The Ventless Fireplace: A Cool Idea Worth Warming Up To

There's nothing like the crackle, warmth and glow from a real wood-burning fireplace. But for apartment dwellers without an existing fireplace, alternatives to the traditional chimney and flue are necessary. Ventless designs powered by eco-friendly biofuel are now available in modern materials and as ceiling-mount, wall-mount and floor standing units. Here are a few sleek designs that won't leave you feeling left out in the cold.

All of these featured fireplaces run on ethanol, a biofuel that is clean-burning, renewable and environmentally-friendly. Here are a few of the many advantages of biofuel:


  • Compared to wood, biofuel is 40% more energy efficient.

  • It does not emit smoke or unpleasant odor when burning; and only produces steam and a little amount of carbon dioxide, so does not contribute to greenhouse gases.

  • It is not messy to use because no ashes are left after burning.

  • No installation is needed and no maintenance is required because of the absence of ashes and dirt.

  • Biofuel burning fireplaces are generally less expensive compared to traditional fireplaces.
Not yet convinced? Check out these cool ways to heat up:

  1. Cocoon Fires Hanging Fireplace Set is my favorite of the ceiling-mount models and burns up to 6 hours depending on the adjustable heat setting. The Cocoon is customizable to six height positions, available in chrome or black, and starts at $2,990.

  2. Inspired by the look of two burning logs, the Wahrmann Tabletop Fireplace, designed by Gido Wahrmann for Carl Mertens Germany, features two stainless steel oil lamps resting on a 10" x 14" slate base and sells for $418.

  3. Also from Carl Mertens Germany, the Apollo Tabletop Fireplace, designed by Wolf Wagner, features 18/10 satin stainless steel and tempered glass, measures 13.8"H x 11"L x 4.7"D, and sells for $825.

  4. Bioflame produces several ventless designs, including the free-standing Blocco, combining a concrete base available in natural, charcoal and white, 8mm tempered glass, and a 16" burner. The Blocco measures 27"H x 48"L x 36"D and begins at $2499.

  5. Also from Bioflame is this wall-mount model, the Avante, which consists of a stainless steel firebox with brushed aluminum panels, includes 3 fuel canisters or a 13" burner, measures 23.8"H x 33.4"W x 6.6"D, and starts at $1299.

  6. EcoSmart produces several high-end ventless fireplaces in space-age designs. The Zeta Fireplace, designed by John Dimopoulos, is so-named because of its elliptical shape that pays homage to its Greek 'origins'. A clever fusion of timber, leather and stainless steel, this portable fireplace sits on a brushed or polished stainless steel swivel base, and will set you back $10,900.

  7. The EcoSmart Q Fireplace takes futuristic fireplace design to a new level. The Q is created from weatherproof fiberglass, stainless steel and glass, and is portable so can be used both inside and out. The base allows rotation of the fire box and the package is available in black or white for $5695.

  8. The Ponton Fireplace by Wolf Udo Wagner combines tempered glass and stainless steel and burns for 1.5 hours. At 11"H x 7"D, it's compact size makes it highly portable and storable; $495.

  9. For a completely flameless solution, I love the whimsical Match Light, designed by Chaiyut Plypetch. Looking like a giant matchstick leaning against your wall, the wood and plastic lamp measures 70"H x 6"W x 6"D and comes with both a red and white tip and 25W bulb; $339.

  10. There are several DVDs available which deliver the crackling fire experience on your TV, and my favorite is Light The Box - The Ultimate Fire DVD, which includes a stunning selection of traditional and contemporary firestyles playing on a seamless loop; $19.99.


(Images: As linked above)

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