English Inn – 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.



The English Inn in Victoria, an old tourist attraction was redesigned into a high-end boutique-style hotel, complete with a gourmet restaurant. As part of this renovation, VGF Custom Fireplaces was approached to design a fireplace for the restaurant lounge. The plan was to create an eight-foot long polished stainless steel finished unit that would mysteriously thrust out of a wood paneled wall with no visible means of support. This fireplace was to be both the signature piece and main focus for the room.

The original room had an old wood-burning fireplace, so to accommodate the new piece; the opening had to be enlarged to accept both a welded steel support frame, which was grouted into a cement base and a fabricated smoke chamber/draft hood. The smoke hood was tapered up to accept the 6″ stainless steel liner, which was installed to the top of the chimney with a powered draft inducer to ensure proper venting.

The support frame for the fireplace extends through the body of the fireplace from the support frame like an exoskeleton, allowing the fireplace to appear suspended in space. The body of the fireplace was constructed of two fully welded layers of steel, with a 2100-degree heat barrier blanket placed in between the layers and an air space. The complete fabricated body, support structure, and draft hood was delivered and installed in one piece, bolted down and fastened back to the wall behind.

Two sand pan-style burners have been placed into the body, providing a seamless bed of sand on which high temperature logs are placed. These logs can be replaced with lava rock, river rock, chains, ceramic objects, or any combination of non-combustible material. The burners are controlled with electronic ignition and fully interlocked with pre and post purge capabilities to the draft inducer. The draft inducer has a pressure switch, which ensures a positive draft before allowing the valves to engage.

The fireplace’s stainless steel finish is created by two fabricated sleeves slid over the body. The end result is an eye-catching combination of a warm fire contained within a stainless steel enclosure, pushing out of a rich wood paneled surface.

The confluence of three prime elements were behind the success of this project: Jeff Smith, the designer for the English Inn, approached VGF Custom Fireplaces to see if the fireplace was technically possible to do and how much it would cost, and the owner, appreciating the value of the visual impact and atmosphere that would be created, gave the green light to proceed. The concept designer, technical designer, and owner were all equally essential for this original custom fireplace to be created.

VGF Custom Fireplaces is involved with projects throughout North America. Due to geographical and jurisdictional restraints, VGF will often just technically design the fireplace, or design and provide some to all of the components, yet not necessarily do the installation. For the English Inn project, VGF Custom Fireplaces provided all the fireplace elements, conducted the full installation, and set up all the required services.

Thinking about a custom fireplace?

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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.