By Roelf Nel

Fireplace Ideas

With June fast approaching it is time to bring out the winter woollies, warm blankets and firewood.  Eskom’s increasing costs of electricity, the fireplace not only reduces the utility bill, but it creates an ambiance of charm giving character to the room. The best part of winter is being snug by the fireplace sipping on your favourite red wine, and engaging in interesting conversation….

Should you have a Closed or Open Fireplaces?

The traditional open fireplace typically loses 90% of its heat through the chimney while a cast iron closed system fireplace is over 80% efficient in retaining its warmth.

The advantages of the closed system fireplace include:

  • The smell of smoke will not be in your home.
  • Most slow burners use very little wood and can keep burning on one or two pieces of wood per hour. You will save on wood purchase costs.
  • Most units only have to be cleaned once a week if used every day.
  • With your controls set correctly and after placing a number of logs into the unit late in the evening the stove will continue to give heat for up to 8 hours which means you will wake up to a warm home.
  • The cast iron fireplace offers a timeless look which will fit with both modern and classic interior designs.

The Ethanol Fireplace

  • The Ethanol Fireplace is not a primary source of heat. The traditional stove is sufficient to warm up your house, while the ethanol fireplace generates a low amount of heat.
  • The Ethanol Fireplace consumes air. You will need to air the room by opening up the windows.
  • You will not need a chimney for the Ethanol fireplace or any huge installations. They come in mobile versions, which is great if you want to move your fireplace around, or take it onto the patio.
  • The Ethanol fireplace does not emit any dangerous fumes when burning.
  • This easy to use fireplace option does not leave ash or soot behind. There is no need for finding wood to burn. You simply ignite the ethanol poured into the burner.

Whatever type of fireplace you may opt for, light the fire, grab your favourite drink and a book and nestle in for the night!  Get inspired with more ideas found on our Pinterest Board.


By Roelf Nel

Entertaining Outdoors in Winter

Winter is slowing easing in, with chilly mornings and evenings.  Why not continue enjoying outdoor entertainment keeping warm and snug with these ideas:

  • When selecting an entertainment area, look for a north facing area where it gets the winter sunshine. Have some protection for your outdoor furniture and accessories such as retractable awnings and blinds. It’s also helpful to have furniture that is suitable for different weather conditions.
  • Keep the area warm with one of these:
    • A permanent wood-burning fireplace in a large entertainment area.
    • A sunken fire place that offers plenty of room for people to sit around and is free from overhanging branches and shrubs.
    • Have a movable boma if you don’t want to have a fixed structure.
    • For areas that are semi-covered, a mobile bio-fuel fireplace is also a good option. They don’t require a chimney or gas pipes, and can be easily incorporated into your furniture.
    • A free standing heater is also great, but just take care when kids are around.
  • Now that you have your area, and it’s heated, you just need to focus on the entertainment part….What’s cooking? You could have the Pizza oven installed, or a potjie pot on the fire or the traditional braai.

Get out those cosy blankets and colourful scatter cushions.  Stock up on wood and sherry, and enjoy the colder weather.

Follow Buildforce’s board Winter outdoor entertainment on Pinterest.

Fireplace Ideas
Entertaining Outdoors in Winter