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Check Out These 6 Sizzling Eyecare Office Fireplaces

It’s getting hot in heeere!

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AS AN INDEPENDENT optical retailer, you already strive to make the brick-and-mortar experience memorable. Well, nothing says ‘Welcome!’ and ‘Please, stay a while!’ like a toasty fireplace, especially when the weather starts cooling down. You may be having visions of messy hearths, cinder-strewn floors and soot-covered kids with singed fingers, but these days fireplaces come in a range of options, including traditional wood- and fuel-burning models, as well as gas, electric and even digital versions. Many are very affordable and situated behind glass, entirely within the wall. In addition to heating, fireplaces can perform a range of aesthetic and practical roles, from providing the perfect place to hang ornaments to giving patients a cozy place to wait while dilating. The half-dozen opticals featured are located from frosty Bismarck to subtropical Houston and their interiors run the gamut from rustic farmhouse to contemporary chic — but all use fireplaces to create a truly memorable experience for patients and customers.

EYEBAR Houston fireplace

EYEBAR Houston
Houston, TX

As she’s located in Houston, TX, Dr. Sheena Garner has never felt the need to use her wood-burning fireplace for heating at EYEBAR, her concierge-style eyecare practice and eyewear boutique, but aesthetically it adds a homey touch, along with the home-baked cookies, espresso, faux-fur pillows on the sofa and the 16-inch, 150-oz candle that is usually kept burning in the fireplace itself. The fixture maintains the feel of the 1940 house’s original living room, and Garner gets numerous comments per week about how cozy the living space-turned-waiting room feels. Ultimately, she says that whether a fireplace will work in your office depends on the overall design but adds that “EYEBAR definitely feels more inviting because of ours.”

Innervision Fine Eyewear fireplace

Innervision Fine Eyewear
Philadelphia, PA

At their 18th Street location in Philadelphia — a stunning, historic building dating to 1847 — Innervision Fine Eyewear has not one but two original wood-burning fireplaces. The antique Victorian Italianate fixtures are only fired up for special occasions these days, but they add a venerable touch to the mix of styles that, after multiple remodels over the years, are now featured in the business’ many rooms and floors. The fireplaces clearly leave an impression on the clientele. Says owner Clifton Balter, “Customers love our fireplaces and the building. Very often they’re the topic of conversation in person and in online reviews.”

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Family Vision Center fireplace

Family Vision Center
Westminster, CO

Befitting a practice located at an elevation of over 5,300 feet, the team at Family Vision Center in Westminster, CO, run their gas fireplace almost every day when the weather turns. “Everyone loves our cozy fireplace,” says office manager/optician Heather Aites. In addition to helping customers thaw, this modern fixture demonstrates that a fireplace can work in a sleek, contemporary optical. When they were designing the space, owners Drs. Rob and Loree Wagner chose to include a fireplace because they wanted it to feel like a living room, an effect enhanced by the two oversized armchairs placed in front of it. When staff start seeing snow, usually in late October, they turn it on in the morning and may run it all day, often through to March. “It warms the lobby and we think it looks beautiful. Especially around the holidays, we love decorating it with our Christmas tree and stockings,” says Aites. She urges any eyecare biz with the space to consider a gas fireplace, place it centrally in the office and keep it well maintained. But be warned: “[Patients] adore it. Sometimes they don’t want to leave the chair for their exams.”

Spring Hill Eyecare fireplace

Spring Hill Eyecare
Spring Hill, TN

The grand fireplace now standing proudly in the optical at Spring Hill Eyecare in Spring Hill, TN once warmed the 1860s farmhouse that used to occupy the site. Like many of the rustic fittings at Spring Hill, it was salvaged by owner Dr. Rob Szeliga when he had the practice’s current building constructed in 2018. The gas fireplace is used throughout the year, though practice administrator Melanie Jenkins says its primary role is aesthetic, fitting perfectly with the overall design of the practice, whose exam lanes also have fireplace faces and mantles taken from the farmhouse. Jenkins encourages practices planning a redesign to include a fireplace in their plans if at all possible. “First timers come in and their expression is, ‘Oh wow!’” she says, adding that it lends the location “a wonderful sense of belonging, warmth and charm.”

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Yancey Eye Center fireplace

Yancey Eye Center
Vidalia, GA

Yancey Eye Center’s discreet inset stove offers further proof that an optometric office with an open, sleek and modern feel can still be enhanced by a fireplace. The long, low fixture is an integral part of its relaxed seating area, which also has a TV, and contributes to the inviting and calm atmosphere. The design of the fireplace is nicely integrated into Yancey Eye Center’s visual palette, which includes stone and walnut throughout. Owner Dr. Ronald Yancey says the fireplace adds to the overall patient experience created by the seating area, providing a comfortable and convenient place for patients to wait for their dilations to take effect.

Eye Center of the Dakotas fireplace

Eye Center of the Dakotas
Bismarck, ND

Eye Center of the Dakotas had a gas fireplace installed as part of a remodel, opting for a contemporary fixture ringed by tiles to blend with the clinic’s warm golds, eggplant and rich wood tones. The team stripped out the artificial logs: “Our patients can see well enough to know they are not real!” jokes office manager Deb Jaeger. It is very much a working fireplace, however. “Quick flip of the switch and we are toasty warm,” she says. “This is North Dakota; we could use the fireplace on just about any day of the year!” It serves as a focal point and adds to the welcoming feel of the lounge, which is furnished with soft chairs, loveseats, cozy rugs and leather ottomans to make patients feel at home. It also adds another conversation piece to join the works by local artists that grace the practice. “As winter weather knocks on our doors, it draws people to the corner to wait for their appointments and allows them to linger a bit longer when they are done,” says Jaeger.

Since launching in 2014, INVISION has won 23 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at [email protected].

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