Learn Steps
Search  Sign In
Skip Navigation Links
Home
Web Design Training
Do It Yourself
Outdoors
Skip Navigation LinksHome/Do It Yourself/Southwestern Decor/Southwest Decorating Ideas
Skip Navigation Links.

Kiva (bee hive) Fireplaces

by
Terry Bailey
The Kiva or Bee Hive fireplace with their distinctive arched firebox door is typical of southwestern design and most often placed in a corner. Historically these Kiva Fireplaces were constructed of the same adobe material used to construct the home.

Traditional Kiva Fireplace
© Grand River Supply
Traditional custom Kiva Fireplace
The Kiva or Bee Hive fireplace with their distinctive arched firebox door is typical of southwestern design and most often placed in a corner. Historically these Kiva Fireplaces were constructed of the same adobe material used to construct the home.

Custom bee hive fireplaces can be found in almost limitless styles and must be installed by a mason and required a solid foundation to hold the great weight of the entire fireplace and chimney all the way through the roof. Today we have more options available to us. All kiva fireplaces should be installed only by a qualified contractor.

A modern option to a mason built kiva fireplace is a prefabricated masonry firebox with double wall chimney pipe which creates a relatively lightweight fireplace weighing about 650 pounds and can even be installed on the second floor of a wood constructed home. The traditional kiva shape is formed using a metal mesh lath facade covered with stucco or plaster.

Shalako Kiva Fireplace
© Grand River Supply
Installed Shalako Kiva Fireplace Kit
Grand River Supply is one company that not only sells these prefabricated kiva fireplaces throughout the American Southwest, but can ship them almost anywhere. I was surprised to learn that it is not unusual for them to ship these fireplaces to New York or Hawaii. Their kiva fireplace kits are available in four traditional styles that can be installed indoors or out. The smallest is the Laguna Kiva which is a no frills basic kiva fireplace. The Sandia Kiva (below right) and Hopi Kiva add a stylistic face frame and are slightly larger. The largest and most elaborate is the Shalako Kiva (below left).

Custom mason built outdoor kiva fireplace
© Grand River Supply
Custom built outdoor kiva fireplace
El Patio Outdoor Kiva Fireplace Render
© Grand River Supply
Rendering of an installed El Patio style outdoor kiva fireplace kit
Outdoor living has become very popular and has led to creating comfortable living and cooking areas outside the home. Kiva fireplaces are a popular outdoors addition throughout the southwest. Some examples of outdoor kivas have been included in the photos on this page.

In response to the overwhelming demand, Grand River Supply has recently added to their collection, the El Patio Kiva Fireplace kit.

Additions that add Charm and Distinction

Sandia Kiva Fireplace
© Grand River Supply
Installed Sandia style kiva fireplace kit
The benches extending outward from the kiva fireplaces above are called bancos and can be styled as the builder desires. It is however a permanently installed bench. Often the home owner will place cushions on the banco for greater comfort. It is common for boncos to extend the hearth of a kiva fireplace. A banco can be placed on either or both sides of the kiva fireplace.

Another common feature added to a kiva fireplace is one or more nichos. A nicho is a recessed shelf commonly cut out of an adobe wall. Traditionally the nichos were added for placing religious icons throughout the home. Of course any small decorative item may be placed in a nicho.

Copyright © 2009 Prairie 21