The fireplace is once again in vogue and has become an essential element when designing the perfect living space. Whether you nestle into a cosy cottage at the end of the day, entertain in a grand mansion, or lounge in the most contemporary of homes a real fire adds the essential finishing touch.

For some people wood burning stoves have become the ‘must have’ feature for the home. Designs range from the traditional cast iron styles, through to chic minimalist glass windows in the wall that simply slide up to feed the fire with logs. As well as stunning looks wood burners are also highly efficient, and a green alternative to other sources of fuel. Wood burning is considered to be carbon neutral as the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere is around the same as that absorbed by the tree throughout its period of growth.

If the convenience of remote control is more your thing then a gas fire may better suit your home. With spectacular flame effects and a wider choice of styles than ever before the previously humble gas fire has really evolved in the last few years.  Up to two metres wide, with one, two or three sides, and even tunnel fires that link two rooms in a home together. It’s not even necessary to have a traditional chimney with some gas fires.

Many of the stoves and fires mentioned above can be installed into a fire surround or mantel. Styles range from ornate period chimneypieces made from natural marble to simple, contemporary designs in a variety of materials from limestone and sandstone to volcanic basaltina. For more traditional fireplaces needing a gas fire there is the basket fire or even stoves replicating the look and feel of a wood burning stove.

A big change has been a vast increase in the efficiency of the fire. No longer just a decorative feature a properly chosen and installed fire will also heat a living space without wasting fuel. Whether its wood or gas being burnt a glass fronted fire will typically be two to three times as efficient as its open fronted equivalent without compromising on the look. In fact it is glass that makes some of the spectacular designs possible.

With such a wide choice it is essential to visit a good showroom to really appreciate what is now possible. Whilst there speak with a professional that will understand the look you are trying to achieve and also what is suitable for each and every individual home. Take up the offer of a survey as this can determine what can be achieved even if the home does not have a working chimney.

So if you are thinking about making a statement in your home pay a visit to Ash & Embers in Abridge. Conveniently located between Chigwell and Theydon Bois the showroom features one of the largest collections from the UK and Europe’s premier fire designers and manufacturers.

Open seven days a week you are assured of a warm welcome.