18 January, 2008

Burn Baby, Burn!

Unfortunately, the fireplaces at the Box House are decorative only, which is a bit disappointing. Our condo has a fireplace, and even though we only used it a handful of times each winter, I like the option of having a fire. Eventually Ted and I may get a gas-burning stove to put in the corner of the living room and satisfy our fire fetish.

Floor one of the Box House still has a decorative fireplace insert, original to the house. I'm not sure exactly what these things are called, and numerous keyword combinations on Google and eBay yielded nothing. I can't find anything quite like it. (If you know the proper term for this, please tell me!)

It's made out of cast iron with a polychrome painted surface. (The middle bedroom downstairs has sconces in the same medieval theme, but they are covered in heavy layers of paint, which obscures all detail.) The seller's agent, who is also a granddaughter of the Previous Owner, does not remember the fireplace ever working.

We spotted another of these fireplace inserts in the basement when we first looked at the place, and when we made the offer we made sure to have it written in that this would not get thrown away, as we might want to reinstall it on Floor 2. That one is pretty rusty, however, and would need to be stripped and repainted before it could come back upstairs. It has one red bulb, and one white, which I imagine give a sort of static reddish glow.

Because we plan to have the floors sanded next week, we haven't moved any furniture in. Nearly all of our possessions are piled in the basement and on the back porches. The only furniture upstairs, if you can call it furniture, is a mattress and a T.V. Ted and I camped out in the Floor 1 living room a few days ago. We rented both Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House and the later remake, The Money Pit, for an inspiring double-feature. (There's a strange parallel in both films as the new homeowners spend their first days on a mattress on the floor--it was a life-imitating-art-imitating-life moment.) As I brought in the snacks and a bottle of port, Ted shared his surprise--he had, unbeknownst to me, gotten the fireplace insert working! Unlike the rusty one in the basement, with its red and white bulbs, this one had been fitted with a spinning disc to simulate live flames. Mere pictures won't do it justice, so I've uploaded a movie.

Although there's not a bit of warmth coming from it, after a few glasses of port it definitely seems more lifelike.


Unknown said...

It's an electric fireplace, and a classic one at that. They make new ones, some designed to actually generate some heat, too (this one on Amazon is pretty amazingly cheesy-looking). There's more variety on... electricfireplaces.com (natually :-)

Jayne said...

My bedroom fireplace has something very similar to yours. Plastic logs, plastic red-and-yellow cylinder with a little light bulb inside. The fact that it's setting on andirons probably original to the house (1890s) doesn't improve its looks any! For Christmas my mom got me a fake wood stove from Plow & Hearth. The "fire" is fairly realistic. It generates a good amount of heat, too, and both the "flames" and the heat are adjustable.

Joanne said...

Ah...thanks! Electric fireplace--you think I would have tried that phrase. (She smacks forehead with hand.)

I tried eBay again and came up with several vintage examples. Most look like piles of logs, but there was one with a nautical theme that was pretty cool.

Thanks for the links, gene; I'll check out Plow & Hearth as well, Jayne. Cheers!