Fireplaces glow with a sleek, contemporary look

  • Northwest Metalcraft owner Daniel Mayer, left, and installer Scott Selleck show a new Mendota linear gas fireplace with a stacked stone front that offers a contemporary look.

    Northwest Metalcraft owner Daniel Mayer, left, and installer Scott Selleck show a new Mendota linear gas fireplace with a stacked stone front that offers a contemporary look. Courtesy of Northwest Metalcraft

By Jean Murphy
Daily Herald Correspondent
Posted2/18/2017 6:00 AM

Curling up in front of a warm and mesmerizing fire is one of life's perennial pleasures -- whether inside in front of a fireplace or outside next to a fire pit. Northwest Metalcraft in Arlington Heights has been helping homeowners enjoy this simple pleasure since 1947.

The business also provides homeowners with a wide range of outdoor furniture (from more than 20 manufacturers), mailboxes, gas post lights, charcoal and gas grills, pellet smokers, propane and electric outdoor heaters and assorted accessories, all designed to help people better enjoy their leisure time at home with family and friends, according to Dan Mayer, owner.


During the fall and winter seasons, Northwest Metalcraft specializes in fireplaces and their accessories like glass doors, tool sets, screens and inserts, as well as both gas and wood stoves.

"We have over 100 glass doors on display in the store, for instance," Mayer said. "We also sell direct-vent, high-efficiency gas fireplaces for those who do not have one built into their home, and we sell inserts that go into existing fireplaces. The inserts actually put heat into a home instead of removing it through a chimney."

Northwest Metalcraft also offers the modern gas and electric linear fireplaces that use glass pellets with ceramic logs.

"My son has one. They give a real sleek, contemporary look to a room and some can almost heat an entire house if it is small. They can make a small home nice and cozy, come in all sizes and can just be plugged into an outlet if they are electric," Mayer said.

He said these contemporary fireplaces have really exploded on the local scene over the past three or four years.

"I have sold six or seven of them in just the last week," Mayer said.

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They come in a wide variety of looks. The Optiview crackles like a real fire, but doesn't put out any heat, for instance. Others come with thin, linear stone -- either smooth or rough -- around the opening. Mayer said there are a wide variety of choices.

During the spring and summer seasons, Northwest Metalcraft is best known for its products that enhance outdoor living like grills, smokers, fire pits, fire tables and outdoor lounge and dining furniture.

"You can really make a statement, depending upon what you put on your deck or patio," Mayer said. "Fire tables surrounded by comfortable lounge furniture, for instance, make a big impression on your guests."

And you can wow your dinner (or lunch) guests when you grill using flavored pellets, spices, planks and other accessories to make your cooking unique, he added.


"People are amazed at how well pellet cooking works. You honestly cannot screw up a meal, especially if you get one of those with a phone app that allows you to remotely check the temperature on your grill," Mayer said.

Those who want to be able to enjoy an early spring, if we get one, but are ready for a new outdoor look should consider checking out new outdoor furniture now, he continued. If you want a color or fabric that might not be in stock and needs to be special ordered, now is that time to do it if you want your furniture in time for Easter or Mother's Day.

"As soon as it gets warm, you can sit out there and enjoy the change of seasons. And if you have a propane or electric heater, you can do that even sooner. Those heaters really extend the seasons," he said.

Northwest Metalcraft was started by Mayer's parents, Ed and Irene Mayer, when Ed returned from World War II. Ed set up a wrought iron repair shop in the barns on the property at the time. But he was always looking for ways to expand his business.

One day Irene purchased a patio set for the family and set it up on the yard and when someone drove by and offered to buy it, Ed sold it and quickly told Irene to buy a few more sets.

"That is how they got into the patio furniture business," Mayer said. "He continued to make wrought iron rails, etc., but gradually got into the fireplace business to supplement the patio furniture business."

In the 1960s the Mayers added a large selection of grills to their inventory in order to capitalize on the outdoor grilling craze and before long they were running gas lines to gas grills and fully installing fireplaces for homeowners.

"A couple of years ago we wrote our millionth invoice and we are still here and growing, adding new customers every day," Mayer said.

Northwest Metalcraft is located at 413 S. Arlington Heights Road. For more information, call (847) 253-1905 or visit