Heat up your home this winter

Homeowners lucky enough to have an old fireplace lurking behind furniture in the lounge may well have cause for gratitude this winter.

"With dire predictions of widespread electricity cuts, chances are good that many a neglected fireplace will be restored to its former glory to provide heat in the dark days of winter," says Berry Everitt, MD of the Chas Everitt International property group.

Writing in the Property Signposts newsletter, he notes that far from just being a functional convenience, fireplaces also offer great scope to become the focal point of any room. The trick is to make sure that outdated fireplaces are upgraded to fit in with more modern furniture and décor.

"Brick fireplaces can provide charm and elegance in traditional homes but may look out of place in remodelled and updated homes. However, instead of going the expensive and messy route of replacing the bricks, they can be revived with a coat of special brick paint that will withstand high temperatures.

"Another option is to clad the brick with pre-fabricated mouldings to match the existing style of the room. Mantelpieces can also contribute great eye appeal if they fit in with the prevailing décor."

Meanwhile, he says, homeowners without existing fireplaces should seriously consider installing freestanding fireplaces, bearing in mind modern smoke restrictions.

"Gas fireplaces, for example, have come a long way and models are available that will realistically simulate a softly flickering bed of embers without a fake log in sight.

"And whatever the choice, two facts are incontrovertible: fireplaces can add warmth, charm and great ambience to any room; and a well-appointed unit will add value to your investment."

Article from: www.iafrica.com