No longer just a gathering place at the center of a room, the traditional fireplace is being transformed into a functional, often eye-popping work of art. Some are even priced as if they belong in a gallery. For example, New York designer Samuel Botero (botero.com
) envisioned a
Limited-edition Swarovski fireplace
swath of fabric gingerly draped around a hearth for the family room of a Manhattan town house before hiring master craftsman Gregory Miller to sculpt his vision out of Carrara marble (pictured above). Botero says a similar design will set you back about $60,000. Napoleon (napoleonfireplaces.com
), the Canadian fireplace maker, adds a touch of sparkle to its newest designs. The limited-edition Swarovski fireplace, $13,000, actually comes embedded with precision-cut Swarovski crystals. No less dramatic is Zeta’s free-standing EcoSmart fire (ecosmartfire.com
). The $10,900 elliptical-shaped hearth, made from a combination of leather, timber, and stainless steel, is a testament to 21st-century modern design.