Insider Tips: How to specify the right fireplace with Futureflip’s Neil Hipwell

Insider Tips: How to specify the right fireplace with Futureflip’s Neil Hipwell

Specifying and installing a gas fireplace can be a complicated process, with a lot to consider and a lot of people and trades involved. Just how complex however depends on the design details of your project – the location within the room, the fireplace surround, and the sophistication of the fireplace itself.

It may sound overwhelming, but with Escea fireplaces, it can be navigated. And one such person who knows the process well is owner of design and build company, Futureflip, Neil Hipwell.

Neil has been working with Escea products for years, favouring them for their high efficiency, flexible installation possibilities and sleek, minimalist design.

So, we asked Neil to talk us through what he’s learnt when it comes to specifying fireplaces, and his best tips for navigating the process successfully.

The Escea DS1400 installed in Futureflip's most recent duplex project in Waverley, NSW, supplied and installed by Hot Water and Heating.

1. Planning ahead pays off

As owner of a busy design and build company with multiple developments on the go at any one time (often multi-residential), it’s important that Neil and his team plan well ahead. When it comes to specifying a fireplace, it’s no different.

“The best time to decide on a fireplace is early on in the design process as this will play a big part in the design decisions that follow,” says Neil. “A fireplace is an anchor, so it’s important to spatially allocate the fireplace within the room – you will want to situate everything around this hero feature.”

To help with this process early on, Escea has a dedicated Architectural and Building Advisory Team on hand to help with everything you need to specify the fireplace with ease – from navigating tricky installs, to complex flue runs and helping advise on surround materials. 

Escea has a wealth of resources available to assist you in specifying and installing your gas fireplace.

2. Use the resources available

At the beginning of the project, Neil’s design team also need to ensure everything is in place to accommodate the fireplace installation, for example, flue runs and clearances. 

Escea provides CAD drawings, detailed plans, and 3D images for all their fires, so designers can easily integrate the fire into their plans – they can be downloaded directly from the Escea website so are always available, whenever required. “Our design team uses the Escea CAD files regularly, it makes it quick and easy to allocate the fireplace within the design,” says Neil.

Escea’s flexible fluing and zero clearance rating allows for fireplaces to be integrated into bespoke joinery surrounds.

3. Flexible fluing is essential

Unlike many other fireplaces, Escea fireplaces use Powered Direct Vent technology with flexible flues, making most types of installs possible. Escea flues can run through the ceiling, out the wall or even under the floor. “You can pretty much install them anywhere in the house,” says Neil.

This is particularly beneficial when it comes to designing multi-residential buildings as Escea flues can be extended up to 40m long.

4. Single room vs multi-room heat ducting

When it comes to heat output, most fireplaces distribute heat directly from the front of the fireplace, heating just the room the fire is located in. However, Neil explains “A lot of people also don’t realise that you can duct the Escea DX Series, so you can heat your entire house. It draws the heat away from the fireplace and sends it to multiple, other rooms within the house.”

5. Don’t limit your imagination

As trends comes and go, there’s more and more demand for contemporary fireplace styles. And while a traditional square-style fireplace is still a popular option, advances in technology has opened a world of fireplace design possibilities. “Lots of people are choosing concrete surrounds for their fireplaces. We’re also seeing a lot of venetian plaster, engineered stone and dry stack stone,” says Neil.

Escea fireplaces have a Zero Clearance rating which means you don’t need non-combustible materials surrounding the fire – in fact, the fireplace can be surrounded in timber, be built directly into a wall of joinery, and even have a TV placed just a minimal 200m above.

When it comes to style, Escea fireplaces come in a range of options, from single sided fireplace inserts perfect for retrofitting, to frameless and linear double-sided fires.

“The double-sided fireplace is a huge trend – not only does it look amazing, it’s also a great room divider. The design possibilities are endless with Escea.”

The Escea DS1650 makes a striking room divider -visually connecting two spaces.

6. Smart homes are the future

Advances in technology has also meant gas fireplaces like Escea’s can be operated and controlled remotely.

“We love the integration of our Escea gas fire into our smart home system, and the ability to turn it on remotely. We turn the fire on before we leave Sydney for our holiday house in Gerringong, so it’s nice and warm when we arrive.”

Escea’s Smart Heat app lets you turn the fire on or off from your phone, control the temperature or set timers, all from the comfort of your couch, or like Neil, from the car on your way home.

Neil’s own holiday home, Bunker House in Gerringong features an Escea DS1650 gas fireplace fully integrated into his smart home technology.  

With Esceas innovative technology, there’s not a lot you can’t do when it comes to gas fireplace design –find out how to bring your vision to life by speaking to one of our Architectural Advisory team via

Still weighing your options? Browse our range.

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