Sunday, November 25, 2012

Our French Inspired Fireplace Mantel

Greetings Everyone!

We can't believe it has been over a week since we have visited all of our blogging friends!  We have literally had no time to focus on anything "home construction" related, and can only assume that this trend will not change until the beginning of the year.

That being said, we did make one selection last week regarding two of our fireplaces; the mantel surround.

 We have chosen this cast stone mantel made by Dracme
It is appropriately named; Louis XV
Our Rumford firebox will take up the entire area inside the surround.  Rumford is known for creating tall shallow fireboxes, which causes more heat to be reflected into the room.
Source Dracme Cast Stone Fireplace Surrounds 

The debate over if we should use a solid masonry fireplace has been put to rest.  With all of the new developments and improvements in firebox inserts, we find no benefit in using solid masonry. 

Initially we felt that solid masonry would add to the aesthetics of our fireplace, yet in our design everything but the firebox opening is hidden behind the wall. The herringbone pattern visible inside the firebox insert is masonry. 

We felt we needed solid masonry to get a large firebox, which is also false.   Our firebox will have a 48" by 43" opening starting at floor level.  That is huge!  

We also felt that we needed solid masonry to achieve the proper exterior aesthetics, which is also false.  Our two chimney stacks will still be framed to the same size as the masonry chimneys and will have stucco or brick applied to the exterior for a completely authentic look. Wait until you see the chimney cap options, which are worthy of their own post!

The benefits of using an insert over a masonry fireplace; We will achieve the same look both inside and out for about 1/3 of the price of solid masonry.  Our fireplaces will also be more energy efficient.  Nobody will know the difference, unless you follow our blog!
One of the gas log sets we are considering is by Ramussen.
Rasmussen makes this Tipi Gas Log Set for larger Rumford fireboxes.  The Tipi set is designed to be tall so that the flame fills the entire firebox.  

Source Rasmussen "The Gas Log Company" 

Love this tall Rumford firebox insert.  This unit, like ours, looks just like an authentic masonry fireplace. Love these tall fireboxes!
 Source Rumford
Rumford also makes great outdoor fireboxes.  Take a look at this beautiful outdoor room featuring a large Rumford firebox as the focal point.
Source Rumford 

This outdoor Rumford Fireplace also has a large opening with a Tipi style fire wood stack arrangement.

Source Rumford 

For the serious outdoor cook, Rumford also makes great outdoor kitchen units. Check out this design that incorporates an outdoor pizza oven.  Who wants this on their patio? I do!
Source Rumford
That's all we have for this past weeks home construction selections.  If you like these fireboxes, you might enjoy thumbing through other inspiring images on Rumford's Website.  You can also check out and price cast stone fireplace surrounds on Dracme's Website.

Wishing everyone a great start to their week!
- Tonya and Rob

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Our French Inspired Kitchen: Selecting a Range

Right now we are in the kitchen design phase of our new home.  Ever important to the feel of a kitchen are the seemingly endless appliance options.  Gas, electric, or both?  Stainless steel or cabinetry panels?  Glass or no glass?  And perhaps the most important of all; How much do you want to spend?  These are some of the questions that get thrown around when trying to make a few decisions on your kitchen.
I am sure that there are other posts out there in blog land that talk about selecting the perfect range.  We want to share our short list of range options to get your feedback, especially if you have first hand experience with one of the brands or models shown.
For the range we are obviously looking for a French inspired design. More importantly, however, is that we get a quality range for the money.
48" Dual Fuel ILVE Majestic
This is an amazing range from Ilve.  It sports three cook top options, which can include a 5-7 burners, a cook top griddle, or a Coup de Feu.  It also comes in seven great colors.
Source and visit Ilve Appliances.
 La Cornue
La Cornue has nearly endless configuration options for their ranges.
 Visit La Cornue

43" La Cornue CornuFe
This unit is the current leader in our search for a quality French inspired range. It has a standard configuration of:
(3) 12,000 BTU Burners
(1) 17,000 BTU Burner
(1) Simmer Burner from 600 - 6,000 BTU
(2) Side-by-Side Electric Convection Ovens
Source  Williams-Sonoma

43" La Cornue CornuFe - Continued
The CornueFe comes in a variety of colors.  Here our favorite, Provence Blue, is shown.
Source Williams-Sonoma


Much like La Cornue, Lacanche offers a number of configuration options.  Visit their website below to see some of the models available.  The "Sully" (shown) is in the running also.

Source and visit Lacanche here.

Another beautiful Lacanche Sully in black.
Source and visit Lacanche here.

Just for fun, here are some of the refrigeration options we are considering.  We also plan to utilize refrigeration drawers in the island across from the range.

36" Sub Zero Built-In Refrigerator with Glass Door
This is the current leader for our refrigerator selection.  Love seeing everything through the glass.  Maybe this will make us keep the refrigerator clean at all times!
Source Sub-Zero
48" Sub Zero Built-In Refrigerator with Glass Door
This is simply an amazing refrigerator.  There is nothing else to say.  I would be happy to have this unit sit in our kitchen.  Unfortunately I am forced to answer one of the questions mentioned above; How much do you want to spend?
Sub Zero

So these are some appliances we are considering.  Please let us know what you think, if you have used them before, or if you can suggest other options.

We have also visited the Bentwood Kitchen showroom in Chicago and will be sharing our experience and some samples in a future post.

Have a great day!

-Tonya and Rob