Room of the Week: This Is the Two-Story Indoor Fire Pit of Your Dreams
My biggest home-buying regret is that I had “fireplace” on my nice-to-have list instead of my need-to-have list. This is my way of saying that my house doesn’t have a fireplace, and I regret it every winter.
So when I saw the ingenious two-story indoor fire pit inside this Haddonfield home, I knew I needed to find out the design details. Here, how it came to be, from the architect himself.
Architect: James Bogrette, principal and co-founder of Kimmel Bogrette Architecture + Site, Conshohocken
Project location: Haddonfield
Design goal in six words or less: Bringing the outdoors inside
How many other homes have you done with an indoor fire pit? And how did it influence the other design choices in this space?
Frankly, this is the first time we have done this in a home. The fire pit was a natural feature to consider when we developed the concept of an “outdoor room.” Its placement was critical as was its transparency, which was further enhanced by the use of copper mesh. Positioned in between the kitchen, soft seating and dining areas, it anchors all three spaces while also allowing it to be seen from each and every space.
Why did you decide to bring the cedar siding indoors?
In order to create the feeling of the outdoors, the cedar siding was important to integrate inside. The mixture of the cedar, stone and white columns allow for an interesting combination of materials. We also wanted to give the appearance of the home, even though it was built at one time, that it was built over time with additive elements that you may have developed had the house pre-existed.
I bet the view through those windows is gorgeous. What does the wall of windows look out onto?
The entire room’s edge wanted to connect to the landscaped gardens and water features. The gardens provide visual interest to the interior space further giving the sense of the outdoors. Beyond this ribbon of water and plantings are small terraces and an open lawn for play. The layering of these outdoor spaces provides privacy and only highlights the feeling of the outdoors whether you are inside or out.
What was the biggest design challenge in this space?
Dealing with the two-story scale of the space and making it feel like a home — a space that’s warm, livable, inviting and not awkward. Another big challenge was to be sure the fire fit did not dominate the space.
What was the biggest design victory?
Of course having a happy client is a huge victory. Our client saw their dream of a space that has the feel of a Hawaiian island come to life, and now gets to enjoy the space every day. We enjoyed working with the whole notion of the outdoors and what things are really compelling when you’re outside — water, light, shade and fire. But the fact all the spaces can coexist without conflict and bringing everyone together while making meals, doing homework, reading a book or watching TV is a terrific outcome.
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