Fireplaces Spark Interest in Buyers

Fireplaces Spark Interest in Buyers

Fireplaces are eye-catchers across all levels of homes, and savvy selling agents know that buyers will linger over a photo of one in a listing. With HVAC and smart-home technology controlling the environment, fireplaces have become purely a pleasure item, to the point where you can just watch a fireplace YouTube video on your smart TV.

For buyers who want the real thing, one design element they consider is the depth of the fireplace. A deeper firebox, according to Curbed.com, shows that the emphasis is for pleasure over function and allows a safer layout, keeping the burning logs away from the room.

But buyers who plan to use their fireplaces look for the Rumford fireplace design, a shallower design that reflects more heat back into the living area while moving air efficiently to keep smoke out.

Benjamin Thompson, who dubbed himself a Count during a stay in Europe, published an essay in 1796 that presented his design for a more efficient fireplace. By having a shallow firebox with widely flared sides, "the design... draws air into the fireplace very efficiently," says Bruce Irving of Hammond Real Estate in Cambridge, Mass., a renovation expert who was a producer of PBS series "This Old House." "That allows the flame to have plenty of oxygen to burn strongly and cleanly. And, on top of that, it effectively reflects heat into the room."

Rumford's design is a mainstay of homes built in the first half of the 19th century, but still comes up occasionally in modern homes designed for those who appreciate the element.

Source: "What's the Deal With Old Fireplaces?" Curbed.com (March 24, 2016)

Jennifer Katzfey

Jennifer Katzfey

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