Light My Fire

Leah LeMoineDecember 1, 2015
Share This

photo courtesy Bobe Water & Fire FeaturesCozy up to the original light effect, in all its flickering glory.

It’s a curious commentary on the human psyche, how nature’s most dangerous element also makes us feel so safe and snug. Such is the case with fire.

“It’s alive, it moves and it takes on a life of its own if you let it,” says Samantha Thompson, co-owner of Tempe candle company Standard Wax. “You can get lost watching it – it dances and tells its story, whether it’s a tiny flame on a candle or a giant bonfire in your campsite.”

Harnessing the wild magic of our first light source has been a home necessity for millennia, from prehistoric caves to medieval castles to that candle on your nightstand.

“I think home is an emotional womb and believe that when we’re in a home – ours as king or queen, or hosting guests – all of our senses must be stimulated to feel comfort and rejuvenation,” says Cynthia Black, owner of C-MOD Curated Modern Design in Phoenix. “After all, isn’t controlled fire just an element that unconsciously evokes safety, the precursor of comfort? Think of our ancestors huddled around cave fires and you get my point. The warmth from today’s ‘cave’ fireplace not only evokes comfort, but the heat truly releases tired muscles.”

Of course, fireplace season is fleeting in Phoenix. As a result, Valley dwellers largely bring fire back outside for friends and family to cluster around fire pits and illuminating water features all year.

“Fire has become a cornerstone of outdoor aesthetics,” says Julie Crone, COO of Bobé Water & Fire Features. “When you consider all the options of design, fire is the element that draws energy and warmth, thus unifying both the space and people… After dinner we sit outside by the fire as our first chance to slow down, take a deep breath and recharge for the next day.”

photo courtesy Kym VentolaStandard Wax
“Candles on the table while you’re having dinner, no matter how casual, can make you feel like you’re in your favorite restaurant,” says co-owner Samantha Thompson. “Candles and mirrors or other reflective surfaces are always fun. It magnifies the light and creates a really fun atmosphere – plus you’re getting so much more light out of the flame.” Forest Floor candle, $30.


photo courtesy Arizona TileArizona Tile
14700 N. Hayden Rd., Scottsdale
“Tile works well to showcase fire by creating a focal point,” says Samantha Stinocher, marketing communications specialist. “Most customers don’t incorporate a fireplace into their home and then try to make it disappear. Even though fireplaces originated for function, they have always been used as a prominent design element.” Ivory honed 3D stack tiles in travertine come on a mesh mount for easy installation, and silver-beige, honed vein-cut limestone tiles come in various sizes. Prices range from $8-$14 per square foot.


photo by Angelina AragonC-MOD Curated Modern Design
4610 N. Seventh Ave., Phoenix
“Vintage fire items are usually about fireplaces, and the variety in types and styles is rather stunning,” says owner Cynthia Black. “Grates, andirons, tool sets, brushes, bellows, log holders, and don’t forget buckets and bins to hold ashes!” This vintage iron fireplace tool set ($69) can be used or displayed as art. “Do fire elements need to be presented with a fireplace or fire pit? Heck no!” Black says. “Many buckets and especially bellows can act as sculptural elements on side tables, beside chairs or end tables, or hold flowers, plants, odds and ends, or books. I’ve nestled brass-embellished bellows into bookshelves and set free-standing tool sets on cocktail and end tables as tall sculptural elements.”

For more than 50 years, PHOENIX magazine's experienced writers, editors, and designers have captured all sides of the Valley with award-winning and insightful writing, and groundbreaking report and design. Our expository features, narratives, profiles, and investigative features keep our 385,000 readers in touch with the Valley's latest trends, events, personalities and places.