The north-west corner of Laurel and White Oak Way is looking a little more mid-century modern, along the lines of the Carlos Club, The Light House and J&M Hobby House.
ABA Hearth & Home recently moved from its leased space in the busy 800 block of Laurel to its new home behind Trader Joe’s.
ABA owners Kevin McKee and Melissa Verber – who also have a hearth shop in the city – bought the building at 1494 Laurel in 2010. They hired an architect specializing in mid-century design, who added architectural elements that give the building the general look and feel of the modern post-World War II style. A neon sign is in the works, too.
Hearth & Home has been around 20 years. McKee says he and his wife bought the business from the previous owner in 2009 and decided to keep the name, adding ABA to mark the change.
“There’s not been a nice fireplace showroom on the Peninsula since I’ve been in business,” McKee said, adding he and his wife decided to build a bigger, better showroom in a retail environment and not located in a warehouse in an industrial area.
McKee says the fireplace industry has changed a lot over the years, a fact that has helped his business do well, even in a sluggish economy. “Many places have become appliance stores. We’re still a hearth shop. We still do it all,” McKee said, adding ABA has its own installation, repair and chimney cleaning staff.
Old fashioned hearth places like ABA are basically one-stop-everything-to-do-with-fireplaces shops. The showroom carries screens, tool sets, stoves, gas inserts and mantels.
“Gas inserts are a huge trend,” said co-owner Melissa Verber. “With the change in the economy, people are going toward efficient gas inserts to heat as opposed to their old, open fireplaces.”
What does that cost? Total, installed with tax included: $3,500-$6,000. Of course, you can pay more. ABA carries some pretty high end products, like a hand carved stone mantel from Europe that’ll set you back an extra $20,000.
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