Toasty & Warm

Austin Townsend, owner of Victorian Sales, helps you heat up this winter in style.

By Melissa Mauzy
Photography by Colin Miller/Strauss Peyton


In business for more than three decades, Victorian Sales offers quality products including gas burning, wood burning, outdoor living, chimney venting, heating and AC, specialty hearth and waterfalls to suit your style and heating needs.

SLHL: What are the advantages to a wood-burning fireplace?

Austin: Wood burning is what most people expect in a fireplace. There are several types of wood-burning fireplaces. The first is pre-fab, which consists of a metal box with an air-cooled pipe and does not produce heat since it does not have a sealed combustion area. The other types are high-efficiency wood-burning fireplaces, which require a stainless insulated chimney pipe with sealed doors and blowers which provide a great heat output, and full-masonry custom built on site by a brick or stone mason. If you do not purchase a high-efficiency wood-burning fireplace, you will be losing more heat than you gain from the fireplace.


SLHL: What are the advantages of a gas-burning fireplace?

Austin: Gas fireplaces offer the convenience of immediate heat, higher efficiencies than wood burning and many more styles and sizes. A variety of options and features are available including remote controls, logs, crushed glass, rock and decorative fine art for the media.


SLHL: What is the difference between a vented fireplace and a ventless?

Austin: A vented fireplace vents to the outdoors, and ventless or vent-free is a unique burner system that does not require any venting to the outside due to the efficient clean-burning design. Both have been manufactured for years, and each has its place. Vent-free products operate at 99 percent efficiency, burn the cleanest of all and have the added safety feature of an ODS pilot system that is constantly monitoring the oxygen level in the room as it operates.


SLHL: What do you recommend to update an existing fireplace?

Austin: Several things can be done to update a wood-burning fireplace. Add new doors in a new finish such as oil-rubbed bronze, brushed nickel or classic black. Doors also come in a variety of styles and finishes: arched; rectangular; inside custom fit or overlap; mission; heavy iron, or combination finishes. Switch to gas if you’re tired of wood burning. Another option would be to add a gas glass burner system and select a complementary color of glass. We’ve done black reflective, bronzes, blues, icy white and platinum. A couple of clients have mixed their alma mater colors – black and gold for Mizzou, etc.