A fireplace is romantic. It’s soft. It casts a gentle light and makes everything rosy and cozy.

It’s also a practical, simple, and cost-effective part of a home. So it’s probably not surprising that it can be a satisfying and sensible part of any renovation.

If you are planning on a large renovation, this might be the ideal time to consider the addition of a fireplace.

Your fireplace might be new, or it might already exist, waiting to be a restored old-fashioned beauty. It can be warm and rustic or brilliantly modern. It can be a rectangular shape in the middle of a wall. Whatever it is, it can be, in its construction and function, air-tight and efficient. An old fireplace can be fitted with an insert (along with a new liner in the chimney) so it warms you up with the same efficiency and safety as a fireplace that was built to today’s standards.

You can choose to have a wood-burning fireplace, or, depending on where you live, you can opt for a gas fireplace. Some modern fireplaces have inserts that burn wood, natural gas, or propane.

Before those new walls go in, that’s the time to put in a fireplace. You can put it where you want, and in a style to match the room or area. Your professional renovator will tell you what sort of fireplace you can have and where, based on structural considerations. The time to ask is at the beginning – in the planning stages.

And when those cold winds blow, and the light in the sky dims so early in the day, you’ll probably be glad you did.

Ottawa Renovates editor Francie Healey wrote this story for the Greater Ottawa Home  Builders’ Association Renomark Renovators’ Blog.