Fireplaces are a wonder feature that elicit memories of simpler times when homes were heated with wood and the hearth was a gathering place for family and friends. They symbolize home and warmth and a pioneering spirit. They have a certain utility, even today with the use of gas furnaces and electric heaters, as a backup source of heat and light during winter storms.

An empty fireplace looks somewhat out of place in a room. Some people use a summer fireplace screen in front of the hearth which can be stored during the winter. These are designed as a decorative element for a cold hearth and are not intended to be used when the fireplace is lit. Stained glass, metalwork sculptures, and other motifs can be used to accessorize your decor.

The website, This Old House, has posted a how-to for a stacked log illusion screen that fits snugly into the front of the mantle. It creates a focal point with a collage of log-end slices that have been glued to a backer board painted flat black. It’s very easy to make with hand tools and a hardwood branch. Choose a blend of wood species for a mosaic or perhaps white birch with it’s papery bark for a textural look. The more rustic the ends look, the better the result.

If you have a short-term accommodation or AirBnB then you may want to consider a gas log fireplace insert. This will prevent guests from building fires and reduce the risk of damage caused by embers. A gas log kit is an inexpensive way to reignite the hearth with a safer and cleaner alternative to wood. You’ll need to hire a trained professional to install the gas line.

You might have an old brass fireplace screen or glass door set that looks dated. Use fire-resistance paint to update the look. Spray paint is available in any colour to match your decor. Consider an aged metal look such as verdigris, oiled bronze, or just plain flat black. First, wash the old frame thoroughly with a strong solution of OxyClean or generic oxygen bleach to remove the soot and protective lacquer. Mask the glass with painters tape if you like but don’t worry about overspray because it can be removed easily with a razor blade scraper. Use a dark quality primer as a base coat, such as flat black. Then spray with two or more coats of your favourite colour or metal effect paint.

If you have an AirBnB or short-term rental, and are interested in housekeeping services, please call us for a quote. We’re centrally located in Collingwood for service in Blue Mountain Village and Wasaga Beach.