The serenity of this living room arises from the simple clarity of the fireplace design. The front is divided into four distinct rectangular segments: the slate hearth, which is flush with the floor; the fireplace opening; the wood-storage box that is built into the wall; and the projecting fir mantel above that caps the composition.
DESIGN: Becca Cavell, architect, and Joe Schneider, Portland (503/248-0162)
Architect Mark Horton used a 15-inch-deep, boxlike steel surround to give a small fireplace ― which seemed undersized relative to the room it was in ― a larger presence. He shifted the surround to one side to make the fireplace appear more centered in the room. The simple, clean-lined structure, which integrates the hearth and mantel, is made of bead-blasted stainless steel with a waxed finish.
DESIGN: Mark Horton/Architecture, San Francisco (415/543-3347)