Design Thinking for the Real World – 2/2/12

My husband is a pretty big fan of sportswriter Peter King, and regularly reads his regular “Things I Think” on, typically covering various salient topics and situations in professional sports. He often reads aloud to me those “things” that he thinks will make me chuckle, or that involve my beloved Buffalo Bills – of course, these are usually not mutually exclusive. Peter King is the inspiration for this post, which I plan to continue as a series, though I’m certain that my writings will not be nearly as profound, nor prolific, as those of my muse.

So, here goes…the first edition of Design Thinking for the Real World.


Go for what you’ll actually use over what “looks best.”

The best way to illustrate this thought is through the example of fireplaces. There are those purists out there (many of whom I suspect reside here in New England) who wouldn’t dream of including a “fake” gas fireplace in their home – only real wood will burn in their respective hearths.  I know a few myself. In principle (and in practice), I certainly see the appeal; who doesn’t enjoy the warmth, light, and smoky aroma of crackling logs on a crisp, cold evening? But more often than not, the real wood fireplace goes unused. The barrier to using a gas (or electric) fireplace is so much lower – simply flip a switch and enjoy.

And you won’t have to sacrifice good looks for utility. Gas fireplaces have come a long way in both design, and log and flame “style.” The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association has some helpful information on selecting and installing gas fireplaces.

Here are just a few of my favorite designs and installations (all hotlinked to learn more).

And as a bonus – a link to a blog all about fireplace design!

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Kelly Rogers

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