Looky what I hauled home the other night — a retro red fireplace!


I saw the Craigslist ad the day after it was posted. (The very nice seller must have been slightly color blind because he listed this as orange and it is most definitely red) I had previously decided that I needed one of these vintage Preway fireplaces for my collection of retro goodness — and I’ve never seen one for $150 before. Every other similar fireplace on Craigslist or Ebay has been listed for $300 or more. Why are they so expensive? Anyone know?


Like Leo, you are probably wondering what the heck I am going to do with this mid century fireplace — well I had something like this in mind.

Malm fireplace outdoors design within reach

The photo above is a Malm fireplace from the Design Within Reach website. This is a very pricey model, but I hoped to create a similar setting with my much brighter and much less expensive version.


I didn’t get much red smokestack with this guy — and I’m not really sure how high the smokestack needs to be for outdoor use, but I should probably get some sort of cover to put over the top of the pipe for when the fireplace is not in use (like over the winter).


The plan is to use this out on my oval patio in the back yard. I’m going to keep it under the porch roof for this winter.


It is so nice and shiny — and I’d like to keep it that way for as long as possible, but I know Wisconsin winters will be rough on it. Does anyone have any experience with using these fireplaces outdoors?



  1. OMGosh. I called my husband over immediately. He has been desperate for an outdoor fireplace and wants always to buy WEIRD things. This is so incredible. I am having a heart attack. I told my husband if he found one of these I APPROVE the outdoor fireplace. I went over and looked at Design Within Reach. GULP on the $1500. We won’t do it. But the white with the flue extension would honestly be so cool for our patio. You have given me the best Idea. Unbelievable. Nice work.

    • I’m glad you were inspired Rebecca! I have no idea why they are so expensive on Design Within Reach (except for pretty much everything they have is expensive) but now you know what to look for and I’m sure you can find a vintage model for much less than $1500. Good luck in your search!

    • Thanks Mollie D, I don’t know how I find them…I guess I just keep looking and when I see something I have been searching for, I buy it right away. It would look cool on the tiki porch as well — my dad emailed me asking if I wanted to vent it through the roof of the porch so it could stay there. I’ll have to think about it over the winter, but my initial intent was for it to live on the back patio. πŸ™‚


  3. Hi Kate! I love your find–we found one this summer that we use on our patio at our 1963 split-level in Port Washington. $50 bucks on Craigslist!!! Our kids lovingly named him Frankie; he was found in a barn, and we had to paint him ‘chevy orange’ to get him back to his original color. Frankie is the gem of our yard and has many admirers, and we are now admiring him in our garage for the winter! πŸ™‚

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  8. Hi kate, thanks for sharing this with us. I actually just got the same exact one of craigslist here in central NJ. Unfortunately it doesn’t have the feet, but I think I should be able to easily fabricate some new ones. I was wondering if you would be so kind as to provide me with some dimensions of the feet from yours (height of the feet and the width of the square steel tubes). also it would be super helpful if you could possible email me some close up pictures of the underside with the feet. Thank you so much in advance, i’m so excite about finding it and want to be able to use it with some feet

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  10. Awesome find! We found one here in central NY just about 2 years ago for $100… yes, also on good ol’ Craigslist – (what did we do before CL??) . Anyhow, ours is also fire engine red, but it sits on a circular enclosed base instead of legs, and we got a bit longer chimney and an elbow with it. We’re not sure who made it. We’d send a picture but it’s up at our camp in Vermont awaiting a brick hearth and the rest of it’s chimney… can’t believe there’s so many fans of these cool Jetson’s fireplaces, thanks for showing it Kate! Roger in NY

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  12. I absolutely adore what you’ve done with your house. I, too, have a mid-century home, mine is a rambler because it has a basement. The fireplace you got is cool. I’d like to tell you to be mindful of your neighbors when you burn it. I have a neighbor who put a fire pit in his backyard a few of years ago. In the spring, summer, fall he burns it daily. I can’t be out in my yard when he does because the smoke makes it difficult for me to breathe. I used spend all day in my yard from sunup to sundown gardening and doing projects but can no longer do that. So just be aware and don’t burn everyday. It does dirty the air and clean air is becoming a rarity.

    • Thanks Janet!

      Are you sure you aren’t my neighbor? I never actually used my retro red fireplace yet because I also have neighbors who burn 365 days a year. In the winter they burn in their fireplace, and it is pretty stinky. Not sure if they burn garbage or wet wood or what. I used to get a reprieve in the middle of the heat of summer, but then they too built a fire pit on their back patio and burned every evening. At first they left the ashes to smolder all day until they relit the fire at night, but we asked them if they could please put them out at night when they are done, as the smoke was bothering us and it was a fire hazard if windy and they did, but every night at dusk, they would burn smokey, stinky fires using brush and leaves and wood from around the lot. If they start to look like they are going to burn every night this coming summer, my husband and I are going to ask them if they can limit it to once or twice a week in the summer. If they refuse, we just may report their firepit to the city, since the kind they have is illegal here (fire pits in our area must be in an enclosed container like my retro red fireplace, a chiminea or pit with a top).

      You might try asking your neighbor if he could burn at sundown, after you are out of the garden for the day, or limit his burning to a few times a week. Sometimes if people know they are bothering others, they are quick to stop. If you try this and he still burns all the time, then perhaps check your city burning regulations to see if he is in violation and report him.

      I always favor being courteous and asking before reporting to the city, but if nothing else works, that might be your last option.

      If I were to have a campfire in my retro red fireplace, it would likely be only 4-5 times a summer on holiday weekends like fourth of July. I would never make it a daily occurrence because I know first hand how annoying it can be.

  13. Good score! I just snapped one up in the same color but it didn’t come with a base because it was sitting on custom cement/brick base being used as a basement fireplace. Just wondering if the standard bottom/base is a thick steel plate or if there is a couple inches of cement as well? Thanks

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