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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 28 January 2021

Faux fireplaces get UAE homes all fired up: How residents have created fake hearths

If you fancy getting crafty with some cardboard boxes, you can replicate the festive favourite with no need to bring in a builder

The Christmas trees are up, presents wrapped and we've begun debating which cookies to leave out for Santa.

But, for UAE residents looking to add to the festive spirit this year, faux fireplaces are also "lit".

A number of families around the country have commissioned – or simply DIYed – artificial fireplaces for their living rooms this year, as part of a trend that is rising in popularity around the world.

The thought of having any sort of fireplace in the UAE – where temperatures rarely dip below double digits – may well seem almost alien, but for these residents, it's not about functionality.

Scroll through the gallery above to see 12 festive faux fireplaces by UAE residents.

“I had my fireplace made and delivered at the end of November. I wanted a large white one that reminded me of the gorgeous townhouse fireplaces in my home town of Hampstead, London," says Rhiannon Downie-Hurst, founder of Brideclubme.com. "There is something so comforting and cosy about a fireplace, even the fake ones, and they are great focal points in homes to be styled seasonally."

Maria Makonnen’s faux chimney in Dubai, meanwhile, features mahogany imported from England.

“I grew up in a Victorian terrace house which had an original fireplace as the main focal point in the living room. To me, having a fireplace is what makes a house feel homely, so I was keen to replicate that here in our Meydan South villa,” she explains.

While some villas in the UAE do come with fireplaces, many have chosen to commission fake fireplaces in the living room for the festive season.

Adina Strachan, for example, enlisted the help of Al Madina Carpentry in Ajman to create her white fireplace. However, it is possible to create a beautiful faux fireplace by using materials around the house, such as spare cardboard boxes.

Dubai resident Jeanette Lanopa-Buley got creative with her hearth by wrapping textured brick-design wallpaper around empty boxes.

“I added big hardcover books inside the boxes as weights to make it more stable and used a computer monitor to play a YouTube fire video to make it more realistic,” she adds.

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi resident Mani Mathur took inspiration from Pinterest and created her fireplace in November using boxes, three types of wallpaper from Amazon and a hot glue gun. The whole process, from start to finish, took her about a week, with her daughters also helping out.

Scroll through the gallery above for a look at her creative process.

“I’ve always been good with arts and crafts, and I knew exactly what I wanted,” she explains. “I’m from the UK, and I’ve always loved fireplaces – I've always felt like they bring something special to the room, especially around Christmas time.

"This year, with us spending more time at home, we’ve tried to make every celebration here – from birthdays to Diwali – a little over the top.”

Updated: December 22, 2020 10:39 AM

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