Build a kiva fireplace indoors or in your backyard.
The Kiva fireplace originated with the early Native Americans. A kiva was a pit house used as a place of worship, containing a fire pit in the center and the smoke exited through a smoke hole in the ceiling.
In modern times, the kiva has evolved into a fireplace resembling a rounded beehive such as the ones used to house bees in early America. During the Spanish Colonial era, the kiva fireplace was located in the corner of a room and had a rounded shape. It would appear as if it were an extension of the adobe walls.
The kiva fireplace is a modified dome shape with an opening for the firebox and another on top for the flue. Kivas may have a butterfly damper in the flue, but normally they are created with a smoke shelf for installing a traditional lever type damper.
Kivas are surely the most efficient way to conduct heat. The normal construction of a kiva fireplace is of adobe brick. As the fire heats the adobe, it stores the heat and radiates it into the area.
As an architectural feature, the kiva fireplace can be a focal point in a living room, a bedroom, or even a kitchen. Bancos and nichos installed into the surface of the adobe create handy places to display artwork or any number of interesting items.
Another imaginative way to incorporate a kiva into your Southwestern Dream Home is to move outdoors into your backyard. The fireplace can be placed in a sheltered ramada, or left open-air to take advantage of the awesome Southwestern night skies.
Imagine the desert landscape cooling from the scorching heat of the day as is typical of this part of the country. You place a few mesquite logs into the fireplace, and light up for a fragrant treat. What better way to relax after a day of recreation, or a hard day at work. The stars wink overhead, millions of eyes into the universe, just awaiting your contemplation at a more leisurely, Southwestern pace.
A kiva fireplace is a great way to create a homey atmosphere for your outdoor kitchen as well. The Native Americans had it right when they cooked their meals under the sky instead of inside. Today, were just as lucky to have the opportunity to become one with nature and partake of our meals in the shade of a palo verde tree. If were lucky, a few quail will visit, with a dozen or so tiny chicks trailing behind, almost too small to see.
If you're interested in creating your own
, here's an article on how to do it. These guys are seriously resourceful!