18 Modern Fireplaces and Fire Pits to Inspire Outdoor Living

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By Samantha Daly
Warm nights spent sitting outside with friends are just around the corner—so sit back, relax, and get inspired by these charming outdoor fireplaces and fire pits.
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"The house's two main façades express both shelter and exposure. On the north, clear expanses of glass reveal ocean and coastline views; long strips of translucent channel glass dapple the light, playing on the sea's shimmering surface. The south façade, clad in copper, which wraps over the roof, is mostly enclosed, offering a retreat from the forces of nature. Roof overhangs on the east and west protect the windows and the front door from the harshness of sun and wind," says the architect.

"The house's two main façades express both shelter and exposure. On the north, clear expanses of glass reveal ocean and coastline views; long strips of translucent channel glass dapple the light, playing on the sea's shimmering surface. The south façade, clad in copper, which wraps over the roof, is mostly enclosed, offering a retreat from the forces of nature. Roof overhangs on the east and west protect the windows and the front door from the harshness of sun and wind," says the architect.

The prefab cabins on site were designed by Seattle–based architecture firm SHW, manufactured in Idaho, and installed by local contractors from Cascade Built. Here, a shared courtyard features a fire pit.

The prefab cabins on site were designed by Seattle–based architecture firm SHW, manufactured in Idaho, and installed by local contractors from Cascade Built. Here, a shared courtyard features a fire pit.

"The home is special because it feels curated, but very personal," the interior designer says. "The owners had a hand in every part of the process." The colors in the outdoor space match those found inside, including the red lumbar pillow from Amber Interiors that's also in a bedroom.   

"The home is special because it feels curated, but very personal," the interior designer says. "The owners had a hand in every part of the process." The colors in the outdoor space match those found inside, including the red lumbar pillow from Amber Interiors that's also in a bedroom.   

The courtyard in the center of the compound opens to a lovely lap pool and connects the main house to the pool/guest house. The outdoor space includes a fire pit.

The courtyard in the center of the compound opens to a lovely lap pool and connects the main house to the pool/guest house. The outdoor space includes a fire pit.

At the south terrace an outdoor fireplace is integrated into the stone wall, providing a comfortable space for the family and their guests.

At the south terrace an outdoor fireplace is integrated into the stone wall, providing a comfortable space for the family and their guests.

Perched on a coastal site in Australia, this property features cantilevered views of the sparkling sea. The home wraps around a courtyard that mixes a material palette of metal, wood, stone, and concrete. 

Perched on a coastal site in Australia, this property features cantilevered views of the sparkling sea. The home wraps around a courtyard that mixes a material palette of metal, wood, stone, and concrete. 

Plants were snuck into every possible corner to soften, create ambience, and screen the city vibes. Outside the great room, the custom-cut geometric natural stone patio and fire pit table draws you into the outdoor kitchen and lounge. 

Plants were snuck into every possible corner to soften, create ambience, and screen the city vibes. Outside the great room, the custom-cut geometric natural stone patio and fire pit table draws you into the outdoor kitchen and lounge. 

Throughout the house, the rock extrudes into the space, contrasting with the luxurious textures of the furnishings. Interior and exterior fireplace hearths are carved out of existing stone; leveled on top, they are otherwise left raw. A large pivoting steel and glass door opens for access to an outdoor terrace.

Throughout the house, the rock extrudes into the space, contrasting with the luxurious textures of the furnishings. Interior and exterior fireplace hearths are carved out of existing stone; leveled on top, they are otherwise left raw. A large pivoting steel and glass door opens for access to an outdoor terrace.

Constructed predominantly with locally quarried stone, steel, poured concrete floors and a turf roof, the horizontal outline of the property harmonizes beautifully with its rugged natural surroundings. The house also has an outdoor terrace with a pool and fireplace, where you can enjoy a cup of tea and take in plenty of fresh air.

Constructed predominantly with locally quarried stone, steel, poured concrete floors and a turf roof, the horizontal outline of the property harmonizes beautifully with its rugged natural surroundings. The house also has an outdoor terrace with a pool and fireplace, where you can enjoy a cup of tea and take in plenty of fresh air.

A west-facing concrete terrace with a fire pit encourages outdoor enjoyment day or night. "It is vital that these outdoor rooms are sheltered from the wind, so in this project the building itself forms a sheltering screen," write the architects.   

A west-facing concrete terrace with a fire pit encourages outdoor enjoyment day or night. "It is vital that these outdoor rooms are sheltered from the wind, so in this project the building itself forms a sheltering screen," write the architects.   

The wraparound porch is enclosed in custom unfinished spruce, and match the slated look of the World Market chairs. The owner says that her custom concrete fire pit has been a great place to entertain.

The wraparound porch is enclosed in custom unfinished spruce, and match the slated look of the World Market chairs. The owner says that her custom concrete fire pit has been a great place to entertain.

By carefully crafting both indoor and outdoor spaces, the architects managed to draw the scenic landscape inward while extending the outdoor living experience. Social areas like the living, dining, kitchen, bar, den, outdoor deck, fire pit and barbecue area are located on the second level.

By carefully crafting both indoor and outdoor spaces, the architects managed to draw the scenic landscape inward while extending the outdoor living experience. Social areas like the living, dining, kitchen, bar, den, outdoor deck, fire pit and barbecue area are located on the second level.

A fireplace can be used on the rear patio and in the living room, making it feel like one cohesive space. Ipe planks, the same wood that’s used in the front courtyard, cover the floor.

A fireplace can be used on the rear patio and in the living room, making it feel like one cohesive space. Ipe planks, the same wood that’s used in the front courtyard, cover the floor.

The architect David Salmela's work is often characterized by a bold use of color, but his signature stylistic statement is the chimney—or, as he would have it, the "unchimney." As he explains, "Some years back, I visited a state park in the Copper Harbor area of Michigan, where there was a fort. Most of the log cabins had burnt down, and only the chimneys were left, but they struck me as being very dynamic." And so the unchimney—really an outdoor fireplace—was born. These structures are not real chimneys, Salmela explains. For one thing, they don’t have a flue, but there is a grate, and one can build a fire. "The flames leave a sooty residue on the masonry," he says, "and the next time you see the soot, it triggers a memory of warmth."

The architect David Salmela's work is often characterized by a bold use of color, but his signature stylistic statement is the chimney—or, as he would have it, the "unchimney." As he explains, "Some years back, I visited a state park in the Copper Harbor area of Michigan, where there was a fort. Most of the log cabins had burnt down, and only the chimneys were left, but they struck me as being very dynamic." And so the unchimney—really an outdoor fireplace—was born. These structures are not real chimneys, Salmela explains. For one thing, they don’t have a flue, but there is a grate, and one can build a fire. "The flames leave a sooty residue on the masonry," he says, "and the next time you see the soot, it triggers a memory of warmth."

As most of the original interior had been gutted and remodeled by previous owners, the surviving design elements were just the bones, including the floor plan, facade, and most of the original framework. The owner used these structural components to heighten the indoor/outdoor quality, while also replacing frosted glass with clear, double-paned glass.   

As most of the original interior had been gutted and remodeled by previous owners, the surviving design elements were just the bones, including the floor plan, facade, and most of the original framework. The owner used these structural components to heighten the indoor/outdoor quality, while also replacing frosted glass with clear, double-paned glass.   

Tailor-made for a young professional couple's lifestyle, the house serves multiple functions as a dwelling, work station, artist studio, and entertaining venue.

Tailor-made for a young professional couple's lifestyle, the house serves multiple functions as a dwelling, work station, artist studio, and entertaining venue.

Homeowner Jay Longtin served as the general contractor and performed the majority of the remodel work, aside from the outdoor floors, concrete, and pool, which were done by Architectural Blue.

Homeowner Jay Longtin served as the general contractor and performed the majority of the remodel work, aside from the outdoor floors, concrete, and pool, which were done by Architectural Blue.

The latticework of the screens allows light to enter the porches, casting ever-shifting shadows as the sun moves across the house through the day. On the side porch is an outdoor grilling area that's perfect for entertaining. There are also multi-level benches arranged around the fire pit where friends family can gather.  

The latticework of the screens allows light to enter the porches, casting ever-shifting shadows as the sun moves across the house through the day. On the side porch is an outdoor grilling area that's perfect for entertaining. There are also multi-level benches arranged around the fire pit where friends family can gather.