A while back, HGTV aired a show where a couple in Florida searched tirelessly for a home with a fireplace. While it’s a rare occasion for a Florida resident to need a fireplace, their plight was indicative of our instinctual draw to fire.

A fire is warm, comforting, cooks food and keeps the wild animals at bay. As such, a fireplace is an architectural design feature that continues to find its way into community-serving institutions, such as senior living facilities, hotels and even hospitals.

Seniors, or travelers, who leave their homes for a more communal environment deserve to have some of their familiar comforts in place. Perhaps this is why facilities like the Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston, or The Cambridge Homes make sure that a fireplace hearth is present in common areas, foyers, and eating areas.

Fairmont Gold Lounge

Fairmont Gold Lounge. Source: fairmont.com

Cambridge Homes- dining room 2

The Cambridge Homes, Dining Room.

We don’t often think of hospitals as being “homey,” although newer hospital architects and designers are changing that trend. Some hospital waiting rooms include fireplaces and hearths, like the ones in The Eating Recovery Center or Swift County Benson Hospital. These areas bring comfort to families and help them to feel less isolated and alone. We would imagine they allow guests to forget where they are at times, helping them to relax a little bit as they wait for results or to visit their loved ones.

Eating Recovery Center

Eating Recovery Center Waiting Area. Source: eatingrecoverycenter.com


Swift County Benson waiting area

Swift County Benson Waiting Room. Source: scbh.org.org

At Leslie Saul & Associates Architecture and Interiors, we make it a point to include the architectural design extras that make a typically institutional structure feel more like a home.