Fireplace jokes

My brother and I went to the library the other week. While there, I looked through an interior design book titled The Iconic Interior: 1900 to the Present. The excellent photography in the book is by Richard Powers.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. With architecture photobooks, there are always some things that make me say “hmm...” or “ugh!” or “meh”, but there were plenty of really beautiful & cool spaces as well. As I get older, I find my taste in such things gets stronger, in that I know better what I like & dislike, so it was fun to peruse & react to all the different styles.

One funny thing I noticed in the book was a lot of clearly non-functional fireplaces. I’m sure some of them were real fireplaces that were simply no longer used, and thus got redecorated. But some of the more modern ones were just holes in the wall or mantels that were clearly never meant to be a functional fireplace. One of the funniest was just an all-white shelf that had glass & ceramic doohickeys instead of logs.

I couldn’t find the one from the book, but the doohickeys were like this.

I like to call these “fireplace jokes”. They’re kind of a pun on the grammar of interior design. These spaces have no need for the function of a fireplace, but the form of one is useful as an aesthetic focal point even without the function. The irony of including something that looks like a fireplace in a building that has no need for one and couldn’t possibly be heated by one is very funny to me.

There are some good examples of fireplace jokes on Richard Powers’ website. I can’t include them inline with the article without infringing on his copyright, so I’ll just list links to them here:

And here are a few more I found on Architectural Digest:

What do you think of these fireplace jokes? Do you know of any other good fireplace jokes? Do you know of other design “puns” of a similar nature? Let me know your thoughts at my Ctrl-C email: gome ​@ ​