The inset alcove or altar, as we're calling it, is just begging for a whimsical DIY project. The mantle is the first thing you see when you walk in our front door so it's the perfect place to establish the design for the overall house.
In times past, most people heated their houses using fireplaces, stoves and coal furnaces. Some people still do. It makes no difference which of these forms of heating one uses, there are always ashes or clinkers to get out of the house and hauled away without leaving a mess behind.
With winter upon us in the northern hemisphere, it's time to warm up with some of our favorite hotel hearths. Because whether you're high in the Alps or at the heart of a city, there's nothing quite like sitting by the fire.
Some of our local experts see wood as a future fuel, a serious source of biomass energy. But the realities and science of air quality could cause us to question some of our long held assumptions about the wholesomeness of a fire.