Great Balls Of Fire

December 18, 2009 | 18 comments
I'm marveling over fire balls, and I don't mean the kind that leave your tongue red. I'm referring to the ones you see in fireplaces. I've noticed these recurring in the interiors by a group of my favorite architects and designers. They're perfect for adding a subtle modern touch in otherwise classic interiors.

The nice thing about fire balls is that they are practical. You can actually have a gas fire with them. My other favored fireplace filler, birch logs, aren't so practical. They're typically used just for display.

Fire balls are made of ceramic, consistent with their more traditional log cousins, and are available in various sizes and colors. My preference is for each of the balls to share the same color and diameter and to be stacked pyramid-style, as seen in the following photos.



The stunning office of uber-talented architect Ruard Veltman, a McAlpine Tankersley alum. The office warrants a post of its own, but for now enjoy this most inspiring picture of the lobby area.



Here is another Ruard Veltman design. The room reminds me of one I'd see in the Belgian Beta-Plus books. It's not over decorated, leaving the architecture to stand on its own.



The fire balls are difficult to see in this picture of an interior by Susan Ferrier, but if you click the picture and enlarge it, you can see them. As usual, the beauty of Susan's design speaks for itself.



A transitional interior from Bobby McAlpine veiled by traditional decorating elements.



Yet another McAlpine interior. If you look closely, you'll notice the room has a pecky cypress ceiling, another favored design element of mine that I recently covered.



A beautiful inglenook fireplace by Tracery Interiors. Thanks go to Things That Inspire for educating me about these fireplaces and bringing my attention to another amazing Tracery interior.



The fireplace from the Rosemary Beach home of Stan Benecki and Melanie Turner. Of course it's a favorite - Bobby McAlpine was in charge of architecture and Melanie handled the interiors.



Another Melanie Turner design in a renovated home near Chastain Park in Atlanta.

These interiors illustrate the masterful juxtaposition of the contemporary and the classic by which I'm so enraptured. Fire balls just happen to be a common thread amongst them.

Given that most of the architects and designers featured here have worked together in the past, I wonder who is responsible for introducing and popularizing this design feature. My guess is Bobby McAlpine or Ruard Veltman.

18 comments:

doug said...

that pecky room from McAlpine's project in Missouri that House Beautiful featured is one of my most favorite rooms ever published!

yet ANOTHER outstanding post James, and thanks so much for including us (again)!

David said...

I have always wondered the source/manufacturer of the "fire balls". Any pointers? Local suppliers?

Iva said...

wow. amazing!

Terry said...

Thanks L&B. This is love at first sight. I like that that are obviously not wood, obviously not gas logs.

I'm afraid that fire fans at my house like to see wood burning. They'd change their mind if they had to haul the wood in and ashed out.

The-Countrypolitan said...

I think fire balls are a nice element! Here is a website that has a wonderful selection of colors available... and you can get other geometric shapes as well.

http://www.blazingglass.com/fireplace-stones/

It reminds me of a fireplace that I had in a bungalow house that I was renting at the time in Dallas. The fireplace had been modified for gas. I bought an old chrome hub cap (which is an art in themselves) that had a kind of deco look to it and filled the rim with smooth river rocks. When the gas flame came through the wires of the hubcap and the rocks it looked great.

Southern Aspirations said...

I have to admit I didn't know about fire balls. I love the concept!! Very cool.

erika said...

Yummy post! Love the look and the concept. Thanks for a lovely post.

Developing Designs said...

Just wandered over to your blog from This Photographers Life, and boy am I glad I did. What beautiful images, great inspiration and introduction to a neat concept. I look forward to more of your wonderful blogs. Thank you.

Things That Inspire said...

Very cool post! I never noticed the fire balls in the Tracery Interiors picture - I have never noticed them at all. Now I am going to scan through some of my pictures and see whether I see them in other fireplaces. Great post!

This Photographer's Life said...

Oh Wow! What an awesome thing on which to do a post. I'm not sure I have ever seen these... but I will look out for them now. I usually see birch logs, as you mentioned, but never these. Very cool.

Debra Phillips said...

love these and never noticed them! thanks for the introduction. loving your blog james!
debra

James said...

Thanks everyone, glad you enjoyed the post.

@David: I'm not aware of a source in Atlanta, but admittedly I've never sought one out. Perhaps the folks at Francois & Co. or Chesneys could help you out. I too found the site that @The-Countrypolitan referenced.

Greet said...

Hi James,
Your blog is wonderful! I am so glad to have discovered you!!!!
Warmthly,
Greet

Rebecca said...

Just found you from "Things that Inspire". I will be back. We have a wood burning fireplace. I am in love with fireballs - I hate the fake wood look.
Greetings, Rebecca

A Perfect Gray said...

you have a very good eye. enjoying your blog very much...

dana said...

I came across your blog and have been reading for the past 45 minutes. So glad to now be a subscriber!

srb30a said...

Actually any place that sells logs for gas fireplaces will have them. There are other shapes available as well. One that is fairly popular is pine cones.

TSL said...

I'm in the wrong biz - lol - I should have been an architect.

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