When providing design services for clients with older homes, interior designers are presented with a variety of unique opportunities and challenges. Unlike new homes, many older homes have era-specific architectural features that offer a unique, creative foundation for expanding upon. At the same time, challenges are also inherent when updating older homes, such as limited space and declining structures. However, there’s one relatively inexpensive and very practical upgrade that lends itself perfectly to the majority of older homes with aged, drafty, wood-burning fireplaces: gas fireplace inserts.

Designers like Samantha Friedman know this and frequently incorporate gas fireplace insert upgrades into remodels of older homes. Friedman, who owns East Coast-based Samantha Friedman Interior Designs, LLC, has a philosophy of creating beautiful designs for clients that are livable and comfortable. She places priority on creating functional designs that address the specific needs and desires of the homeowner.

Dupont Circle
Friedman recently completed a redesign of a 100-year old home in Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C. Comfort and function were primary concerns for the client, who hired Friedman to remodel almost every room in the house.

While the client was open to new ideas and willing to venture outside their comfort zone from a style perspective, retaining the integrity of the 100-year old house weighed heavily on the project. This required carefully balancing the historical character of the house while making significant functional and aesthetic updates to key spaces. “Space planning and layouts for the house were very important, as the rooms were odd sizes,” said Friedman.

From Obstacle to Opportunity
One of the biggest obstacles to address for Friedman was in a bathroom, which was a key space in the home. Right in the middle of the bathroom was an original, masonry wood-burning fireplace. Anchored directly in front of the bathtub, the fireplace was tired, drafty and unattractive.

The solution? Friedman arranged a complete facelift with a Heat & Glo COSMO gas fireplace insert. She chose this particular model for its unmistakable modern design and customizable options. She selected the Halo front in fog and crushed glass for the interior fire bed – a fine choice for a project merging traditional and modern design.

“We never would have been able to make the tub the central focus of the space, located where it is,” said Friedman. “This allowed me to make the fire stack a focal point.”

When asked where she drew design inspiration for incorporating a fireplace insert, Friedman said, “Men’s fashion. By using the gas insert, we made the space both functional and beautiful.”

Every home is different and Samantha Friedman aims to bring out unique personalities through layered colors and textures, while blending current styles with traditional elements. Visit her on her website, Houzz, and Pinterest.