Propane- and gas-fueled fireplaces have a reputation for cleanliness and ease of use, operating at the flick of a switch, with no messy preparation or cleanup needed. But as Mary Salmonsen illustrates in Builder, gas fireplaces also offer more versatility in terms of design. “Glass-enclosed fire inserts can be placed almost anywhere in the home, and modern venting technologies allow users to direct heat away from the front of the feature,” Salmonsen writes. “And new experiments are already breaking the contemporary style mold, from five-foot walls of flame to fire pits in the center of waterfalls. (Conversely, for those who want a traditional style without the required maintenance, a log set and a brick or stone front can emulate the look and feel of a wood fireplace.)”

The Phoenix TrueView pictured above, for instance, offers the ambiance of a traditional open-front fireplace with the convenience, design flexibility, and easy installation of gas models, according to manufacturer Heat & Glo. Rather than a generic gas log set, the Phoenix fireplace provides the look and feel of a large traditional fireplace without the glass for the best view of the ultra-realistic logs, flames, and glowing ember bed. Plus, it offers the same clearances as a gas fireplace and horizontal venting, allowing for a quicker, easier install than wood fireplaces — saving time and money.

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