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OFF THE GRID HEAT, BY MIKE FOURNIER, TULSA

Most of us are well aware of how dependent on technology we've become. While a power outage 50 years ago might have meant a night of board games and candles, a modern blackout can truly be a life or death situation. Because of this, the idea of having a home that can function independently is very appealing. Just how appealing is getting off the grid?


FIREPLACE SURROUND, BY MIKE FOURNIER, TULSA

So much attention is given to the fireplace when selecting fireplace design that often the fireplace surround is forgotten and neglected. It's an understandable phenomenon. Should you choose a masonry fireplace or a ventless model? Do you want wood burning or natural gas? These are all certainly important decisions to make, but the part of your fireplace that is going to get noticed more than anything else isn't the color of the flame burning behind the glass, it's going to be the surround itself.


WHAT HAPPENED TO THE DEN?, BY MIKE FOURNIER, TULSA

Whatever happened to the den? That secluded, often shut off room where one could go to relax after a hard day, or perhaps utilize when work needed to be done without interruption where did it go? Many would say that it's still there only with a different name, like office or living room.


HEATILATOR FIREPLACES, BY MIKE FOURNIER, TULSA

Since the beginning of human history, home and comfort has meant the warmth of a roaring fire. Here in the 21st Century, heatilator fireplaces are a great way for practical-minded consumers to bring that warmth into their homes. Heatilator is a brand name (and the household name) for what can be more generically called a heat-circulating fireplace. Heatilator fireplaces work by circulating air around a firebox and back into the room, so that the warmth of the fire will be dispersed throughout the home. Heatilator fireplaces come in three main types:


BRICK FIREPLACES: THE KING OF FIREPLACES, BY MIKE FOURNIER, TULSA

Everyone enjoys the snap, crackle, and pop of a fire, especially on those cold winter evenings. They emanate romance, ambience, and, of course, warmth. But though there are lots of modern designs with elegant construction, nothing beats the rustic look of a brick fireplace. Not only does their handmade appearance recreate a touch of the past, it also gives a room a sense of scale. Today, hearths are often built into a corner or blend in with the wall and its surroundings, but the boldness of brick can help accent a room and become a beautiful fixture in itself. So if you're in the market for a new installation or simply want to remodel what you already own, here are a few tips about brick.


VENT FREE GAS FIREPLACES, BY MIKE FOURNIER, TULSA

If you've looked into vent-free fireplaces at all, you've probably discovered there are quite a few differing opinions on the safety of installing one in your home. The basic concept of a vent-free fireplace is easy enough to understand. By burning gas instead of wood, you can create a "smokeless" heat that doesn't require ventilation and allows all the heat created by the fire to stay in your home. Of course, it's not exactly that simple. By-products are still created when burning gas in your home, including carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, among others. These gases get pushed into your home along with the heat, which can create a dangerous situation if not carefully monitored.


WOOD BURNING STOVES, BY MIKE FOURNIER, TULSA

Traditional fireplaces are wonderful because unlike other heating systems, you're able to add a little romantic ambiance to your home. Since you're able to actually see the flames, a hearth creates a natural, cozy feel to any room, which can create a sense of warmth beyond the fire itself. The problem with a fireplace is that they are expensive, take up lots of room, and are often centered around looking nice instead of supplying efficient heat.


FIREPLACE REMODEL, BY MIKE FOURNIER, TULSA

Bathroom and kitchen remodels are great, but they can also be incredibly expensive. There's a ton of ways to improve your home. One way to do this that doesn't require a second mortgage on your home is a fireplace remodel. The fireplace is one of the coziest, visible, and practical areas of your home. A fireplace remodel is great to vamp up your old fireplace that may be serving you well functionally, but good do so much more with a manageable investment of time and money. There's also more than one way to remodel a fireplace, and by considering the current condition of your fireplace and its use, you'll be able to determine what your fireplace really needs.


OFFICE AT HOME, BY MIKE FOURNIER, TULSA

These days, more and more people are taking the bold step of doing at least part of their job at home. A 30-second commute has a lot of appeal, but increasingly, people are opting to work at home in order to create a more humane schedule that allows for more flexibility to attend to family joys and responsibilities. As anyone who has been down this road can tell you, however, working at home has its down side as well. By planning wisely and upgrading appropriately, you can make your home office an excellent work environment where you will be comfortable as well as motivated.


CONTRACTS, BY MIKE FOURNIER, TULSA

A contract is a legally binding document that details the expectations and responsibilities of all parties involved in a home improvement project. It clarifies the goals of both homeowner and contractor, and it protects each party's rights regarding the project.

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