(UPDATED) View missing pictures here...Picasa isn't loading!
Sometimes it takes a lot of tries to get something just right.
Take our fireplace for instance...
Above is how it looked when we purchased the house.
It looked OK, but the glass doors made it almost impossible to reach the gas valve inside the doors. And I had a lot of work to do to get rid of all those hearth stains.
Getting the door off was a good thing.
But...I didn't like the fake logs that came with the house. You can see them in the first picture; they looked like old dry bones to me.
So over the summer when we weren't using the fireplace I put real logs in the firebox, which looked better to me.
I figured I'd go shopping for new fake logs come autumn, when stores would likely carry a good selection again.
The usual "big box" stores didn't carry replacement logs...they only carried entire "kits"...logs plus the gas fittings.
So I dropped by a swanky fireplace store, where they did have artificial logs, ranging in price from $160 for a very ordinary set and up to $600 for a "Smokey the Bear's Nightmare" huge burnt log set.
While I was mulling my options, a totally different fireplace arrangement caught my eye.
Glass rocks instead of artificial logs!
At first I was a bit turned off...too commercial, too "Disneyland" I thought. Too modern for my tastes.
But I kept looking again...and again...and found myself rounding up a sales guy to find out more.
Turns out glass rocks (special glass, not just broken up bottles and such...) produces 30% more heat output while using less gas.
Installing was a simple as choosing colors, cleaning out the fireplace, (and usually painting the walls inside the box black or white or some other solid color) and then pouring a layer of sand or volcanic rock, and then pouring or arranging the colored glass until the fire box is as full as desired.
In our case, we had something called a "coal carrier" that linked to our gas line, so we just had to fill it up.
I did a bit of research, as the fireplace store said they could give me samples of glass, and then they would order it for me.
I'm sooo impatient...I wanted the glass NOW!
So I did some calling around, and some research on line and discovered a glass rock company about 20 minutes from my home.
I put some elbow grease and soot cleaner to work on our firebox, touched up the coal pan's black paint, and raced out to buy glass.
(Too even of texture...1/2 inch rocks. Plus not enough glass rock to fill the pan. Bernie wasn't crazy about the red "jellybean" shaped pieces and the ambers. I headed back to the glass shop.)
Color mix #2
(Better texture and height, but too pale of a mix for our lively colored living room. I might want to use the mix in springtime. I decide to make another trip to the glass shop.)
(Above: Color Mix #3...different view.)
Color mix try #4
(Better chunky texture, color gradation, contrast, and height. I added a bit of black and some deep teal and more red stones.)
Me on the road to buy glass for try four.
As you can tell by my blog...I just love color...and hats....and this 1950's feathered half hat is warm and fun. It deserves to be worn don't you think?
In the end, (not including the cost of gas for all those runs to the glass shop) the glass cost me about a third of what the least expensive artificial log set would have cost. Plus the living room is warmer with glass than it was with the artifical logs.
The neighbors are insisting on knowing where they can get the glass for their fireplaces.
And for the traditional moments, I still have a natural wood burning crackling fire option in the fireplace downstairs.
I love that the living room fireplace now looks like jewel box instead of an off-duty incinerator when the fire is turned off.
(And naturally we will not use the fireplace lit with little ones around. The glass is tumbled, and there is no danger of getting cut if touched, but we will plan on having a screen should it ever be needed to deter little fingers that might want to try to pick glass up for a taste.)
Here are links to companies that provide the fireplace glass:
The first is the company here in SLC that I used:
http://www.moderustic.com/Products--Pictures.html (slow loading but amazing pictures!!!)
I could spend hours looking at fireplaces with glass! Love this corner fire place and "diamonds" glittering away. The third link has reflective glass...with a mirror like substance so the glass twinkles even when the flames are not lit.
How about this traditional fireplace?
Isn't this a great option?
Warmer too...much warmer, and the heat continues even when the fire is turned off. I am totally hooked on my fireplace now. Just in time for fall...and in the spring I may just select another collection of colored glass to suit the season!