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Shambala living room with statement piece floor-to-ceiling fireplace design

Eye-Catching, Cozy Fireplace Designs to Inspire

Autumn has definitely asserted its presence, especially up here in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

And with it comes vibrant aspen tree colors, snow kissing the tops of the peaks, and chilly evenings and mornings. With those chilly days, we’re spending more time indoors and more time near our fireplaces. So why not focus on fireplace designs that are awe-inspiring and functional? They will make you want to cozy up next to them all winter long!

Shambala living room with statement piece floor-to-ceiling fireplace design with a landscape unit and textured tile wall

For any homeowner, a fireplace can certainly be a statement piece within the home. But for the homeowner that resides in the mountains, the fireplace is not only a statement piece. It also is, most likely, a heavily used and practical fixture within the home. Our owner and lead designer, Kasia Karska, is always very intentional about incorporating a stunning, show-stopper fireplace design into each and every one of her living room designs. Yet, she is also intentional in her unit selection. This ensures that not only is the fireplace unit itself visually appealing, it also gives off great heat and truly warms up a room on a chilly winter’s night. After all, when you live in the mountains you don’t just want a beautiful fireplace. You want a functional one, too. 

These days there are so many incredible fireplace units available. That makes it really exciting to create an eye-catching, show-stopper fireplace design. Typically with our fireplace designs at Kasia Karska Design, we choose to create a visually stunning, floor-to-ceiling display that becomes the focal point of the living room. With so many units available, more numerous design options unfold. You can go with a traditionally-sized, square-shaped unit. However, landscape units have become increasingly popular over the years, as well. Both work really well—it just depends on what your design goals are with your home, along with any personal preferences. It will also depend on the space and where the fireplace unit is destined to live. If you are building a new home, the sky’s the limit. However, if you are remodeling, the fireplace unit may have to be decided based upon certain, all-ready-existing parameters.  

A few of Kasia’s favorite unit options are:

1) An enclosed unit with a single pane of glass, built into the wall:

Mountain retreat home with inviting living room and floor-to-ceiling porcelain tiled fireplace with landscape unit.

2) A two-sided unit, where you can see through the glass to the other side of the room:

Steel and stone combo two-sided fireplace.

3) And, a three-sided unit where there are glass panes on three of the sides. This makes it feel like the fireplace is floating within the confines of its space and is very aesthetically appealing:

BJD custom home living room with floor-to-ceiling, 3-sided fireplace with grey porcelain tiles.

Again, there is no right or wrong selection here. Rather, it is all about the space in which the fireplace unit is going in order to determine which one is the best selection for your design. Your personal preference plays a role in the selection, as well.     

As far as materials go, Kasia’s favorite material selections are: tile (usually porcelain), stone (oftentimes basalt), and strips of steel. Or you can even be playful with a combination. An example is this stone and steel fireplace from our Leo’s Crossing custom home design-build project:

Leo's crossing custom home project dining room view with floor-to-ceiling stone and steel strips fireplace.

And, of course, once you have your fireplace design realized and installed, in order to make the space truly cozy, you’ll want to be intentional about your layout and how you design around the statement piece fireplace. Kasia loves using inviting and interesting fabrics for the upholstery on the chairs and sofas in the living room space. She also recommends having soft blankets nearby for those chilly winter evenings. And certainly don’t forget throw pillows! They can help to both tie together the various colors and designs within the room. And, they also add another cozy element to the space.

So whether you’re in the process of building, remodeling, or just dreaming of your next space in the mountains, don’t forget that there are so many incredible fireplace designs out there to inspire you. They can add a visually stunning element to your home and also keep you warm on those long, chilly nights throughout winter in the Rockies.

East Vail - floor-to-ceiling fireplace design with modern landscape unit and inviting sofa with colorful pillows


Kasia is a wealth of knowledge. She has designed and built a multitude of homes over the years, as well as has been involved in the remodel and interior design of countless other projects across the globe. Kasia will have sound advice and a creative vision that will take your home to the next level. 

She is passionate about creating a home that is welcoming, warm, inviting, and calming. And, above all, she is very intentional in ensuring that each space she is involved with truly speaks to the owners who inhabit it. After all, we as people are all different. We have our own preferences and a unique set of elements that can be used to create our own personalized sanctuary. Kasia will discover exactly what those elements are for each and every one of her clients and then incorporate them into the design and end result of the project.

To learn more about us, visit our “About” page and to see examples of KKD’s work, visit our “Portfolio” page. Kasia Karska Design is a boutique design + build firm located in the Vail Valley, Colorado. We focus on the design and build of unique environments for infinite potential, tranquility, and inspiration.

“Your Life… Your Space… Your Sanctuary.”

All the beautiful photography by: Brent Bingham Photography