Imagine, on the next cold winter’s day, one simple but amazing, blazing fame providing warmth and cozy ambiance not only to the living room of your home, but also to the dining area, the kitchen, the bar and even a bedroom. With today’s trend toward floor plans being more and more open, and technology and building techniques allowing more creativity than ever before, fireplaces that can heat and be enjoyed from more than one aspect are becoming an essential feature in many luxury mountain homes. “I think we’re always looking for great, new and creative ways to incorporate fireplaces in our homes, to try to break up the monotony of walls alone to separate living spaces,” says Tye Stockton of The Stockton Group, a Vail-based team of brokers within LIV Sotheby’s International Realty. “A fireplace is a great way to do that.”
A WARM CENTERPIECE
Stockton, long a fan of great fireplaces, is just warming up. He’s got a brand-new and truly unique home on the market designed and constructed by one of the Vail Valley’s most innovation, efficiency and sustainability minded builders, Balz Arrigoni of Minturn based Arrigoni Woods, known more for his particular type of wide-plank wood flooring and other finishes made from reclaimed materials. The centerpiece of the four-bedroom home, a mountain contemporary masterpiece in West Vail’s Garmisch neighborhood, is a stunning, three-sided, wood-paneled gas fireplace with chimney that extends almost magically from the similarly paneled wall into the expansive great room, providing a natural, open way of visually breaking the room into separate living areas — and providing heat to them all, as well. “It was Arrigoni’s idea to have that fireplace designed, as you can see, with the family room on one side of it, the dining room on the other side, and the front of the fireplace facing the bar area and the kitchen,” Stockton says. “The intent was to have the three- sided fireplace as a centerpiece for anywhere you are in that whole area. It’s nice, and nobody gets left out of enjoying the fireplace.”
Not only does using one fireplace to heat multiple living areas add to the energy efficiency of a home, there are other benefits, too, Stockton adds. “A fireplace like this one absolutely adds value. Most people considering buying a luxury mountain property think of fireplace as a cozy, warm element to that concept. I don’t think you could get away with building or selling a home like this without some sort of creative, beautiful, gas fireplace setting off the living room,” he says. “You really don’t see what Arrigoni did there very often. I’ve seen a lot of homes in this valley and I’ve never seen a fireplace like this one. It’s pretty unique.” The centerpiece for this brand- new home, designed and built by Balz Arrigoni, is a fully programmable, three-sided, wood-paneled gas fireplace and chimney that extends into the great room, visually breaking the room into separate living areas.
IS IT A TREND?
Stockton says fireplaces with more than one aspect have been around for a long, long time; it’s the application of new designs to meet ever- evolving construction techniques and the ever- changing whims and desires of homeowners and buyers, however, that keeps fireplace design at the forefront of architectural and interior design. “What we used to see more of was sort of a two-sided fireplace; this is a three-sided fireplace that doesn’t separate rooms entirely,” Stockton says. “But we’re always looking for trends. Certainly, more modern fireplace, in general, are a trend. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more three-sided fireplaces in the future if situations lend themselves to a similar setup. “A great fireplace seems to be a sweet spot in what people are looking for right now,” he adds.