Warm Front


This well-designed great room fireplace is located in Birmingham, at the home of designer Ann Heath Templeton and her husband, builder Steve Templeton. To see more of their home, click here. Photo by Justin Maconochie.

IT’S TIME TO prepare your hearth for another wintry season. Here, a few insights to stoke your fireplace knowledge:

  • Centuries ago, mantels were designed not as decorative accessories, but were built as hoods that projected out over a grate below to catch smoke, and keep it from drifting into the room (or so the theory went).
  • For several centuries, the chimneypiece was the most elaborate and artistic feature in most homes.
  • We use “cord” as the unit of measurement for firewood. It’s said that the cord’s origin dates back to the early 1600s, when wood was sold in bundles and literally tied with a cord.
  • A cord of wood today measures 4 feet high, 4 feet wide, and 8 feet long.