Beach House Fireplace – Custom Case Study

VGF has designed and installed many custom projects over the years, indoor, outdoor, large, and small. Here you’ll find a collection a few favourite projects, some straight-forward, some filled with challenges, and others that are just plain ‘ole fun. We put them together to form the Vancouver Gas Fireplaces Custom Case Studies.


Several years ago, the Vancouver Gas Fireplaces (VGF) custom team had the privilege of working on a project conceived by Arthur Erickson for a beach house in West Vancouver, B.C. The interior design for the project was the innovation of Mitchell Freedland Design.

The vision for this design called for a see-through fireplace 48” wide by 28” high and 20” deep. The interior design for this fire feature project was very clean with all-white finishes in a 1960s-inspired retro style.

The Beach House building was designed to be built into a hill overlooking the ocean. By doing this, it did not detract from the beauty of the surroundings including the roof’s continuation to the sloping lawn. The only telltale signs of the fire feature from the exterior of the building were the vents from the fireplace and other mechanical equipment that came through the lawn.

The client requested that the fire-feature burner be traditional in style with logs, so the VGF custom team designed a sand pan burner system to suit the size and depth of the opening. The pan was approximately two inches deep with an H-shaped burner built into it which released the gas into the sand, dispersing the gas and then com-busting on the surface of the sand resulting in a pleasing random flame pattern up through the log stack.

Vermiculite and rock wool were then placed on the sand around the logs, which provided a glowing ember effect when the fireplace was on. The venting for the fireplace went through the ceiling and the “green” roof and had a vent top power draft inducer with a speed control. This enabled the VGF custom team to ensure positive venting and balance the system in tandem with an exterior source for fresh air make-up.

Despite the decorative nature of the fireplace, the client was concerned about capturing extra heat from the fireplace beyond the radiant heat that came through the ceramic glass panels. To achieve their request, the VGF custom team designed the fireplace – which already had a double-welded skin construction – with an extra outer-welded skin up each side and across the shoulders of the fireplace. By doing this, the fireplace acted as a kind of heat exchanger cavity to which we cleverly attached two vent runs terminating in kick space grills with fans installed behind them. In this way, we were able to make sure air was pulled through the body of the fireplace, scrubbing off heat and then distributing it out through the grills in the baseboards.

On this project, the VGF custom team was able to provide a unique setup meeting the criteria and very specific parameters required by the client. The team successfully achieved the intended design vision without compromise and with great satisfaction from all parties.


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Vancouver Gas Fireplaces’ custom fabrications and installations are designed and tested to exceed UL/ULC standards and associated sections pertaining to the harmonized North American Gas Code.
In British Columbia our custom projects are subject to an
independent preliminary review by the Equipment Approvals Manager of the Gas Safety Authority of British Columbia and a subsequent field review and inspection by Independent Arms Length Government Inspectors.
Our installations and fabrications outside of British Columbia have been independently tested and approved by ULC, Inreteck and other certified and recognized independent testing agencies through out North America as specifically required by local jurisdictions.