Month: April 2019

Fireplaces and Their Alternatives

Fireplaces and Their Alternatives

There’s no question that adding a fireplace to your home makes it more desirable. It provides a central place in your home for your family and your guests to gather and enjoy an evening. They look great and they add a little bit of extra warmth to your home when you need it.

Traditional fireplaces are obviously a bit tricky to install if you don’t have a chimney. While you can certainly take on the project of installing a full chimney, it’s no small feat. Luckily these days there are some alternative options you can consider if you want to bring the benefits of a fireplace to your home.

In this article we’ll take a look at traditional fireplaces and their alternatives so you can have a better idea of which option is best for your home improvement project.

Is The Real Thing For You?

If what you really want is a no-frills, real-deal fireplace, then you don’t have many options. You’re going to need a full brick chimney properly equipped with everything you need to safely burn a fire in your home. If you already have a chimney then you’re in good shape, you’ll probably just need to make sure it’s up to par and fully operational before you use it. It can be a good idea to call in a chimney sweeper to give it a clean and a look over.

If you don’t have a chimney already, then you’re going to have to install one. This isn’t the end of the world, people do it all the time. It’s going to be a bit of an expense though, and it’s certainly going to take up a bit of a footprint in your home. If you’re not willing to compromise when it comes to having a real fire in your home, then you have no way other way to go. However, if you are willing to compromise you might want to consider one of the alternative options.

Electric Fireplaces – The Best Option For Convenience

If your main concern is that you have something that is aesthetically pleasing as a centerpiece for your room, then an electric fireplace may just be the way to go. They aren’t the most realistic alternative you’re going to come across, but they are still quite realistic and will certainly do the trick in many cases.

The great thing about electric models is that you don’t need any chimney or really any ventilation at all. They can be installed just about anywhere, and you have a range of styles to choose from – BEFR by Tim Arnold breaks them down quite nicely. Better yet, they work at the click of a button and you don’t even need to set them to put out any heat at all if you don’t want to. They are a modern, stylistic, and convenient fireplace alternative. Just don’t expect truly real flames if you go this route.

Gas Fireplaces – A Nice Compromise

If the idea of an electric fireplace just doesn’t quite seem authentic enough, but you’re all on board with avoiding a chimney then a gas fireplace is probably a good compromise for your situation. You’ll still need a way to adequately vent the heat and fumes that are generated by it’s operation, but with simple ducting this can be much easier to install.

One thing to keep in mind if you want to go this route is how the gas is going to be supplied. If you already have a natural gas connection in your house then it can likely be tapped into to supply the fireplace as well. If you don’t then you’ll probably need a propane tank to hold the fuel. Otherwise, gas fireplaces are a great option. While they don’t look 100% real, they still have real flames and can be quite pleasant.

Hopefully by now you’re on your way to choosing the perfect fireplace for your home. Any questions please go ahead and ask!

Building a Practical Home Music Studio

Building a Practical Home Music Studio

Not everything you build in your house has to be an essential. Sometimes you can spare some space and resources for the things that we truly love in life. The things that make use keep pushing forward, and the things that help us wake up in the morning.

Personally, I love music. I am a guitar player at heart but I love to dive into music in many ways whenever I have a spare moment. As part of renovating my house my wife and I agree to dedicate a small area to my music addiction. It’s not much, but it gives me a place to keep all of my guitar gear. There’s also just enough room so that I can comfortably isolate myself from the rest of the house and get in the zone to make music.

It wasn’t an easy task to fit so much stuff (I have a lot of guitars) in such a small space, but with a bit of though, planning, and creativity I was able to pull something off that worked really well for me. Here are some things I learned along the way that you can apply to building your home music studio, should you ever start heading down that path.

Decide What’s Most Important

What’s most important to you as a musician that you need this music studio to provide for you? Is it a place to actually sit down and record songs, like it was for me? Or on the other hand, maybe you just need a place to store all of your guitars until you want to take them out to play with them? If you’re an avid collector and you just need a place to put your guitars you really won’t need that much space. A bit more on that later.

Once you know what’s important to you in your music studio, it’s very easy to prioritize around that so that you can make sure you’re getting everything you need out of your efforts.

Organizing Your Electric Guitar and Gear

One way to really maximize space when you’re dealing with constraints is to make use of organization tactics. I found guitar stands online that you can actually mount right on the wall to save floor space. I only needed one, but I imagine even if you have several guitars you could store them this way just fine.

I was a little worried about their integrity since my guitar is one of the best electric guitars out there according to Pickup Plug, and I really didn’t want it to fall and get damaged. I was quite happy to see that the quality was actually very good, and once mounted properly in a stud it was quite sturdy.

Another huge space saver for me was to make hooks from which I could hang coils of cables. Not only does this keep them from becoming a knotted mess, it also makes it really easy to find exactly the cable I need in matter of minutes.

Lastly, I make a console in the room where I could put my computer, audio interface, and studio monitors. I made them nice racks so that everything was neat, orderly, and contained. I took a lot of inspiration from the idea of racks, but instead I made it out of nice, beautiful wood so it would match the rest of my house.

Ultimately you have a bit of flexibility when you build your studio out from scratch. I find that I have accumulated so much gear over the years that it’s extremely helpful to have everything accessible within an arm’s reach.

Do you have pictures or stories of your home music studio? Please share, I’d love to hear them.