We at Done and Done are fans of crisp, cold days, particularly if are able to go for a long vigorous walk before curling up with a mug of tea and a blanket in front of a crackling fire. We love the snug feeling of warming up after being outside, and it evokes a particular feeling of safety amidst the the elements that the Danes call “hygge. “
Fireplaces in New York are the mythical unicorns of real estate perks. So many of us, living in post-war modern buildings, have never even seen a fireplace in the city. And even when one is lucky enough to have one, the whole process of procuring chopped wood is a bit of a pain, on top of the fact that the ash might blow back into your living room and darken your paint job. As lovely as it is in theory, it’s actually a rather labor-intensive proposition. And since it is our job to find easy solutions to such difficulties, we thought we’d do some digging and find out how to get cozy in front of a fire, hassle-free.
You can imagine how our world turned over when we found out about ethanol fireplaces. Ethanol fireplaces are beautiful installations in your home that burn de-natured alcohol instead of wood, creating a crackling fire without smoke. Because it is smokeless and therefore ventless, you do not need a chimney for an ethanol fireplace. They are green as can be, not to mention portable, so you can take it with you when you move (hear that, renters?). Set a linear model in front of your mantel like a real fireplace, mount the unit to the wall, use a see-through model as a creative room divider – you can literally put it wherever you want.
But question is always asked: is it safe? Because New Yorkers live like happy little sardines, one apartment packed right on top of each other, our decisions at home affect everyone in the building. It is thus essential to be fire-safety conscious.
We don’t like to play favorites with particular brands unless one stands out, and our attention was piqued when we came across Hearth Cabinets. Hearth Cabinets are customizable ethanol fireplaces that are officially approved by the FDNY and the Department of Buildings. The construction of the fireplaces is extremely high quality, and designed with the challenges of apartment living in mind.
As if these reasons weren’t enough, they also have amazing options in terms of construction. Pick from the variety of lengths and widths, customize the color of stones or decorative beads inside the fireplace, design your own interior finishes, or order regular cartridges or ones scented with pine, vanilla, or cinnamon.
Have a decorative fireplace with no chimney ventilation? A credenza that you don’t know what to do with? Opt for a custom built-in. When it comes to shape, color, backsplash design, scent – the world is your oyster.
All of this being said, Hearth Cabinet is not cheap. Our inquiry revealed that custom job can cost you anywhere between $8k-$12k. Oof. Other brands offer less expensive options in various shapes and sizes, but their construction may not the have the same guarantees as Hearth Cabinet or the pleasure of going local with NY craftsmen. So before you buy an ethanol fireplace from any manufacturer, make sure to do research on safety approvals, warranties, and environmental impact!
If you’re wary of the polar vortex which has cruelly descended upon us so early in the season, we prescribe for you one lovely fireplace. Grab a blanket, some tea, a furry friend, a good book, and get cozy – while also keeping safe and green at the same time.