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Getting cozy outside by the fire
A patio feature that’s popular in California is starting to burn bright in B.C., thanks in part to a manufacturer from Anmore.
Richard Whalen was looking to expand his company, Concrete Lifestyles, and about 18 months ago he took a course through Cheng Design in Oakland that specialized in building concrete fire tables.
He brought the concept home and started researching and developing the product, based on the often-blustery west coast weather.
Now, his concrete fire tables are being sold by five retailers in the Lower Mainland, including barbecue and fireplace stores in Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam. His fire tables can also be seen at Fogg n’ Suds Restaurant and Beer Bar in Richmond and at Brown’s Socialhouse in New Westminster.
Whalen said he can turn around eight to 10 concrete fire tables a month from his Maple Ridge studio.
The process involves casting the piece, stripping and hand-polishing the concrete and allowing it to cure for two weeks before placing the burners in.
The fire tables are ignited like a barbecue — that is, turning a locked valve for the gas or propane to seep up, which is then lit with a tall lighter. The flame, which can be protected with a 5” tall glass windscreen, can rise about a foot from fire glass, fire beads or lava rock.
Whalen’s concrete fire tables typically measure 36 by 36 inches; however, they can be custom made for size and colour, he said.
And, he stressed, they are designed exclusively for an outdoor patio — not for an indoor living space.
“I think they give off a great ambiance for a social gathering,” Whalen said. “Sometimes, we get our family or friends over and they don’t want to leave! Fire tables provide a very comfortable setting outdoors.”
Whalen said the fire tables are also attractive as they give off heat but not smoke. As well, they can also be used for apartments, where permitted.
Through Houzz.com, Whalen’s concrete fire tables have piqued the interest of many home decorators around the world including from Costa Rica, New York and Romania.
• For more information on Concrete Lifestyles or its concrete fire tables, visit concretelifestyles.ca.