There was a time when luxury living meant bringing the fire indoors, to a cave with a natural chimney. Fire cooked the food, brought light and warmth into the home—and it kept away the predators. Since the advent of lintel, post and roof, the fireplace has evolved into a highly decorative and symbolic architectural form that has warmed ancient castles, royal palaces, and stately homes. With the coming of eco-friendly and cutting-edge technology, today’s fireplaces blend artistry and innovation. Whatever its style, be it an intricate stone-carved gothic masterpiece or a high-tech showpiece with clean, bio-fueled flames, a fireplace brings comfort and grandeur to any hearth and home. Here are seven homes with fireplaces to warm the body and soul.
Prague, Czech RepublicVilla Hanspaulka, a contemporary villa in the upscale Prague neighborhood of Dejvice, offers nearly 16,000 square feet of living space across five levels. The central living area is anchored by an Italian travertine fireplace, and features a kitchen and dining area enveloped by walls of glass. Fireplaces grace the main terrace and roof deck, which are served by a catering kitchen and two elevators. The private quarters comprise a master bedroom, four additional family/guest bedrooms, and staff quarters. Other outstanding features include a recreation floor with an indoor pool, sauna, gym, cinema, and wine cellar. The grounds include a seven-car garage and serene, parklike gardens.
The Stanley House
Los Angeles, California
A mid-century masterpiece with a 21st-century soul, the Stanley House is perched above the neon glow of Hollywood’s luminary Sunset Strip, with 270-degree views of the City of Angels. The swan song of celebrated architect Austin Kelly, founder of XTEN Architecture, it has interiors by rock star Lenny Kravitz’s firm, Kravitz Design, and art installations by RETNA. The luxurious living spaces extend over three levels with five bedrooms and seven bathrooms. The multi-room master suite has a raised bio-fuel fireplace and jetliner views of the city. Other stellar features include a nightclub—“disco Volante”—on the lower level and a spectacular pool terrace with a circular glass pool and stone fire pit above the glittering city below.
Contemporary Ski Retreat
This contemporary Alpine chalet In the exclusive ski resort of Verbier, Switzerland, features four luxurious levels framed by views of the Grand Combin massif. The main floor is a vast open-plan living area framed by a central fireplace, which flows out to a covered terrace with a barbecue area and cedarwood hot tub. The top floor belongs to the master suite, with its glass fireplace, spa bathroom with a therapeutic bathtub, Italian shower, and a secluded private deck. Four more bedrooms, each with its own bathroom or shower, face south onto the garden. After a day on the slopes, residents can retire to the lower-level recreation floor, featuring a cinema, bar, wine cellar, ski-boot warming area, and a wellness center with a hammam, sauna, massage room, gym, and chlorine-free lap pool.
Casa de los Leones
San Miguel de Allende, MexicoCasa de los Leones, or house of the lions, is a beautiful hacienda in the colonial-era city of San Miguel de Allende. Its cayenne stucco walls conceal eight bedrooms, eight bathrooms—and seven fireplaces. Updated living spaces offer contemporary finishes and baroque details: The great room’s carved cantera stone fireplace faces informal window seats and an arched cut-out to the dining room, all overlooking a wide terrace with sweeping city views. The sunroom has a wall of windows and built-in seating. The master suite has its own fireplace, adjoining his-and-her bathrooms, an office with fireplace, and French doors to a private patio with fountain and hearth. The lush grounds are a private oasis with a circular pool, lounge area, and adjoining pool house.
The courtyard fireplace and custom-tiled fountain of this private, gated contemporary hacienda in Phoenix are among the surprisingly elegant and intimate features to counter the heat of the day and embrace the warmth of the night. High-end distinctive designer touches include soaring beamed ceilings, an automated, 20-foot radius window wall, an interior stone slab water feature, hand-carved cabinetry, interior doors and built-ins, custom designed lighting fixtures and cabinet hardware. There is also a 1000-bottle wine cellar, gourmet kitchen, indoor/outdoor wet bar, and a Lutron lighting system with Savant master control. Separate guest quarters with living area, and full guest casita. Inviting outdoor courtyards include a Zen garden, fireplaces, and infinity pool.
Big Sky Country Estate
Spartanburg, South CarolinaBuilt in 1925, Greylogs Estate was designed to emulate the grandeur of Grove Park Inn in nearby Asheville, South Carolina. A rambling country house, it proffers fine architectural details: as intricate roof lines, fine interior woodwork, and massive granite fireplaces. The appointments include five bedrooms, four bathrooms, a formal dining room, and office. The palatial living room is designed around a central hearth and adjoins an expansive screened porch leading to a large dining terrace. The lower level houses a garage and workshop; wine cellar; a vintage, 1960s fallout shelter; and space for a “rec room.” The main residence is complemented by a two-bedroom guest house, formal gardens with a one-acre pond, a tennis court, pastures and a three-stall horse barn.