Fresh ideas with fireplaces

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These readers made sure their fireplaces provide more than just a warm and cosy spot for winter – they play a key role in their décor too…

Photographs Francois Oberholster and Elza Cooper • Styling Dina Venter, Marian van Wyk, Amanda van Wyngaardt and Shelly Bergh

Perfect match

Keen to create storage space for “all the ‘ugly’ things that come with braaing, such as tongs and firelighters”, Tania de Clercq had cupboards installed on either side of the indoor braai in her Brackenfell home. To match the wood stored in the middle section, she had rounds cut from pieces of braai wood which were then glued onto the cupboard doors!

It's in the detail
To further enhance the warm textured look of the space, Tania had the plaster on the wall behind the fireplace chipped away to reveal the brickwork. The original arch above the surround was painted black to accentuate the shape, adding definition to the overall space.

Pendant from Candelabra Designer Lighting; Paint colour Paint & Décor Jonkershoek

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In the corner

The stairs in stylist Amanda van Wyngaardt’s Randburg townhouse were built more than 20 years ago. “I imagine this was a space-saving design,” she says.

“The previous owners had the gas fireplace custom built by Heatwave to fit perfectly into the staircase – there wasn’t a convenient spot for it in the living area. We love it as it warms up the downstairs area and the loft.”

Amanda added Cole & Son wallpaper (Apex Grand in Teal) from St Leger & Viney to the double-volume wall behind the fireplace. “It’s my favourite wall in the house – it adds impact and I never get tired of it!” she says. 

Scatter cushion and bunnies on kist from Gonk

A big deal

When artist Gabrielle Raaff moved into her Lakeside home, she fell in love with the huge 2m-wide fireplace in the living room. “The previous owners included some very clever design features throughout the house and the fireplace with storage space for wood on both sides is both useful and attractive,” she says.

The exposed stainless-steel flue extends through the ceiling to the bedroom above it and well beyond the home’s thatch roof, in keeping with safety regulations. “When the fire is going, it really warms up the whole house – all the way to the open-plan bedroom upstairs.”

Rug from Hertex; artworks above fireplace by (from left) Medina Morphet, Jo O’Connor and Lee-Ann Ormandy-Becker; white vase from Lee-Ann OrmandyBecker; light green container from Christo Giles Stoneware and Porcelain Pottery

Mosaic magic!

Sonja Wray gave her friend, artist Ronnie Biccard, free rein to create a bespoke mosaic surround for the fireplace in her Kommetjie home. She wanted it to match the look of the rest of her house with its “Magical Moroccan” theme. “I own a lot of artworks by Ronnie (such as Butterfly Blush above the fireplace) and wanted the mosaic to complement her other paintings in my home,” Sonja says.

The blue paint on the wall behind the fireplace was specially mixed by Midas Paintsmiths to match Sonja’s favourite blue in the mosaic feature.

Cast in stone

Frans and Dina van Wyk of Dullstroom tasked their daughter, decorator Dina Venter, with modifying their living room – without losing too many of the custom-crafted red-stained wood and natural stone elements they love.

At the fireplace, Dina added touches of blue to freshen up the surrounding red and brown tones and replaced a painting on the mantelpiece with a large mirror to reflect light and the surrounding décor. “When you enter the house, the fireplace is one of the first things you see,” says Dina. “It immediately establishes that cosy red wine and fire vibe and the mirror creates reflections from all angles, enhancing the room’s décor scheme beautifully.”

A coal burner ensures additional warmth in the open-plan, double-volume space. “The burner is definitely more effective in giving off heat; when it gets really cold, it’s fired up along with the fireplace, which provides the atmosphere,” says Dina.

We love this!

‘Cut-outs’ in the wall let in lots of light and provide a clear line of sight from the dining room into the living room.

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