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Architect Joan has yielded under the pressure of her architect pals. She has gone from thinking that the chimney breast might be too big to knowing that it is. When she goes up to the site and sees the totally unobstructed view, she is convinced that as little of it as possible should be hidden.
Where the fireplace is supposed to go.
I admit that when I’m there on those glorious days, I tend to agree with her. I thought last week’s suggestion of the floating wall was a good compromise, taking the wall to only 10 feet, two feet short of the ceiling. She’s right when she says that this does nothing to add light or increase the view. Then, of course, there is the whole issue of a standard fireplace versus a ventless firebox, weighing my primal fantasies of man and home and hearth against modern, green, ecological responsibility. When I think of sleek ventless fireplaces, I can’t help but think of boutique hotel lobbies. All I would need is a library of white, bound books and presto! It’s the W Hudson!
A ventless floating wall fireplace.
If we proceed with the fireplace as planned, the space between the two columns would become a solid mass. But it’s not like the house lacks glass; there are about 50 linear feet in the room already. Also keep in mind that this view is only there during the day, unless of course I intend on illuminating the valley below. Ever wonder how the Berkshires would look up-lit?
Joan’s drawing of a chimney and still more windows
Looking a little mid 20th century? No, looking a lot mid 20th century—not what I want. I love the idea of walking into the house and seeing a solid wall in front of you. I want the fireplace to have the same stature the room does, 20’ X 40’ is a large room and add 12’ ceilings and it a space that screams (pardon my Decoratorese) for an over-scaled firebox and mantle.
What we were originally going to have
There is only one way to decide. I called contractor Mitch and asked him to cover the 10-foot span with plywood to see what the view experience from inside would be and how the light would be affected. I will go up there this week and see for myself!