Drool Worth Fireplaces For Wet California Winter

If you haven't been watching the news you may have missed that Southern California with its normally temperate winters is experiencing a number of very heavy storms.  Southern Californians and rain do not mix which means short distance commutes become hours long excursions. Instead, I'd rather be curled up at home in front of my wood burning fireplace enjoying the glow of the orange embers. 

Real estate website TopTenRealEstateDeals.com each week publishes some of the best homes to come on the market each week - celebrity manors and historical edifices to architecturally known properties.  What this means is that each week my in-box is filled with mind-blowing photos of houses in which I'd like to live.  Naturally, with my mindset being in the firebox, I couldn't resist sharing a few of the fabulous examples to come on the market.


John Arnhold Smith House by Cliff May | La Habra, California

A favorite of California industrialists and movie people alike, Cliff May's work could easily be quantified as being the foundation of the modern California ranch style.  His wide open spaces, expanses of natural light and artistically rendered Spanish touches have made his homes less abode and more collectible work of art.  The Kiva in this La Habra home, built in 1936 for banker John Arnholt Smith and his wife is representative of the attention to detail May paid to each project.  Not to mention, it makes for a great spot to warm up on a crisp, California evening.

Top Ten Deals: 9-23-2014


J. C. Morris House | Ketron Island, Washington

If this family room, part of the 1963 J.C. Morris House in Puget Sound feels familiar, it's because it's design is heavily inspired by architect Frank Lloyd Wright's Prarie Style.  With stunning views of Anderson Island and a 1,000 foot beach below the property, the simple, stone fireplace provides a neutral focal point ensuring that the vistas beyond remain the star attraction.

Top Ten Deals: 9-9-2014


Artemesia by Frederick Engstrum | Hollywood Hills, California

Now considered to be the Largest Craftsman Home in the United States, Artemesia is a European styled Craftsman mansion built in 1913 by Frederick Engstrum.  Though it is the originally installed ecological systems such a rainwater collection system, tankless water heaters that fired only when needed and a grey-water system for the garden, it is the massive public spaces that make this home even more spectacular.  The fireplaces?  Each features ornate woodwork and original Batchelder tile surrounds.

Top Ten Deals: 12-9-2014


Tracy Mansion | Brooklyn, New York

Fireplaces which command the full attention of a room are essential in any space where massive scale and importance are present.  The Tracy Mansion, a Brooklyn edifice designed by architect Frank J. Helmle for transportation magnate John Tracy in the early 1900's.  The 9,788 square foot, 100-year old home features stunning architectural details and bronze front doors in addition to the many original fireplaces, each of which are a stunning focal point even with surrounding ornamental details.

Top Ten Deals: 12-9-2014


Historical Twin Silo Farm | Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania

Photo by Michael Colavita and Steve Davis

Photo by Michael Colavita and Steve Davis

Ceilings of paltry height certainly don't mean that one can't have a fireplace which is both grand but also appropriately scaled for a space.  The dining room of the Twin Silo Farm, built in 1790 as part of a 2nd renovation to expand on the original two-room 1710 farmhouse, features just such a mantle.  Though it's mass occupies most of the wall, the light wood material and green coordinating accents ensure that it is not overpowering to the space. 

Top Ten Deals: 11-4-2014


Skyline Residence by Hagy Belzberg | Los Angeles, California

The fireplace in the Skyline Residence, a contemporary home designed by Hagy Belzberg above the Sunset Strip, is certainly not traditional, not is there any place above for pictures, knick-knacks and the normal clutter seen along a typical mantlepiece.  Instead, the free-floating metal artwork unit suspended in the middle of the room, ensures that its mass doesn't take away from the views beyond yet still remains a focal point; a beacon of warmth.

Top Ten Deals: 11-25-2014


Clark Gable & Carole Lombard Estate | Palm Springs, California

The 1930's and 1940's were popular times for Spanish regency style architecture in Southern California.  Hollywood's elite many of the great California architects of the time to design these expansive open abodes.  Clark Gable, a proverbial playboy, shared this particular ranch with actress Carole Lombard before her death. The fireplace, with it's iron grill-work and minimal tile, remains true to the house in its simplicity.

Top Ten Deals: 12-2-2014


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