Raised Hearth vs. Flush Hearth & VC Chateau vs. Lennox Montebello

vineyardSeptember 21, 2007

It's getting to be "fireplace decision-making time" for our new home under construction and I was wondering: besides the issues of ceiling height, pure esthetics and small children (hitting their head on the edge of the raised hearth), does anyone have any feedback on whether to go with a raised hearth vs. flush hearth?

We'll probably do either cast stone or cantera stone surrounds. Online, it seems that percentage-wise, I'm seeing more photos of these types of fireplaces with flush hearths, not raised. Maybe it's just the sites I'm stumbling upon, I don't know...but looking at the bigger units, most seem to have either flush hearths or no hearths at all.

Anyway, here's our fireplace list...I appreciate any feedback and/or votes on raised hearth vs. flush hearth as well as Vermont Castings Chateau vs. Lennox Montebello!

Living Room - 20' barrel vaulted ceiling, fireplace wall is 18' and room depth is 16'. Fireplace will be either VC Chateau DVT44IN or Lennox Montebello LSM45-2. I'm also going to do an overmantel, since the ceilings are so high.

Great Room - 15' ceiling with exposed wood beams, fireplace in corner, total room size is about 28' x 29'. Fireplace will be either VC Chateau DVT44IN or Lennox Montebello LSM45-2.

Master Bedroom - 12' ceiling with exposed wood beams. Fireplace will be either VC Chateau DVT38IN or Lennox Montebello LSM40-2.

Upstairs Lookout - 10' ceiling outdoor room under roof. The fireplace is centered on a 15' wide solid wall that continues 8' on both sides, then continues 8' as a half-wall. The wall across the fireplace wall is open with an outdoor staircase. Fireplace will be a Lennox Elite Outdoor 42" fireplace.

Mahalo and aloha,


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I see you're in Northern California. If you get the chance you should visit "Blaze Fireplaces" in downtown San Francisco. They have 40+ live burning fireplaces, custom mantels and can install all of this. They also have the Lennox Montebello units live and burning. They are very beautiful.


    Bookmark   September 21, 2007 at 9:17PM
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So much depends on the overall look you want for your home.

That determines the size and placement of the fps.

Exposed beams and stone of any sort sounds traditional.

For your great room, I'd go for a raised hearth and a surround, mantel and overmantel that are in scale with the room. And that means large!

The trend here in master suite fireplaces is to mount them about three feet high without the traditional wood fp trappings at all. A matter of taste.

I put in three-four fireplaces in every home I build; and none in any home are the same.

For instance, below is another fp in the same home as in the "building a home thread" thread. But since this is the kids' play area in a small basement room (as you'd probably guess from the photo), we scaled the fp accordingly.

Kingsman gas fireplace, Century Stone concrete brick surround, raised Indiana limestone hearth

    Bookmark   September 21, 2007 at 9:54PM
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Thanks, macey and worthy, for your replies! I'd love to see the Montebello in person; maybe if there are none displayed in the East Bay, I guess I will have to go to the city... :)

worthy, about those MBR fireplaces being 3' high, do you mean that they don't have any surround at all? Or is it more like a picture frame, with just some cast stone trim/molding around the firebox? Sorry, I'm just not getting a clear understanding of the "traditional wood fp trappings" are. Here's one I saw that I really like for the great room, I love the massive columns and the sheer size (89 1/2" W, 64" H). I agree that an overmantel would be a good idea for the great room, due to the ceiling height.

And here's another one that seems more formal, maybe for the living room (I might want to delete the corinthian capitals, though):

    Bookmark   September 22, 2007 at 5:14AM
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I've been seeing MBR fireplaces with no surround at all, as in the example below of a new spec home near us listed for $2.150 million

Remember the builder is only spending what is necessary to impress prospects and clinch a deal. But not trying to make too much of a statement. Blandness sells. But this builder has a good track record on sales recently.

Personally, I would put some surround on the fireplace. But note that the unit is well-scaled for the room

Photo: Toronto Real Estate Board

    Bookmark   September 22, 2007 at 12:24PM
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The trend here is to put them all at floor level.

I'm not fond of it, though. It's so nice to sit on the hearth on a cool evening, and its nice extra seating when the house is full. Also nice if the fire is more at eye level when seated, so you don't have to look 'down' at it.

I like a raised hearth even in a room with low ceilings, but even more if the ceiling is high. But my great room vaults to 24 feet, and I'm only raising the fp 8 inches off the floor: I'm going to put a TV up there so that all the rooms focal points are in the same place. It will have a painting to conceal it when not in use, and I can always move it elsewhere if I decide I don't like it. So the hearth is staying realitively low to keep the TV from being too high.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2007 at 10:49PM
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Here are 2 pics of our fp with raised hearth in our LR with a 14' barrel vault ceiling. Woodburner is a FXP 44 Elite with Corinthian Granite as the surround. Still not sure what we're doing for a mantel. The raised hearth is rounded on the front and 24" deep at the max and 13" high all around.


    Bookmark   September 23, 2007 at 1:45PM
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Thanks for the pic, worthy, but that "no surround" look is a bit modern for my traditional taste...especially in the master bedroom. If I was a buyer looking at that home, it wouldn't be a deal-breaker though, as a surround would be easy to add-on afterwards, so I think the builder knows what he's doing! :)

oruboris, after walking through our framed house on Sunday, I've decided to do a raised hearth in the living room, great room and upstairs lookout. The master bedroom will have a flush hearth so our furkids can enjoy the heat better. :)

sandyponder, thanks so much for posting your photos...nice to see someone else that likes barrel vault ceilings! We'll have barrel vaults in our living room and wine room but I'm still undecided on how to finish them. I love the way you rounded your hearth to match your fireplace!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2007 at 5:27AM
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