New York City Mayor Proposes Ban On New Wood Burning Fireplaces


(Note: Fireplace glass doors should always remain open while the fire is burning.)








The mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, says he wants to cut down on air pollution by placing a ban on all new wood burning fireplaces, according to the Washington Post.  The mayor wants new fireplaces to use alternative methods of fuel such as natural gas which would not emit as many pollutants into the air as burning real wood .

“This city has a legacy of leading the nation when it comes to protecting the health and safety of our environment”, Mayor de Blasio stated on Earth Day in April.  “Today’s reforms – the biggest in a generation-will make a fundamental difference for thousands of New Yorkers  living with asthma and pave the way for other cities around the nation to follow suit,” he said.

New York City dwellers love the look and feel of a wood burning fireplace in their apartments.  Despite the hassle of bringing home real wood, the ambiance of a fireplace is definitely a plus when friends gather for a glass of wine or a couple snuggles up for a romantic evening.  Now fireplace lovers are required to burn logs with less than 20% moisture since they give off less smoke.

There are about 3,300 wood burning fireplaces in New York.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency figures, each wood burning fireplace gives off 6,200 grams of “particulate matter” each year.   These small particles can cause problems for people with heart and respiratory illnesses.

Many residents burn the wood just for pleasure, not as their main heat source so there is sometimes a little guilt associated with their wood burning and potential harm to the environment.  But one resident says that he always burns Duraflame logs since they burn faster and with less smoke.

The new regulations will not apply to restored fireplaces.  In older apartments, a wood burning fireplace is still a coveted asset among real estate agents and apartment hunters.


Why Choose Vented or Vent Free Gas Logs Instead Of Real Wood?

Royal Oak Vented GL

Royal Oak Vented Gas Logs









Almost everyone loves the sound of the crackle and pop of a wood burning fire in the fireplace but due to new environmental regulations in some areas,  fireplace lovers are in search of realistic looking gas logs to take the place of the wood they have always burned.

Gas logs provide ambiance without the maintenance  and hassle associated with burning real wood.  No messy ashes to clean up, no wood to chop, and more heat in your room are some of the benefits to enjoy when you switch from real wood to gas logs.

When you’re shopping for gas logs, you’ll need to choose between vented or vent free. There are several factors to consider including  looks, efficiency, local building codes, and fireplace placement.

Vented logs look similar to a real wood burning fire.  These logs require an open chimney flue or damper.  They look great but some of the heat they generate can go up the chimney.

Vent free logs can be burned with a closed chimney flue.  They do not give the same realistic appearance of a roaring fire that vented logs have, but the heat they generate stays in your home instead of going up the chimney.  These type logs are not to be used in bedrooms, bathrooms, or recreational vehicles and must be installed in areas where curtains, clothing, or furniture are at least 3 feet away from the fireplace.  Vent -free logs are not recommended for drafty or high-traffic areas.

Be sure to check with your local and state codes before installing a vented or vent free gas logs system.  In some areas vent free log systems are not permitted.

There are two types of gas logs:  Liquid Propane (LP) and Natural Gas.  LP gas burns about three times hotter than natural gas since it contains more carbon.  If you choose this type, you will need to have a LP gas tank installed at your home and find a dealer to have the gas tank filled.

Natural gas does not burn as hot as LP but it costs less.  These type logs must be hard-piped to an appliance from buried gas service lines.  If you home already has a natural gas water heater, clothes dryer, or oven, you are already set up for natural gas logs.  If natural gas is not available in the area where you live, you will need to choose LP logs.

Remember these safety tips for operating your fireplace:

-Dispose of all ashes from a wood-burning fire in a metal container

-Install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in your home

-Never use gasoline or charcoal lighter fluid to start a fire

-Keep flammable objects at least 3 feet from the fireplace and keep a fire extinguisher handy.


Summer Fireplace Decorating: Stack Books in the Firebox For A Creative Display

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Inspiring summer fireplace decorating – check out these ideas for stack books in the firebox and easily achieve this creative display!





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5 Quick Ways To Add Curb Appeal To Your Home

We know how important it is to make a first impression when we meet someone for the first time.  The same idea applies to the outside of our homes.  Adding some curb appeal is an easy way to make a great first impression when guests arrive before they even walk through the front door.


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Speaking of the front door, that’s a great place to start.  Look at your existing front door and decide if it’s in pretty good shape.  If it is, you can paint it a color that will blend in with your trim or shutters.  If you want to help your front door stand out, paint it with an accent color. If you want a new door, there are custom wood doors that can be stained or painted. Some have glass panes across the top that let light in your entryway. Replace the hardware on your door.  Brass or oil-rubbed bronze are popular choices for traditional houses and brushed nickel for contemporary homes.  House numbers, kick plates, door knobs, knockers and locks should all be the same metal to create a uniform appearance. If you like the hardware you have, use a little metal polish to brighten it up.  Hang a natural wreath or swag for a finishing touch.

Some older homes have outdated brick.  Painting the brick is a great way to make the home look fresh and new.  Painting techniques range from whitewashing to just painting right over the brick.  A third choice is to paint the brick with Brick-Anew, a system that gives the look of real brick, not solid colored, painted brick.  If you have a large home with a lot of brick, painting over the brick is the least expensive and easiest way to cover it.  If you have a few hundred square feet, Brick-Anew works wonders.

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Lighting adds instant curb appeal.  Matching sconces on either side of the front door direct guests to the entry of your home.  Make sure you choose lighting that matches the metal accessories on your front door.  Light your walkway with either solar lights or electric. Solar lights are easy to install but may not be as bright as electric ones.

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Flowers and shrubs make a beautiful statement in your front yard.  Trim older shrubs so they don’t cover up the front door.  The idea is to keep trees and shrubs trimmed  and cut back so your home won’t look dated but fresh cared for. Flowers can be planted in window boxes, containers or in beds.  Decide on a color scheme of two or three colors when planting flowers to create a look that’s easy on the eye.  If you use several containers, arrange them in a staggered or asymmetrical pattern.  If you want a symmetrical look, place matching pots on each side of the front door.

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Last but not least is the mailbox.  If you have a wood post, paint or stain it to match your home’s exterior.  Make sure the house numbers are clear and easy to read. The post might need replacing if the wood has rotted or been damaged.  Planting a bed of flowers around the mailbox is a great way to add a pop of color at the end of the driveway.

Sometimes It’s Really OK To Paint Brick


Designer Laura Putnam tells the story about how she made a sad room happy on her blog, “Finding Home”.  She was working with a client who had an older home with all the 80’s decor you can imagine…plaid couch, textured wallpaper, oak cabinets, and worst of all a big old dark red brick fireplace that seemed to suck the air out of the room.

Laura got to work having the trim painted, replacing the carpet with new hardwood floors, and knocking out a wall that divided the living room and kitchen.  Then she purchased new furniture in a light, soothing tone with accessories to compliment the lighter look.  But with all that done, she knew the room just didn’t feel right.  Yet.  The dark brick fireplace was begging for a makeover.

She pitched the idea of painting the fireplace to her client, promising to make the brick a lighter color while keeping the “real brick” look.  Her client finally agreed as long as the project  wasn’t too expensive to do.  Laura ordered the Brick-Anew do-it-yourself paint kit and got to work.  The results?  Well, they speak for themselves.

A light, bright happy room and a satisfied client.

The Brick-Anew kit had everything Laura needed…a tool kit including a sponge, brushes, rollers, and a paint tray.  She listened to her favorite tunes while she followed the easy, step by step DVD instructions to apply the 5 shades of paint to lighten up the brick and get a real brick, not painted, look.  The difference in her fireplace is amazing!

So the moral of the story is that painting brick really is OK sometimes.  If tired, outdated brick is ruining the look of your room, give it a fresh, new look with Brick-Anew…

And be sure to check out Laura’s blog “Finding Home”  to see all her creative decorating and DIY ideas!


What To Do With An Empty Firebox During the Summer – Three Ideas To Make It Beautiful

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Photo by

If your firebox is the focal point of your fireplace and your fireplace is the focal point of your living room, what do you do with that  big, empty space during the summer months when you’re not burning a fire?

First, make sure your firebox is clean.  Use a shop vac to clean up all old soot and ashes.  Once all the dust, dirt, and ashes are gone, get a brick and mortar cleaner and some soap and water.  Use a brush to scrub the floor and walls of the firebox.  If there is a metal grate, scrub it as well.  Then use a high temperature paint to paint the firebox either black or off-white.

Once you have a clean space, then you have to decide whether you’re going to use your firebox for burning a fire or not.  If so, paint your grate with some the high temperature black paint.  Then, decide on whether you want to burn gas logs or real wood. There are so many options for beautiful, realistic-looking gas logs.

ADD FEW PIECES OF REAL WOOD – If you love real wood, stack some wood in the firebox through the summer months to create a lovely look.  You might want to bleach the wood to get rid of any insects that might be living in it.  Decorative white birch logs are available to purchase online.  These logs have been cut and dried and add natural beauty and charm.

CREATE THE ILLUSION OF STACKED WOOD  – If you don’t use your firebox, here’s a great idea:  Fill it with wood. (Or at least make it look like you did!)  It’s not as hard as you think.  Virginia, from shared her idea on her do- it -yourself  blog.  Then she shows how to cut wood pieces and attach them to a board that fits inside the firebox.  The result is an illusion of stacked wood that looks amazing!

DISPLAY A BEAUTIFUL FERN – Another idea is to put a large fern in the firebox to add a fresh touch.  The size of the fern you choose is important.  It should fill the firebox but not be too big or too small.  Place the fern in a decorative pot and you’ve got a beautiful focal point in an instant.

Beautiful Spring Mantel 2014 by My Blessed Life

Photo by My Blessed Life

Photo by My Blessed Life

March 10, 2014 By  from My Blessed Life

Good morning, lovely people!! I’m so excited to share my bright and happy Spring Mantel with you today. I’ve been needing to do a little “creating”, so putting the mantel decor together was the perfect outlet.

The weather here in north Alabama has been so beautiful with highs near 70 degrees the past few days. Having the windows open with spring breezes blowing through the house is so good for my soul. This year’s Spring Mantel decor is simple and unpretentious…just the way I like it!

SO pretty, right? I love all the different textures and happy colors!

Wait until you see the rest of the Spring Mantel by Myra! HERE.