Take off the cold and chill this winter with a family room addition, complete with a fireplace. By simply opening up the rooms to include more of a “great room” feeling, you can change the entire function of the space. A family room addition that is open to the kitchen area allows the whole family to communicate and be part of the preparation of and participation in meals, snacks and entertainment.
Put a fireplace in the room, and you warm up the space – both in temperature and coziness. The fireplace becomes the focal point and adds ambiance and heat. It can be gas, electric or true wood-burning. Each has its advantages as well as requirements. When choosing, be aware that all fireplaces require a hearth or non-combustible material surrounding it 18 inches on each side. Gas and electric models require proper fuel sources. If you don’t have a gas line running to the location you’ve chosen, it may be cost-prohibitive and you may opt for electric – assuming you have the proper electrical wiring in place. The installation of gas or electric fireplaces is relatively simple and not intrusive.
Wood burning fireplaces, on the other hand, can be very difficult to add to a room. If you’re doing a full family room addition, decide about the wood burning fireplace at the outset. Retrofitting is an invasive and complicated job. Wood burning fire places require chimneys that must go straight up to a certain height, with a regulated exhaust level and direction. You can usually get the value of the time and investment back when you are sitting next to the real, crackling flames, saying, “This was worth it.”