The fireplace can be the showpiece of your home

The sight of flickering flames, the sound of crackling logs—it is no wonder so many people aspire to own a home with a fireplace.

Whether it’s your showcase feature or a snuggly stove

Pull up an armchair and indulge your senses in a crackling fire. The sight of flickering flames, the sound of crackling logs, the warmth on your legs—with that high level of sensory impact, it is no wonder so many people aspire to own a home with a fireplace.

“A fireplace, a cast iron stove, or a beautiful mantel shelf crowning a hearth of candles in place of logs, are often among the most attractive features of any home,” says Peter Hoffman, broker-owner of Royal LePage Triland Realty in London, Ontario.

Hoffman recommends these five guidelines when choosing a fireplace, or a home with that special glow:

1. Fireplaces and stoves can be affordable, visit specialty shops to explore the options. If a fireplace is on your list of “must-haves” for buying a home it may seriously limit the options available. If the otherwise perfect home doesn’t include one, consider adding a fireplace that fits your budget after you purchase.

2. Know your area’s building codes. Some areas disallow wood burning stoves or fireplaces, so you’ll be wise to investigate the codes for your area and buy accordingly. Building permits are required in many areas before installing woodstoves and fireplaces and there are considerations such as lining the length of the interior chimney with metal.

3. Establish your personal style; do you favour an arts-and-crafts style or a clean contemporary look? Do you prefer modern or traditional? Establishing your personal style will help you to narrow your search.

4. Wood or gas? Gas is often more convenient, but some homeowners still prefer the allure of a wood-burning fire. There appears to be no difference between gas or wood in a home’s resale value.

5. Make do with what you have. If you have an older fireplace and lack the budget to invest in refurbishing it, consider putting the project on the back burner and fill your hearth temporarily with the warm glow of an assortment of pillar candles, a sculpture or floral arrangement.

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