The big questions to consider and 15 sources.

June 24, 2019

Fireplaces and wood stoves do more than provide heat on a cold day — they anchor a gathering place at the heart of a home.

They’re a great focal point for any family gathering spot. What brings people together? Either a really beautiful meal or a really warm fire.

There are various options for adding fire features to existing homes, including wood stoves, gas fireplaces, and models that burn ethanol. But there are important differences: Some, like wood stoves, can function as the main heat source for a room; others, like ethanol fireplaces, are more about ambience. Read more, ‘Fireplaces: 10 That Will Take Your Rooms to the Next Level.’

The big question is, What do you want your fireplace or stove to do?

Where will it be installed?

Try to think about how a fireplace can be more than a thing in the wall. Positioned in the centre of a room,  it can be an element that divides space.

Is there a way to vent it?

A lot of gas fireplaces are what is called ‘direct vent,’ where you don’t need the traditional vertical flue — you can vent out a wall, whereas fireplaces that use ethanol can be ventless because they don’t have toxic byproducts.

If the fireplace is the focus of a room, where should the TV go?

If a television must be in the same space, try to hide it and let the fireplace be the true centre of the living space.



In business for more than 35 years, Ellis produces the biggest and best range in the country with more than 200 fireplace surrounds including classic styles inspired by 16th century designs. The most popular options are the Bolection fireplace with cushion moulding in Turkish limestone, as well as Louis XV designs and 18th century English Georgian provincial styles in limestone.  Plus contemporary and retro designs, French, Georgian, Regence, William, and Victorian designs as well as firegrates and accessories. It also offers a made-to-measure service in your home and will custom-make to order. (03) 9489 7654,

2. Chesneys

Beautiful original and replica antique fireplaces handcarved in marble and stone 1690 to 1920 and handles the largest and most varied range of designs to have been sold by a single dealer in the past 25 years. Lovely Georgian, Regency, Victorian, French-italian designs. Plus modern architectural surrounds and its designer collection by luminaries such as Bunny Williams, Jeffrey Bilhuber, Jane Churchill, Suzanne Tucker, Kelly Hoppen,  Barbara HulanickiTim Gosling, and  Alexa Hampton.


The British antique stalwart specialises in top-notch reproduction marble and stone fireplaces that can completely change the atmosphere of a room. The kind of designs used in the world’s best houses. Thomas Hamel is a fan, and we are too.


The big international names in  design shop for their fireplaces here. The American company’s stone range of antique-style reconstituted sandstone and marble fireplaces offers a quick ship service on best sellers.

5. Jetmaster’s

Jetmaster’s range are so good that real estate agents feature them as selling points in house ads. There’s an extensive Gas and wood-burning models are available but we prefer the wood firebox  you can build into your existing fireplaces. Big range of mantels, fascias and trims in iron, wood, marble and limestone. Our choice at our country house.  (02) 9958 1777,

6. Real Flame

The company makes a Pure Vision Pebble fire than you can bang into the wall, even if you live in a city high-reise. It has a gas burner that is flush mounted in a marble base covered with pebbles. A power flue means it can go where normal fireplaces can’t.

7. Rinnai

Check out its range called Aspiration, which produces bright flames instantly without the mess of a real flame. It has a four star energy rating, seven heat settings, three fan speeds, even heat settings, low running costs and a digital timer. Choose between a slimline metal fascia in black or stainless steel.

8. Icon Fire

Good-looking flueless open fires that do not need a utlity connection for fuel supply making them ideal for modern apartments. Very slick.

9. Cheminees Philippe

Expensive, high-end, slow combustion woodburners surrounded by about 230 kg of cast iron. The ones with glass sliding doors allow you to switch from a safe slow combustion fire to a true open fire such as the triple Sided Wood Fireplace Radiante 700 3V.P: (02) (02) 95642694,

9. Morso

Made in Denmark, these woodburning and multi-fuel stoves are complemented by a range of log stores, tools and the ‘Simplica’ humidifier.

10. Oblica

Tennessee freestanding white fire place will make it’s mark in any space. Also seek out its suspended hanging fireplaces.

11. Charnwood

Classic and contemporary stoves are the focus of this British family-run firm. Designs incorporate. Clean burn’ and ‘air wash’ technology to achieve optimum efficiency.

14. Chippendale Restoration

In this huge emporium you’ll find reclaimed architectural fireplace – surrounds with a history, chimneypieces and fire grates, both new and recycled, in timber, stone and iron. A fave with old-guard Sydney. (02) 9810 6066,

15. Heritage Building Centre

Previously the Second Hand Building Centre, this is probably the biggest collection of reclaimed materials, including fireplaces. The atmosphere is Steptoe & Son, but the focus is mainly on heritage items (1850s to Federation) in varying states of repair. There’s also new fireplace surround designs that you can paint to suit your own environment. (02) 9567 1322,

16. Terrace House Factory

Good hunting ground for cast-iron fireplaces and mantles, and an easy-to-use website. (02) 9660 6768,

related stories

Living By Design


Don’t miss the style set’s fave newsletter

Get Melissa's weekly rundown of where top interior designers source their things and find inspiration - that will instantly transform your pad.

Close and please don't show again