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Fireplace or Square Footage: A Homeowner’s Dilemma

I recently wrote an article about fireplaces, but something a client said during a recent purchase reminded me of another consideration when living with a fireplace. This particular house had a direct vent gas fireplace that was built into a 4’ high stub wall that created a separation between the living room and the dining area. My client, the buyer, commented how she would rather have the square footage than the fireplace.  She had a point, because this arrangement probably used up about 32 square foot of floor space, even though it did serve the purpose it was intended for.

 

In last week’s poll, when we asked our readers if they preferred a fireplace or the square footage, an overwhelming number of them said they would like to have the fireplace. That is why the average fireplace brings about $2,500 of value to the home in an appraisal. 

 

The wood burning fireplace in the last house Kristy and I lived in was huge. It was on an interior wall that separated the family room from the living room. It was built with real brick with a brick hearth and a beautiful wood mantle. Fortunately, the rooms were very large, so we didn’t miss the space it took up, but it probably used close to 40 square feet of floor space. Since it burned wood, we were constantly carrying wood through the house and had ashes to deal with, both causing a mess.

 

If the fireplace is on an exterior wall, it can be designed so that there is a bump out on the exterior of the house to house the fire box so that the front of the fireplace is flush with the interior wall. That allows you to enjoy the fireplace as well as the floorspace. Electric fireplaces have become very popular, because they have so many benefits, including:

 

  • They can be installed nearly anywhere.
  • They are very safe, and there is no mess.
  • The simulated flames are realistic looking and fully adjustable.
  • They can be connected to WiFi and controlled remotely.
  • They can be run on flame only for ambience in the warmer months, or the heat can be turned on when it is cold outside.
  • They hardly take up any space.
  • Some are designed to fit into the space of a wood or gas fireplace.

 

I hope this helps when shopping for your next home!

 

Norwalk IA Real Estate – Jon Niemeyer, Broker/Owner/REALTOR® at EXIT Realty North Star. I list and sell real estate in Central Iowa including Norwalk, Des Moines, West Des Moines, Cumming, Indianola, Carlisle, Waukee, Urbandale, Grimes, Clive, Johnston, Ankeny, Altoona, and Pleasant Hill in the Counties of Warren, Polk, Dallas, and Madison. Call Jon Niemeyer at515-490-4675.

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