Ribbon of Fire
How do you bring a sense of warmth and ambience to a living room built of concrete, steel and glass while maintaining a sense of continuity with the home’s design?
That was the challenge designer Jeffrey Strnad of Beach House Design and Development faced when he was commissioned to design, build and install a fireplace and entertainment unit in this elegant Beverly Hills home.
“Initially the brief was just about functionality, and a masculine feel to match the rest of the other materials utilised in the original construction of the house,” Jeffrey says. “Apart from that they gave us a blank palette.”
Which probably sounds easy until you consider what the blank palette consisted of. “The challenge was the house is all steel, concrete and glass,” Jeffrey says. “The surrounding walls were 12” poured in place concrete and the ceiling above contained a lawn and rooftop pool. There was also no practical way to vent the fireplace, and from a functional standpoint, it had to combine function with ambience.”
For Jeffrey, the EcoSmart XL900’s overall quality and styling made it the obvious choice.
“The appeal of the EcoSmart fire was a combination of a couple of things,” he says. “One, the flexibility of being able to design anything we wanted around the system. Unlike a traditional gas fireplace where box size, combustible material setbacks and venting constrain design, EcoSmart’s ventless option allows for countless design options. Two, it was ecologically friendly to the environment. Other “canned” options do not look as sophisticated or sleek in a contemporary setting such as this."
The home’s owners wanted to bring warmth, detail, depth and a masculine feel to the project. Jeffrey achieved this using oiled rubbed bronze and echoed other materials used in the house, such as the Macassar ebony in the furniture, as well as leather finished black granite.
“We knew we had to do something custom,” he explains. “We thought if we incorporated multiple EcoSmart units we could create a long ribbon fire that gave the perception that it was floating off the wall.”
Then there were the practical considerations. “There’s about 5 feet of vertical stacking AV equipment we had to hide,” Jeffrey says. “Also, we didn’t want the fire to overheat the adjacent electrical components so we added firewalls, soundproofing for speakers hidden under the unit as well as select and well-placed LED strip lighting.
“We also look at longevity and durability of the product. I started looking at all the specifications for EcoSmart and that formed the basis and we built around it.”
Jeffrey Strnad, Beach House Design and Development
The result is a contemporary focal point for the room that reflects the heavy industrial construction materials without being bulky or overwhelming. A fire stretching across the space, burning in yellow and orange hues, adds warmth (unlike the cool, blue tones of gas). The long horizontal ledge of honed black granite underneath draws the eye, while glass and oil-rubbed bronze behind the flames enhance the depth as well as the ambience. LED accent lighting enhances the floating feel of the installation. The 60” flat screen TV recedes into the Macassar ebony panelling, allowing the fire, not the screen, to remain the focal point.
Jeffrey says his clients loved the result. “Once it was all put together and working, the client (as well as our team) were blown away by the finished product,” he says. “It works perfectly in the space juxtaposed against a concrete wall and artwork of James Dean and Marilyn Monroe!”
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EcoSmart fires have been installed in residential
and commercial settings all over the world.