conley6.gif (2529 bytes)


The Hypnotic Effect

Photos By Doug Edmunds

December 2015

Forston Construction in Sussex custom built this masonry fireplace in Chenequa. A large piece of limestone was used for the hearth, and custom-cut limestone on the fireplace veneer from the mantel down was by Halquist Stone. Forston Construction hand cut the limestone from the mantel up on the veneer to the ceiling. A dry-laid appearance was used, eliminating the mortar from being seen.

Come gather around the fireplace.

"Have you ever sat in front of a fire in the morning on a cold winter day?" asked Dennis Forston, owner of Forston Construction in Sussex. His company has rebuilt and reconditioned fireplaces since 1983. "Itís hard to put into words. Itís the feeling of home and hearth. The act of starting the fire and seeing it flourish, and you stare into it ó it has a hypnotic effect."

Forston and other contractors, including Jim Boelter, co-owner of The Fireplace Ltd., in Milwaukee since 1970, and Craig Podlesnik, owner of Stone Craft Studios in Wauwatosa, emphasize technology and imagination that enhance a fireplaceís focal point attraction for any room.

Zero clearance fire boxes using natural gas instead of wood ease making and managing a fire. That formal living room fireplace now adorns informal family and great rooms, lower levels, master bedrooms and outdoor patios.

Popular elements include flat-screen televisions hung above the mantel, pattern-enhancing stone veneers, fireproof concrete mantels that look like rustic barn wood, crystals and other media replacing logs and hearth benches framed by adjoining cabinetry.

Itís clear the fireplace has changed. "People are looking for a modern, more contemporary styling," Boelter says. "The younger crowd doesnít want what their grandparents had," adds Podlesnik. M



This story ran in the December 2015 issue of: