As the thermostat drops and a chill invades the air, nothing can replace the permeating warmth of sitting hearth side in your home. Traditional built-in stone and brick fireplaces have had a stronghold in the home-fire realm for what seems like eons, with freestanding stoves playing second fiddle. But now their time has come. With a bevy of interesting styles (from ultramodern to tried-and-true traditional) and a throng of fuel options (think corn, pellets and electricity in addition to wood and gas), these beauties really can stand on their own. See what everyone’s getting all fired up about.
The Shaker Stove
Wittus — Fire by Design; wittus.com
Modern beauty meets Shaker simplicity in this efficient, multifunctional design. The short seat next to the firebox can be extended to a long comfortable bench, so you can quickly warm up after a day of skiing or dry out from a day on the water. The look is ideal for any home where clean lines and no-muss/no-fuss attitude are top priority.
Dimensions: 41″h x 34″w x 21″d
Venting: Top or back
Heat Output: 20,000 BTUs
Country Flame; countryflame.com
Though it may look traditional, this powerful unit is anything but. Fueled by corn (it also can run on wood pellets), it’s both economical and environmentally sound, while heavy-gauge steel construction, Queen Anne-style legs and 24K-gold-plated trim give it a timeless look. Plus its 75-pound hopper and state-of-the-art, automatic feeding system mean you don’t have to keep adding fuel to the fire — it takes care of the task for you.
Dimensions: 31.25″h x 30.75″w x 20.5″d
Fuel: Corn or wood pellets
Heat output: 50,000 BTUs
Sleek, stylish and shiny stainless steel, the self-proclaimed “world’s first freestanding fireplace” will add a hint of Scandinavia to your timber home. Its specially designed combustion chamber generates higher temperatures, resulting in less fuel usage, cleaner operation and a healthier environment.
Dimensions: 72″h x 35″w x 29″d
Heat output: 28,000-63,000 BTUs
The Zephyr View 2.0
Zephyr Stove; zephyrstoves.com
When a widescreen HDTV just isn’t enough, oversize your hearth, too. With a 23-inch diagonal firebox, it boasts the largest viewing window in its class. Solid walnut handles stay cool to the touch — perfect for loading the 21-inch-long logs it can accommodate. Plus, its low-emission output earned it EPA Phase II certification, so it’s kind to the planet while it grabs your attention.
Dimensions: 30.8″h x 27.5″w x 21.75″d
Heat output: 12,000- 35,000 BTUs
The Scottsdale Outdoor Electric Fireplace
Why should the inside of your timber home have all the fun? This easy-to-install outdoor fireplace with its realistic flame and weatherproof simulated-stone surround boasting Southwestern-style details will make an impressive addition to your deck or patio. And to amp up the ambiance even more, it comes with a CD player and auxiliary input for an MP3 player. Need more convincing? The average operation cost is about $10 a year.
Dimensions: 52.25″h x 40″w x 14.5″d
Heat output: 204 BTUs