FIRE & FUNCTION
Today’s Gas Logs Present Realistic and Entertaining Options
By Mary Chavoustie
A design glitch can occur with even the most creative geniuses, and Frank Lloyd Wright was no exception. A good example would be one of the fireplaces inside Wright’s architectural masterpiece known as Wingspread, the 14,000-square-foot Wisconsin home just outside of Racine created for Herbert F. Johnson Jr., then president of S.C. Johnson & Son.
For the man who many consider the greatest American architect of all time, fireplaces or hearths were an essential part of the design; they were, in Wright’s words, “the psychological center of the home.”
In Wingspread, there are four fireplaces on the first floor and a fifth vertical fireplace on the mezzanine level. The vertical design was created for 8-foot birch logs to be able to stand upright, leaning against the back interior of the fireplace, no doubt in anticipation of a slow, maintenance-free burn.
Unfortunately, upon first lighting, the logs burned at the base, only to fall, embers and all, onto the adjoining floor. The family’s quick thinking to toss the burning logs onto the back porch alleviated a possible disaster, resulting in the fireplace becoming decorative rather than functional.
Real Fyre’s Contemporary Series, complete with spheres, geo shapes and river rock designs, would have been Wright’s perfect “psychological center.” Available in “Epic Black,” “Graystone,” “Terracotta,” “Ivory” and “Santa Fe,” the nontraditional gas logs partner with a dual-pan burner system that best reflects the mix of flame and form.
Those looking for another clean alternative to wood have the option of RH Peterson’s Fyre Glass for a more contemporary design or even a modern farmhouse setting. The product is fire-tested to 1,200 degrees without melting or discoloring and is available in a variety of colors.
Wright chose “Cherokee Red” brick from the Streator Brick Co. and bands of Kasota limestone for the birch log fireplace at Wingspread. Today, hand-carved fireplaces from natural stone offer versatility and endurance. Cantera stone, made from volcanic tuffs, sandstones and limestone, can resist moisture and humidity and can equally serve within any outdoor setting.
“Designers on Fire” housed on Heat & Glo’s website features the best fireplace projects from North America’s brightest architects and designers. For example, Christopher Developments’ stunning Anya Lane Home in British Columbia incorporates Heat & Glo’s “Twilight II,” a model the fireplace manufacturer touts as “The world’s first see-through indoor/outdoor gas fireplace” requiring no chimney or venting.
Heat & Glo’s PRIMO Direct Vent Gas Fireplace Series gives homeowners design freedom without compromise, allowing them to place a TV or artwork directly above the fireplace. The new patented SafeSurface Glass leaves no exposed seams, mesh or metal trim and stays cool to the touch.
Houstonians often welcome their “winter blasts.” Thankfully, they can leave rock salt and shovels on the box store shelves, leaving more time to get comfortable by the gas logs.
All in Natural Stone
14863 Highway 105 West
Cunningham Gas Products
18700 Carrot St.
The Woodlands location
27602 Interstate 45 North
The Fireplace & Patio Shop
1108-D N. Loop 336 West
Perfection Fireplace & Supply
(Heat & Glo)
6742 North Eldridge Parkway
RH Peterson Co.
(Real Fyre Gas Logs)
Wingspread | The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread