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Gather round the firepit and its heat-collecting hood.

An outdoor firepit can be a delightfully sociable place for friends to gather and chase away the chill evening air. There's plenty of room for gathering around the 7-foot-square pit at Sherryl and Bill Roberts' house in Sepulveda, California. Centered beneath a 13-foot-square trellis, the lava-filled firepit has benches around three sides. Behind the seats is a retraining wall that cuts into an elevated lawn.

Since this firepit is gas-fired, there's little problem with smoke--and no need for a chimney. What looks like a tile-banded chimney hood above the pit is really an ingenious trap to capture heated air as it rises: it collects under the hood, then billows out the sides toward the bench seats. Inside, the hood is fireproof--lined with tile set in a thick mortar bed. The mass of the tile and mortar stores heat and continues to release it long after the fire is extinguished.

A sturdy overhead trellis supports the considerable weight of the heat-trapping hood; 6-by-12 beams carry 4 by 6's. An open-ended box anchored to the center rafter holds the top of the hood in place. Set across the rafters for shading is a screen of 2 by 4's.

Design was by architect Mark Sutter. Tile work, including that on the perimeter retaining wall, was by the owner.
COPYRIGHT 1984 Sunset Publishing Corp.
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Copyright 1984 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:May 1, 1984
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