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Archive for January 2011

For many, barbecue is the ultimate leveler. When asked about bridging racial and societal gaps in the South, Southern Foodways Alliance Director, John T. Edge, once responded with, "There's hope in barbecue." Southern cookbook author, Virginia Willis, also believes in the power of smoked meat, adding: "Barbecue exists without borders. Every nation under the sun throws meat on fire." As it turns out, chef/pitmaster Drew Robinson of Jim N Nick's Bar-B-Q takes his cue from the same school of thought. More

A fireplace is often the focal point of a room, and in addition to being another source of warmth, it affects the overall appearance of the space. Changing the facade of an existing fireplace can brighten up a room and give it a fresh, updated look. It also can increase the resale value of your home as much as 12 percent, according to the National Association of Real Estate Appraisers. As with most remodeling projects, there are options to suit every budget. More

As the temperatures drop, many people's thoughts turn to wood crackling in a fireplace. But homeowners who haven't maintained their chimneys may find that they must change the fuel for their winter traditions. More

The fireplace is the focus of most living rooms and a symbol of hearth and home. It provides a natural focal point and adds architectural interest. But aesthetics aside, there are few things more comforting than the flickering flames and smoldering wood of an open fire. So, if you are updating an existing fireplace or buying a new one, what you choose and how you decorate it matters greatly to how your home feels. More

What's hot in fireplaces? From sleek and artsy to technology-enhanced traditional, homeowners have more options than ever. Wall-mounted gas fireplaces, sometimes called portrait-style or gallery-style, are increasingly popular, particularly in contemporary homes that call for a sleek, linear look. Today's models are smaller and require less depth than earlier models, and they can be installed flat on the wall, horizontally or vertically, in virtually any room or space. "It will fit into a kitchen cabinet, like a nice little piece of art," said Chris Becker, owner of Twin City Fireplace & Stone in Minneapolis. More

Winter is not simply a time to hunker down inside and think wistfully about summer days. There is so much to take in during this season. It's a time to enjoy crispness, the smell of snow and burning leaves, and rosy cheeks. A great way to enjoy the season's attributes is to barbecue. Grilling in winter and sitting around a hot fire to contrast with the icy air is a rustic way of soaking up life. More

Wood-burning stoves, space heaters and furnaces are all popular ways to supplement, or even replace, the usual gas- and oil-fired furnaces in homes. More

With fuel costs rising, many are seeking more affordable and alternative ways to stay warm. According to the United States Fire Administration, more than one-third of Americans use fireplaces, wood stoves and other fuel-fired appliances as primary heat sources in their homes. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the fire risks when heating with wood and solid fuels. Heating fires account for 36 percent of residential home fires in rural areas every year. The USFA offers the following fire safety tips. More

Today's fireplaces and wood-stoves are both functional and beautiful. Once simply a primary source of heat for the home, they are now also an art form and a focal point of a room. "They've gone from a heating source to a piece of furniture," says Maritime Fireplaces general manager George LeBlanc. A wide variety of stylish wood-burning, gas and electric stoves and fireplaces are available on the market these days starting at about $1,000. After deciding upon a style, homeowners can also select from an array of faceplates, firebox liners, burners and surrounds that best suit their taste and style of home. More

A "no burn" day to spare the air? No problem. You just flip the switch and presto, you've got fire going in our fireplace. Smoke free. Guilt free. Look closely and you'll see that the logs never change and the flames glow blue in the center. But you'd have to really look. Otherwise, just sit back, watch the fire dance and feel the warmth. More

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