Jerry Jacobs Design | Best Fireplaces in San Francisco | Jerry Jacobs Design
Fireplace and TV combination Jerry Jacobs Design

Best Fireplaces in San Francisco

Best Fireplaces in San Francisco.


We wish you a very Happy Season, enjoying Romantic Fireplaces!

12/5/19 .

We completed a new interior home in Tiburon early this year. The place had a nice looking fireplace wall with a 15-20 year old gas pireplace. It wasn’t that bad but did not fit our project requirements. Here is what we did.

It took a while to curvey the possiblities of running the fle though the apartment above. Old existing pipes were narrower than the new 8″ required. The permit it and proceed with full demo, and replacement. The new unit is an Ortal

  • Fireplace upgrade to sealed efficient recirculating Landscape unit.
  • Fireplace-TV wall. The outdated fireplace and clearance for a 40” TV, required full replacement to allowing a 60” Ortal fireplace, which heat recirculates in the shaft and into the space 100% sustainable, as well as a 70” class TV brought down as much as possible to eye level. Black stained drift oak, was selected to disguise both TV and Fireplace with the black color. Wardrobes for him to the lower sides. Fireplace and TV combination Jerry Jacobs Design

Belvedere-Tiburon Fireplace.

Fireplace-TV combination. Full size closets on both sides, where added as the small apartment was short of storage space. The TV is 70″ class, and the Fireplace is also by Ortal. The use of black as a device to hide both central elements and make the TV and Fireplace disappear, particularly when not in use, works very well. Blog on the apartment to come soon.


Detailed scale drawings are necesarry. Here is what we did for this one.

Jerry Jacobs Design

Walnut Creek Fireplace.

Fireplace cabinetry wall Jerry Jacobs DesignFireplace and TV in “Signature Wall” at Walnut Creek home.  This signature wall is our longest 33′ length of joined cabinetry. While it also incorporates a slider door and a window. The Ortal Fireplace is almost 6′ long. The Images the client kindly sent had to be spliced, because it is so long. 


We believe in sharing “Knowledge”. Ours is a limited knowledge, mainly that of our also limited Architecture and Interior Design practice. As designers we carve fireplaces into our designs interior or exterior, and practice “Composition”. We learn in the process and we wish to share our thoughts, this time on Fireplaces.

We’ll start by sharing and linking to other sites so that a stop at this site becomes more convenient and productive. Make sure to comment and add to our blog; we will edit in the benefit of our visitors.

There are fireplaces everywhere, almost 1 in every home in America (the USA); and lets assume the same amount in all extreme or not tempered places. An example in Mexico a more tempered climate yet in Mexico City, we include them in almost all homes, in Acapulco or Cancun you don’t, but you do in Los Cabos for outdoor. Point is there are millions and millions of fireplaces, which we can’t possibly cover here; our coverage will be spontaneous.


A friend who works in Miami realty (who wants a fireplace there?), asked me recently to cover the issue of preparing homes for Autumn so by now it is going to be Autumn-Winter. Keep in mind the southern Hemisphere is flipped so it is Autumn-Winter somewhere the whole year round.

Fireplaces are “Interior Architecture” not decorating; well done yes they can be both. The benefit of having one in use is that it not for one season, but for many the next and so on. So generally a good investment.

Wood burning fireplaces are no longer as popular and are being replaced.  It is like having a vintage car, looks beautiful, but you can’t use it as much, so you need a new fireplace to make it more convenient to use, therefore increasing its use, particularly in this season. Better to have nothing to clean and a button to ignite. As designers, we face clients who are not always willing or interested, and all we can do is encourage.

We don’t do many fireplaces from scratch. Yes when we do a new homes Architecture and it is in a location where winter is cold, we do incorporate them into our plans. More often we remodel, or replace, update the existing ones.

Below we show, Fireplace designs by Jerry Jacobs Design, 8 in the San Francisco Bay area, and 1 Guest from Mexico City. We started a section below to show fireplaces we like and direct you to our Pin Board for more as well for many more.

Fireplaces in the San Francisco Bay area, by Jerry Jacobs Design.

In Belvedere-Tiburon and Larkspur, in Marin; Morgan Hill in San Jose; Orinda in the East Bay; Pacific Heights and Buena Vista Park in San Francisco. And a Unique Glass one in Mexico City.

 Warm, inviting and romantic we hope.
Fireplace 2 Jerry Jacobs Design
Corner Fireplace in Orinda, San Francisco Bay, California.

I met the client on a plane, she liked Country.  On “Clean the Bay Day” I came across a driftwood beam in the Tiburon bike path and thought it would do the mantle and that “Salvaged” was country. Rose limestone surround and Meiji Screen around the Salvaged Mantle. Classic wood burning fireplace..

Interior Architecture. Before the fireplace was as well in the corner but…

Decorating. The clients husband had been a Fireman so we incorporated the hose end to put fires out; Art Focal the Meiji Screen. The other side is silver and they are a pair, I have the other. Props on loan for the Photo shoot. 2 flames over mantle, an umbrella or stick holder used for the tool, and a set of antique leather balls.


Tiburon Belvedere apartment wood fireplace.

In this case we just replaced it for a new one, grandfathering the wood use. I do not recommend now, for comfort of use, and cleaning.

010 Jerry Jacobs Design

Fireplace and Bar at a Bay view apartment in Belvedere Tiburon, Marin, San Francisco California.

This fireplace has no mantle. The point was to reflect the Bay view in the mirror above it. Marble surround and hearth extension to comply with code. This is at the entry home office area  marble surround in turn is surrounded by mirror to reflect the Bay view, no mantle, yes Wet Bar



9 mh lr 5 updated version 2 Jerry Jacobs Design
Morgan Hill, San Jose in San Francisco Bay.

The fireplace and shaft were there, we added the mantle and hood, or overmantle in a Chateau style, as the House’s proportions are such.  Leather elliptical ottoman, velvet on drapes and love seat.

3 mh lib 3 Jerry Jacobs Design

At the same Home we called Morgan Hill Taj, we designed 3 fireplaces. The three units where there installed, however with no surround or finish, the owners asked us to do the entire Home. In the Home Library-offfice we choose red, and did the fireplace surround in Black Marble. We designed the library cabinetry  to disguise the flu and have flush marble with the contemporary Built-in cabinetry


Black & White, at Paris in San Francisco. A penthouse apartment in Pacific Heights, San Francisco, California.

bw fireplaces at paris in sf Jerry Jacobs Design

Two fireplaces in Presidio Heights, San Francisco.

The Victorian Penthouse fireplaces were already there with their wood mantles from the previous occupant-designer. We added Portoro marble surround and TV in the Black one and Polished Stainless steel and Calacatta marble surround in the white room . Restored and modified both existing sets of shelving and all details and Pent house design by Jerry Jacobs Design.

Buena Vista Park Deco Penthouse apartment, San Francisco, California.

There are parts of a project which only need decoration, such as in this case. The exiting fireplace was not popular, maybe because it was outdated and not in the client’s priorities to update.
The Classic marble mantle and surround was acceptable and kept, it was actually an Architectural Salvaged piece from the previous owner so all we did was find a screen, in this case a 5 panel mirrored and etched screen, that is decorating, hearth never to be seen or used.
We also brought in a mirror in the style, and decorated the rest of the room and the House.
This project has been called horrible by some and a Bordelo by others, while it just won the 2016 International Property Award, in London, for Best Residence Interior in America. Our projects try to reflect the personality of our clients, among other goals.
jjd bvdeco 8 Jerry Jacobs Design
Buena Vista Park Deco Penthouse apartment, San Francisco, California.

Fireplace TV combination or TV fireplace combination.

Most rooms have a focal point, and the seating arrangement allows only one view direction. For many years before the Flat Screens were introduced, people having this concept or requirement figured out that so long as the flue could clear or turn enough to allow the TV to fit, then it would work.
Two things happened; Flat screens came around, having practically no depth; and non wood burning fireplaces became nicer and more popular.
The throat, smoke chamber or the internal angled portion of the Fireplace unit tends to get in the way, so it is a question of working on a section to make both fit.
Jerry Jacobs Design

Non wood fireplaces.

I used to hate the units as they were pretty horrible, now that it is no longer the case nice flames are generated in a reasonably nice pattern. The use of gas, and enclosed units allows for the unit to work with the touch of a button, and you don’t have to clean after. Very convenient.
When you are in the countryside and smoke is not an issue or restriction, and wood is available, yes a wood burning fireplace will always be nicer, such as on a Lodge, where it can be functioning most of the time for multiple groups to enjoy. Let alone personal to provide daily maintenance, but that is not usually the case, while you will tend to use them less, because of these difficulties. So the non wood burning fireplace can be such a convenience you are actively encouraging its use.
For now we are sticking to Gas or Ethanol which offer the best looks. Electric is not there at all for us, yet we provide a reference link below.

Nobody’s responsibility.

Is there a TV manual, telling you how far the unit should be from the fireplace? I don’t think so. Is there a Fireplace guide likewise specifying how far from the TV it should be? I guess not. TV units should specify the temperature they withstand working properly.

If your wall section fits both it works doesn’t it.
We have had 2 different experiences. In the black example above in the Pacific Height apartment,  the fireplace was there, We carved the room for the TV immediately above the mantle.
In the Larkspur example below, the issue was both where new the fireplace and the TV and the shapes mutually restricted each other, or certain fireplace hood restriction had us place the TV at a certain distance or height, we complied with all the Fireplace manufacturers specifications and requests. Both have worked well for  years, no problems.

The Mantle.

In addition to the Fireplace mantle being decorative or a place to put Christmas cards or other parafernalia, they do serve a purpose. The Mantle diverts the heat, therefore protecting the TV from excessive heat. If you can fit a mantle or create a step back, then you are done. If you want a flush clean look like the Larkspur example it is a different story.

Design of the combination of the two is interesting.

 Sometimes rooms are big enough, allowing for multiple seating, one sectional facing the TV and the other the fireplace in some cases in opposite walls.



bwe 5688 Jerry Jacobs Design

Larkspur, San Francisco Bay.

Work completed. Seen from family room before furniture. Wall recessed gas fireplace aligned with 60″ TV screen. Venetian Stucco walls.


75 new w background Jerry Jacobs Design

CasaLila in Chimalistac, San Angel, Mexico City, CDMX, Mexico.

We Designed the minimalist Casa Lila House and the Interiors with structural Glass and High-Tech details. So it was just natural that we extend the glass to the fireplace surround. This unique glass surrounded fireplace is minimalist and contemporary, while Chimalistac, San Angel is a Colonial part of the city. Wet Bar behind.

Layout Options.

Lake Forest, Chicago, Illinois. Fireplace-TV. We proposed 3 different options for the Fireplace TV combination wall.
Fireplaces have depth, minimum 1-2″ deep if not more and require a flue, and all installation needless to say should comply with ICC International Code Council, for your safety, insurance. In addition to that and our scope is to make a beautiful and functional use of the space, and the functions and composition fields are as wide as necessary.

slide1 Jerry Jacobs Design

Fireplaces we like.

In Hot Arizona dessert at night it gets really cold, and to enjoy the views and the beauty of the outdoors an outdoor fireplace comes in very handy. This beautifully designed fireplace is surrounded by corten steel ibarrarosano outdoor fireplace Jerry Jacobs Design

We hope your Fall and Winter and your holidays will be pleasantly warm! Or cool if you are in the Caribbean! Fireplaces are usually a focal point. Before you had to have two focal points when a TV was involved. No more with the flat screens.


A little bit about code. From SFGate see link below.

Safety is the primary issue with fireplaces. Don’t do a fireplace without a professional.

Approved Materials for Fireplaces

ICC building codes allow builders to install marble building stone for exterior walls and limestone, granite, sandstone and slate in the overall construction. Stone materials must be free of cracks and defects. Firebrick; cement; or grouted, hollow blocks may be used to construct the back and sidewalls of the unit. The mortar permitted depends entirely on the specific construction material used. The ICC enforces strict rules around additives and admixtures in mortar. Liquid antifreeze, chloride salts, and other substances with similar compounds cannot be used in mortar or grout. Approved grout mixtures include fine or coarse aggregate that must be measured and combined with hydrated lime or lime putty, according to ICC recommendations.

Main Chamber and Hearth Design

A masonry fireplace featuring a firebox — the main chamber — that measures less than 6 square feet requires a hearth extension of at least 16 inches in front of the opening and at least 8 inches to the sides. For a fireplace with a larger opening of more than 6 square feet, the ICC requires a hearth that extends 20 inches or more in front and 12 inches or more along the sides. The hearth design must be at least 2 inches thick.

Construction of the Lintel, Throat and Damper

The lintel, made of noncombustible materials, is located directly over the fireplace and must extend at least 4 inches beyond each corner of the firebox. The lintel supports the masonry above the fireplace. The intersection of the firebox and smoke chamber, called the throat, must start 8 inches above the top of the fireplace. According to the ICC regulations, the damper, constructed of only ferrous metal, must be installed in the fireplace or above the flue that vents the fireplace.

Smoke Chamber Walls Construction

Made of stone, concrete, solid masonry unites, or hollow units that are grouted solid, the smoke chamber walls of a fireplace from the throat to the start of the flue cannot be wider than the inside width of the main chamber. The angle of the interior walls of the smoke chamber cannot exceed a 45-degree incline when the walls are rolled or sloped. A corbel arch uses cantilevered blocks to form the entryway in a wall or fireplace that supports the structure above it. When corbeled masonry forms the interior of the smoke chamber, the walls cannot incline more than 30 degrees from vertical, according to building codes.

Some Designer, manufacturers and distributors.

Please note that equipment must be authorized for your particular locations. As well as permitted and signed off. Be safe!

Ortal Heat. Makes a great product. We are specifying and working with their local rep. on a current project.

Vancouver Gas Fireplaces. They produce a quarterly news letter full of the latest information on Gas, Wood, Electric and ethanol fireplaces. Visit them at link below.

Eco-Feu Bioethanol fireplaces. See link below to their model in YouTube. Includes ventless.


Useful Links.



Thank you to my clients. I tremendously enjoyed the process.

Thank you for visiting!

Jerry Jacobs Design. San Francisco . Belvedere-Tiburon.  +1.415.435.0520    Contact