designer, I’ve learned a great deal about European Home’s company philosophy and the nitty-gritty details of their products,” Christy remarked. “The more I learn, the more I can recommend European Home fireplaces to the right clients and architects.”
Not to be outdone, Holly puts the finishing touch on a partnership that has paired two like-minded companies.
“We’re really happy to partner with a builder that is clearly proud of the work they do, and we’re honored that they’ve chosen our fireplaces to feature in their homes,” she concluded.
Looking for fireplace design guidance? We do this for a living.
Robert Conlin is a freelance writer living in Wiscasset, Maine. A former certified chimney sweep and retail stove shop owner, he has returned to his roots as a journalist/writer in producing enterprise reporting and online content for a variety of publications and companies.