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How to make your fireplace love story come true

Have you ever been in the position where you wanted to renovate a part of your house but didn’t know where to start? Finding that right inspiration can be challenging but sometimes, it can hit you when you least expect it. We had the pleasure of working with the Warringtons, a lovely couple from Vancouver who wanted a fireplace update, but common to a lot of couples, weren’t sure of the shape or style that that they wanted. In looking through a design magazine, they actually found a picture of the perfect fireplace that we had installed at the Executive Suites hotel in Squamish (near Whistler). In order to confirm, they drove up there to check it out and were sure that this was the perfect one for them. They took a picture of it with their phone and brought it into our showroom to show us.

The fireplace surround they were referring to was the Fraser which is nice because it comes with an 4″ (depth) mantel, perfect for hanging Christmas stockings. For even more space, it can also be available with an 8″ overmantel. Another great feature about the Fraser surround is that it, along with the Taper surround, are fully customizable, allowing them to be cut on-site, to any shape of firebox.

A true fireplace love story, the Warringtons ended up getting the Fraser surround and were very pleased with the results. They were kind enough to send us this picture and lovely message.

“As promised I have attached a picture of our fireplace. Your product and service was awesome. The Installer you recommended was good. I think if you compare our fireplace to the picture my Wife liked we did pretty good. Thanks for all your help getting this done and have a great holiday season”

If you’ve had a similar experience to the Warringtons, we’d love to hear about it. Also, feel free to come by our showroom with a picture of your ideal fireplace surround, and we’ll help make your fireplace love story come true as well.

Fraser mantel
Fraser fireplace mantel beautifully decorated for Christmas


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How to get a contemporary look with a wrapped fireplace

Your creativity has met its match – Solus wrapped fireplaces! As creative as you can get with modern architecture and design, Solus wrapped fireplaces can accommodate it with our large and unconventional formats that can mold to just about anything.

We recently worked on this custom job where the client wanted a long, linear, contemporary look that matched their west coast inspired home. Rather than just place drywall around the fireplace insert, they opted for our hand cast concrete tiles to properly finish the look by adding a unique touch. The beauty of Solus tiles is that they have a lustrous, well worn, almost smooth leather feel as they are made from real stone. Each tile will be almost slightly different than the next so you won’t get any pattern randomization like you would with ceramic. Overall, this leads to a more refined and elegant look.

Once your fireplace insert has been installed, one of our installers will come and cut the tiles on-site to perfectly wrap them around the insert for a great, custom look. If you like the flush look of this feature wall around a fireplace, know that we can accommodate all sizes of fireplace inserts, whether long and linear or more traditional. If in the research phase, you can also check out the other styles of modern and contemporary fireplace surrounds that we offer.

Contact us today to discuss your ideas at 1(877) 255 3146.

Contemporary wrapped fireplace
Contemporary wrapped fireplace with hand cast concrete tiles


Contemporary wrapped fireplace
Notice the smooth, suede like, texture of these concrete tiles



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An inside look into our Taper floating fireplace surround

Are you looking for a modern fireplace that sits flush inside the wall? You like clean, linear lines and would like to minimize space taken up by a traditional fireplace mantel or surround? Then we invite you to consider Taper, our floating fireplace surround which works perfectly with this kind of fireplace. Rather than just placing drywall around the fireplace, our Taper surround beautifully frames the fireplace giving it a floating appearance.

We recently completed a custom installation that created this beautiful, contemporary floating surround. It gives prominence and respect to the fireplace while not seeming like a foreign object on the wall. The colour chosen was linen which lends itself as the quintessential choice for a contemporary look. As you can see, this Taper surround will still give you a small mantel of 4″ giving you the option to place or hang something from it (think Christmas stockings or petit candles) or place a picture above.

If you’d like to know more about our Taper fireplace surround, contact our design team to discuss your ideas for free at 1(877) 255 3146.

Taper fireplace surround

Taper fireplace surround

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Adding value to your home with a concrete fire place surround.


How can a fireplace add value to your home?

According to the National Centre for Real Estate Research, a fireplace increases the value of a home by 12%. But does this apply to every home? We think yes! Whether you live in a small condo, or a 10,000 square foot mansion, there is a fireplace insert and surround to suite your needs. From electric, to wall mounted units, to traditional masonry fireplaces, there are a variety of different insert options to explore. Local building codes will determine what you are able to use and most building codes can be found online or at your local fireplace shop. Considering the addition of a fireplace to your property may be beneficial when the time comes to re-sell, as 77% of homebuyers would like to have a fireplace in their home, (according to the National Association of Home Builders Consumer Preferences survey).

Elton Huard proudly stands by a fresh installation of Solus Concrete Panels
Elton Huard proudly stands by a fresh installation of Solus Concrete Panels

Having a fireplace in your home is not only noticed by buyers, but is also recognized as a “hot button” by realtors for potential buyers. According to the National Association of Realtors  Profile of Buyers Home Feature Preferences, it was determined that a fireplace is one of the most desired features in a home. In addition to the desire of the fireplace, 46% of home buyers said they would pay extra for a house that incorporated at least one fireplace. Whether you are considering selling your home through a third party or not, the demand for a feature fireplace is prevalent across the market.

Where is the best place for a fireplace in the home?

When adding a fireplace or beginning a renovation, you should give some thought into which room the feature fireplace will go. It is recommended that the fireplace is installed in the most used room in the house, (besides the kitchen and bathroom). This leaves usually the living room or great room. Once properly framed by a surround or wall of tile, it will provide the WOW factor that only a properly finished fireplace can add.

What is a realistic budget for a new fireplace?

Before beginning your project it is important to put together a budget of what you have to work with. Costs for materials and labour to add a new fireplace can run from several hundred dollars, to $20,000 or more. Among the popular options, a factory built gas or propane fireplace insert can cost anywhere between $3,000 and $5,000.

You can also update the design of your existing fireplace by keeping the current insert in place, and adding a new fireplace surround, wall tiling or hearth. These renovations can cost anywhere from several hundred, to several thousand depending on the scope of labour and materials. If you are considering re-facing your fireplace you can reference the Solus Measure Up Guide online to determined which mantle and tiles would fit best in your space.

Measure Up Guide

When determining costs for your fireplace, there are also other factors to consider such as ongoing fuel expenses. Across North America natural gas is generally the least expensive as measured in therms (a measure of heating value), followed by heating oil, propane and electricity. A guide to compare how much heat each fuel source costs to run can be found here:

Fuel Cost Comparison Calculator

Another fuel source which is ideally the most cost effective, is having a wood-burning fireplace if you have a cheap source of wood readily available to you. When including a wood burning fireplace in your home make sure you pay particular attention to the non-combustible clearance requirements, as codes are unique to each municipality and vary from 16” to 20.5.” Overall wood and natural gas are by far the most popular fireplace fuels, and combine for 83% of the market, (according to the National Association of Homebuilders Research Centre).

Finally – what options should you consider to finish off your fireplace?

After investing into the fireplace insert and labour there are a few ways to finish your fireplace off. Think of your fireplace like a piece of art. Unframed or unadorned it doesn’t look like much, however when properly framed it takes on substance, style and brings the piece of art to life!

We recommend non-combustible mantels, surrounds, tiles and hearths made from Solus Decor’s ultra high performance concrete. Our concrete is available in ten inspired colours and we have a variety of styles to accommodate any design. Whether your space in contemporary, traditional, or somewhere in between, view our gallery online or give us a call and one of our associates would be happy to work with you on finding the best fit for your home.

Fireplace Surrounds Gallery

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Festive Deliveries and Holiday Mantels

Beautiful hearths decorated with the season’s finest have been a tradition in northern and southern climes for hundreds of years.  Through the chimney, the fireplace hearth has been credited as a favored landing spot for our man in red and white.. good ol’ Santa Clause.

Santa’s got a tough job, but with a great deal of experience and an excellent team of elves, he’s able to rise to the challenge year after year and deliver perfectly wrapped and operating toys all over the world.

Cornice surround with Solus 16" x 48" tile in Halva
Cornice surround with Solus 16″ x 48″ tile in Halva & in holiday mode.

Solus understands this job perfectly!  We crate and ship our contemporary fireplace surrounds, hearths, mantels, tiles etc., all over the world! And like Santa’s, our products arrive at their new homes in perfect condition, ready for local installations … and perfect delivery portals for our good friend Santa Claus.

Festive Halva Cornice surround with Solus 16" x 48" tile in Halva and natural light.
Festive Halva Cornice surround with Solus 16″ x 48″ tile in natural light.

This festive Cornice  fireplace surround and the Solus 16″ x 48″ concrete tile in Halva was shipped over 2000 miles, and perfectly installed by a local tile setter – and now it’s ready for Santa’s arrival!  “Our installer finished the fireplace on the weekend. It looks fabulous! Your website is good but the photos don’t do the product justice. They are very beautiful and we love it… the experience has been great.  Your shippers are amazing and everything got here fine.  Thanks for everything …”. from our happy Solus customer.

We also thought it would be fun to share some links for some last minute inspiration … or for you to keep on reference and book mark to prepare for next year.

Holiday Fireplace decor from Apartment Therapy

Holiday Mantels by Houzzers on

Have fun preparing for Santa and Happy Holidays from Solus Decor!

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What the Brits are saying about Solus Decor

The District Post

Earlier this summer, we launched our fire products into the UK at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in London. Since then, Landscape Architects around the UK have been enamoured with the idea of our fire pits due to the warmth, ambience and  conversations they bring to the world renowned British gardens.

Recently, an article was published in The District Post in the UK about our fire products and we’re very excited for what the Brits are saying about us. Read the entire article here:


Solus Decor – Fire for your Room Outside (The District Post)

Fire pits are a relatively new feature in the UK design and gardening world. They came over from warmer regions such as California, where the trend started, and are a luxury accessory that can easily be incorporated into garden designs in the UK as they are perfect for generating some warmth in our chillier alfresco lifestyle.

Solus Decor is a Canadian company founded 17 years ago by Brad Carpenter. They are unique in that their products are crafted almost entirely by hand and their ethos is very much geared towards sustainability. “The design is obviously a key feature of our fire pits,” says Brad, “but it’s also really important to us that they are sustainable. We strive for a small footprint – we use certified lumber, recycled materials and draw the bulk of our energy from human power. We believe sustainability and longevity go hand-in-hand.”

From humble beginnings, Solus Decor have now shipped their products all over the world to continents including Asia, Australia, Africa, North America and Europe. They launched the British arm of the business at RHS Hampton Court Flower Show this year and hope to expand their business all over Europe, the Middle East and Northern Africa in early 2016, with plans to include Australasia in 2017.

After the discovery of fire many hundreds of thousands of years ago, it’s believed that fire pits were created by our ancestors to control the flames and the output of heat. They were initially holes dug in the ground, fuelled by wood and were designed for warmth, to ward off predators, to be a signalling beacon and later to cook food on. Fire pits in 2015 are – as you would imagine – far more sophisticated. Solus Decor fire pits can be fuelled by natural gas and bio fuel and are products of real beauty. They don’t need to be fixed into the ground and can be moved.

Before their launch this year, Jack Dunckley met with Brad and was really taken with his products. He is now incorporating them into some of his landscape designs. “The British are world renowned for their garden design, however the one thing we don’t tend to do is incorporate heat into our gardens, which is surprising considering our climate!” says Jack. “I think they are a great conversation starter, providing atmosphere and warmth and can really add a dimension to a garden.

According to the ASLA (American Association of Landscape Architects), fire pits are the number one design feature sought by clients for outdoor living spaces in America – who knows, in the next few years BALI (British Association of Landscape Architects) might be saying the same!

 In the UK, you can order our fire products through Jack Dunckley’s Birchfield Nursery. Tel. 01273 494058
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Residential considerations when specifying a fire pit

Have you considered a fire pit for your balcony or backyard but were confused about the different options available or not sure where to start? No worries. We’ve put together a list of considerations to help you find the right fire pit for you.

Location always plays a significant role in the selection of a fire pit.  Many residential situations will call for natural gas as its running costs are quite a bit less than propane or bio fuel. However, the actual installation of hard piping gas lines can be a bit more complicated.  Running a line under a deck is not usually an issue but running it up and through stone pavers or a solid concrete deck can pose a challenge. Running a fire feature to the back of a long garden can add up if you have to run a gas line 50 or 60 metres.

Hemi on Paul Lafrance's Disaster Decks

With propane tanks, one has to figure out what to do with the tank. Can it be housed in a container or tucked around behind a bench or a bush?  Generally speaking, you can’t run a hose longer than 5 meters or 15 feet.  Can it run on top of the deck?  Yes, although not the most attractive, sometimes it’s the only solution.  


With biofuel, you have the advantage of not needing lines, hoses or the changing of tanks.  You do have to fill it up with liquid ethanol and generally you “burn” through the liquid each time you have the fire pit on. On the bright side, it burns much cleaner than propane and does not off-gas.  Therefore, it might be more suitable in situations where you don’t have a great deal of open air venting.  Open air venting is definitely required for natural gas and propane.  

For the lighting of the actual units, match lit burners, as seen below, are ideal for taking the guess work out of lighting.  You either have a skeleton key for gas and propane or a lighting wand for biofuel.  In the absence of either of these, children cannot light the fire pit.  Electronic versions with either a remote or a wall switch can be “flicked” on by children.   

Lighting a fire pit

Considering how the family will interact with the fire pit is a key consideration.  Do they intend to sit around it just for the effect, the conversation or the ambience?  Or do they intend to have dinner or drinks around it?  Does the fire pit need to function as a table when the fire pit is not in use?  When it is not in use does it look aesthetically pleasing or an eyesore when off?

Hemi 26" campfire experience

As a general rule of thumb, we don’t recommend glass shields for residential situations as they can be more of an attractant to kids than having no glass.  In commercial situations, the regulations often require it, but it can be overkill in a residential situation in our opinion.  Glass can definitely retain heat and cut down the effectiveness of heat transmission.  Think of it like a traditional campfire – having an artificial barrier in between the family and the fire is somewhat off-putting. Glass barriers can also add to the cost of the unit.  

Hemi 36 Linen Flame w glass

In terms of permits and regulations, residential situations are a little more relaxed, albeit this is changing over time from an insurance point of view.  It is always recommended that the fire pit have a certification standard be it CSA in Canada, ANSI in the US or CE in Europe.  The standard is only the start – from there look closely at the actual components themselves including the vessel or container.  Many products on the market will last for just a season or two and then you will be throwing them out – due to rust or broken starters or components.  Pretty much like anything else you can buy on the market – “you get what you pay for”.

Any questions? Don’t be afraid to call Solus Fire and Water 1877 255 3146 or visit

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Specifying commercial fire pits

Outdoor Fire Pit Elevated Halo 36
Elevated Hale fire pit on patio

As a design professional, have you ever had difficulty specifying or recommending a fire pit? Were you ever confused about where to start? We’ve put together a list of questions so you know exactly what to consider on behalf of your client in order to maximize their satisfaction.

Who’s the fire pit for?

  • The primary question is who ultimately will be interacting with the fire pit and how? If you are considering a lounge or a restaurant there are different considerations than an amenity or public space.

Permit considerations

  • Each county, province or state will have its own set of regulations permitting the use of gas appliances. This has become much more of a consideration within the last year across many provinces and states.

Fuel sources

  • There really are only three options: Natural gas, LP (liquefied petroleum) or propane. On occasion there can also be biofuel or ethanol.   If there are issues as to where to run the gas line – a propane tank could be considered. Check if there are any considerations as to the running costs of the gas line though.
Hemi 36 Linen Flame w glass
Hemi 36″ firebowl with glass shield

Some maintenance issues to consider

  • Warranty issues – most commercial products need to last. Many products are just not suitable to withstand the test of time.
  • Electronic issues – how to wire it for electronic start if necessary. Wall switch, timer or lock box.   Manual lit can work – just depends on the staff.
  • Glass shields and barriers might be a good option – and then again perhaps not. This is often a regulatory issue and not necessarily a safety issue. There are just as many issues with glass as there are no glass.
  • Purpose of fire pit – Is it meant to serve as primarily a heating source, an aesthetic statement or to create ambience and atmosphere?
  • Seating height – what seating is around the fire pit – what is the optimum height?
    How will the elements interact with the fire pit and are its components robust enough to withstand wind, heat, rain, sleet and snow?
  • Are fire pits within the budget of the client? How do you measure the quality of the fire pit?

More questions? Don’t be afraid to call Solus Fire and Water 1877 255 3146 or visit



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The Top Six FAQs about Solus Water bowls

Solus domed water bowl
Solus Domed Water bowl

Last February, we launched our Solus Water bowls; the latest in West coast design. The feedback and sales have been incredible and complimentary but we felt it was necessary to address some common questions that have come up about them.

1 – Is there any maintenance to consider?
Yes, the first consideration is to drain the bowl if you live in a climate that has a risk of freezing or even frost. The second is to to keep an eye on the water level as it will need occasional replenishment due to evaporation.

2 – Can the water feature be utilized alongside another pump or incorporated into a full pool or pond water feature?
Absolutely! The volume of water is going to dictate the pump that you may need to access if you are looking to incorporate it.

3 – Is the water totally contained within the vessel?
Yes! The domed Solus water bowl and water spigot with basin are totally self contained units where water recirculates on itself.

4 – How hard and how long does it take to set up?
Amazingly easy – set up time varies from 20 – 60 minutes.

5 – Does it come complete?
In North America, it comes with everything but the water. In Europe, due to CE regulations, it comes with the pump and cord but without a plug as specified by governmental regulations.

6 – Does it green or algae up?
The answer is, it depends – on your water, where you place it, if it is on all the time or sits and doesn’t circulate for some period of time. If concerned, there are simple, green additives you can add to the water to prevent algae build up.

Never hesitate to come by our presentation centre and view the water bowls or call us at 1-877-255-3146 ( North America ) or 44 208 819 1495 ( UK & Europe ) to learn more.

Solus Scrupper Water Bowl
Solus Scrupper Water Bowl
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Location, Location; fire pits around the world

What do all these locations have in common?

  • 5-star resorts in the Caribbean 
  • A palace in Saudi Arabia
  • Casual restaurants in Toronto
  • Golf courses in Alberta
  • Wineries in Washington
  • Hotels in California
  • Breweries in Texas
  • Ski hills in Colorado
  • Theatres in Kansas
  • Condo associations in Montreal
  • Community centres in Vancouver
  • Universities in BC
  • Churches
  • Public gardens
  • Medical centres
  • Funeral homes

They are all recipients of Solus fire pits and water features. It never fails to amaze the crew at Solus in what wonderful and weird locations our products end up or in what corner of the world.

Having successfully shipped to every continent including Asia, Australia, Africa, North America and Europe, we have just South America and Antarctica to fill our global quest to ship to all corners of the earth.

As you may be aware Solus has expanded and opened its overseas office in the UK to sell all over Europe, the Middle East and Northern Africa with CE appliances in early 2016.  Plans in 2017 include Australasia.

The Modern Hawaii
Hemi 36″ firebowls at The Modern Resort (Hawaii)
St Regis Resort
Elevated Halo 48″ firebowl at the St-Regis Resort (California)
Snow King resort
Elevated Halo 48″ firepit at The Snow King Mountain Resort (Wyoming)
Hemi 36 at Fairmont Pacific Rim Vancouver
Hemi 36″ firebowl Fairmount Pacific Rim Presidential suite (Vancouver)