Sylvestre Construction, Inc.

In This Issue

•  Warm Up Next to a
   Cozy Fireplace

•  Maintenance Tip

•  Pass It On!

•  What’s the Story?

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Construction, Inc.

7708 5th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55423

Ph: 612-861-0188
Fx:  612-861-0190

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Member, National Association of the Remodeling Industry

GuildQuality Member

Member of Builders Association of the Twin Cities

Member of the National Kitchen and Bath Association


  Members of our staff hold
  the following industry

• NARI Master Certified
• NARI Certified Remodeler
• NARI Certified Lead
• NARI Certified Kitchen and
  Bath Remodeler
• NKBA Certified Kitchen
• NAHB Certified Aging in
  Place Specialist (CAPS)

February 2014

Warm Up Next to a Cozy Fireplace

Just thinking about sitting in front of a fireplace evokes feelings of warmth, comfort and family. Maybe that's why we love them so much. A fireplace serves as a focal point in a room, creating ambiance and providing a gathering point in the home when the weather is cold and snowy or rainy and raw. A fireplace is also considered a sought-after feature that adds to a home's value, and it's never been easier – or more energy-efficient – to have one. Let's look at some of the ways you can add a touch of old fashioned coziness with a dash of 21st century style and technology.

Fuel sources. You may think that there's nothing like a crackling wood fire for ambiance. But older wood stoves and fireplaces made before 1990 burn wood inefficiently which wastes firewood, compromises your indoor air quality and creates dust in your home.  They also suck the warm air out and send it up the chimney. Today's wood stoves and fireplace inserts that are certified by the EPA are smarter choices. They can reduce smoke and dust, as well as cut heating expenses. 

Gas stoves and gas fireplace inserts, whether using natural gas or propane, burn very cleanly, and are a popular low-maintenance alternative to wood. They can easily be turned on or off instantly and produce more natural color flames than the blue flame they had in the past.

Electric and ethanol fireplaces are the newest addition to the mix. They burn so cleanly they don't need a vent, flue or chimney. That means you can put one in almost any room of your home. You get the warm glow of fireplace flames with none of the ash or soot.

Think outside the box when considering where to put a fireplace. Use the fireplace as a double-sided room divider, open in 2 rooms. This is a popular option in a master bedroom and bathroom. If you select an electric fireplace, it can be on a table-top, totally open like a campfire, suspended from the ceiling, flat against a wall (like a painting) or even portable enough to go in any room of the house.

Pick Your Style. It doesn't have to be a traditional brick or wood-trimmed hearth with a mantel for family mementos. You can go clean, modern and sleek with a stainless steel, slate or glass mosaic tile surround. For a natural, rustic look, there are several ways to use stone that look great and inspire a muted palette of grays and browns for the room. Forgoing the mantel allows you to add soaring height to the room with a floor-to-ceiling surround.

Placement.  You used to have limited choices for fireplace placement: a floor-level or a raised hearth on an outside wall, for example. Today they can be wall-mounted in any room and at any height. Imagine dining by firelight with the glow of the flames at eye level for all your guests to enjoy. If you have an open floor plan or a great room, the fireplace can be in the center of the room, a focal point for your décor.

Outdoor fireplaces and fire pits turn your backyard into another room and extend the time your family can spend outdoors. A covered patio blurs the line even more between the indoors and the outdoors. You'll love snuggling up around a fire on a clear winter night making s'mores!

Maintenance Tip: Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

In the winter, the potential for carbon monoxide poisoning increases dramatically. Install carbon monoxide detectors with an audible alarm in your home and garage and follow these tips to help keep your family safe.

  • Make sure your fuel-burning appliances (oil and gas furnaces, gas water heaters, gas ranges and ovens, gas dryers, gas or kerosene space heaters, fireplaces and wood stoves) are installed properly.
  • Never use an oven, gas range or outdoor grill to heat your home if the power goes out.
  • Never leave your car idling in a closed attached garage to "warm up" in cold weather. Fumes can build up very quickly in the garage and enter the living area of your home.

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Project Update

Project Update: Windows installed, chimney ready to expand.

What's the Story?

Photo: Recently completed bathroom!  
Recently completed awesome new bathroom!

Although this has seemed like an endless winter, it doesn't rate very high in the list of "record" Minnesota winters. It does in my book. It seems like we have been in "winter mode" since the first of December and I have worn my boots and had "hat hair" for the past 2-1/2 months! I am not complaining, I am just stating a fact.

The flip side is that those of us that enjoy winter in Minnesota have had a great winter to pursue outdoor activities. The snow at our cabin is the most I have seen in 10 years and the snowshoeing and cross country skiing are great. I cut a ski trail around Xmas through 24” of snow and each time I visit, there is fresh, new snow on the trail. We went snowshoeing on a morning a few weeks ago and there is nothing more magical then the woods on a cold day at 15 degrees below zero – although some would not call that magical... But you know the winter is getting long when the Variety section of the paper writes on snow shoveling and says that it can be a "meditative moment." Oh boy, it's been a long winter.

Photo: Lots of snow   Photo: Winter tools...
Lots of snow   Winter tools...

But spring is around the corner. It's time to dust off the remodeling plans and give us a call. The cold and snow have slowed construction down a bit, but hats off to Les, Craig and Jason for missing a rare day to the cold. In 30 days the snow will be gone, the birds back and the frost out of the ground...well, we can dream.

Until next month,

John Sylvestre