Posted by on November 25, 2012 in My personal work, Portfolio | 39 comments


Custom FireplaceRefurbishing a fireplace.

 My client Richard M. has hired me on and off to do work at his home.

Richard presented me with blue prints from his architect. Redo of fireplace.
As simple as it may look, It was quite a challenge.
Precise framing work to create perfect squares and perfect spacing required some serious calculation.

The picture shows the final product of the fire place.


Over time the design of fireplaces has changed from one of necessity to one of visual interest. Early ones were more fire pits than modern fireplaces. They were used for warmth on cold days and nights, as well as for cooking. They also served as a gathering place within the home. These fire pits were usually centered within a room, allowing more people to gather around it.

Many flaws were found in early fireplace designs. Along with the industrial revolution came large scale housing developments, obviating a standardization of fireplaces. The most renowned fireplace designers of this time were the Adam Brothers. They perfected a style of fireplace design that was used for generations. It was smaller, more brightly lit, with an emphasis on the quality of the materials used in their construction, instead of their size.

By the 1800s most new fireplaces were made up of two parts, the surround and the insert. The surround consisted of the mantlepiece and sides supports, usually in wood, marble or granite. The insert was where the fire burned, and was constructed of cast iron often backed with decorative tiles. As well as providing heat, the fireplaces of the Victorian era were thought to add a cozy ambiance to homes


Some fireplace units incorporate a blower which transfers more of the fireplace’s heat to the air via convection, resulting in a more evenly heated space and a lower heating load. Fireplace efficiency can also be increased with the use of a fireback, a piece of metal that sits behind the fire and reflects heat back into the room. Firebacks are traditionally made from cast iron, but are also made from stainless steel.

Most older fireplaces have an efficiency rating near zero of less (negative effect that actually cools indoor home temperature) . Standard , modern, wood-burning masonry fireplaces. have an efficiency rating of as high as 15% . To improve efficiency , fireplaces can be modified by inserting special heavy fireboxes designed to burn much cleaner and can reach efficiencies as high as 80 % . These modified fireplaces are often equipped with a large fire window, enabling an efficient heating process in two phases. During the first phase the initial heat is provided through a large glass window while the fire is burning. During this time the structure, built of refractory bricks, absorbs the heat. This heat is then evenly radiated for many hours during the second phase. Masonry fireplaces without a glass fire window only provide heat radiated from its surface. Depending on outside temperatures 1 to 2 daily firings are sufficient to ensure a constant room temperature.


Fireplace Sketch

Fireplace Sketch


  1. Wow! Great lines and vision.

  2. You are so right it does look like it would be easy, lol, not really there is no way I could take the blue prints and do what you did! Such awesome work, great blog Dov.

  3. Great looking design!

  4. Dov Shapira you are being modest…there is nothing simple about they way this fire place looks…It is artwork and you are a true artist!

  5. There isn't many things better than laying next to your fire place on a sunday evening, and this is a beautiful fireplace.

  6. That's a really cool fireplace design. I love those square cutouts 🙂

  7. very cool!

  8. very nice

  9. Very interesting fireplace. I can appreciate the fine calculations that occurred during building of this work of art. I love the illustration with "Good luck Dov" on it which implies a challenge to be had.

  10. Love this fireplace! Thanks for always giving us such valuable information!

  11. This is great that you brought this to life, and made it a more efficient fireplace!

  12. In your opinion, which is better gas or wood? Beautiful work on the fireplace.

  13. You did a great job with his drawing and really made it come to life. Fireplaces are wonderful in the winter in Tucson.

  14. Great job, Dov! Measure twice…cut once!

  15. Love this post! A bad fireplace can be Dangerous!

  16. Love this gorgeous fireplace! The last time I used our fireplace, everyone had allergy problems. I wish we could enjoy the warmth and delight without the allergies. This fireplace would probably do that!

    • We have a "Fireplace" screensaver on our TV. We could just run that.

  17. That's a beautiful fireplace. The accent work really makes it stand out!

  18. I can imagine that getting the sections in the exact place could be a challenge. The end result is beautiful though. I have a beehive fireplace. We use it in the winter.

  19. This is beautiful! I never knew why some fireplaces are energy efficient and some are not. Thanks for the information this morning.

  20. That is a great fireplace, it is a clean fresh modern look. It isn't just a fireplace, with the squares inside, you can add different things and like the picture has on top a nicely framed picture. What a fun conversational piece.

  21. Very nice! 🙂

  22. What a GREAT fireplace! Such an innovative design!

  23. Nice work! Far better than I could ever do, that's for sure!

  24. What beautiful work!

  25. beautiful work

  26. This is an awesome looking fireplace.

  27. That was some very important information.

  28. Hey, cold days like today and next few days I wish I had a nice fireplace. My heat is on for over a month now.

  29. I love fireplaces, specially the ones made of out brick.

  30. Awesome fireplace, if I had one I would want it to look like that!

  31. I know I'd love a fireplace during this cold snap that's coming to Phoenix tomorrow. Brrr.

    • That sure is a unique one Dov Shapira.. have my fireplace going this evening..

  32. I Love Fireplaces ~ it may not get cold in AZ ~ their's always winter AZ nights you can at lease fire it up, or is it just for looks?

  33. Absolutely beautiful and it does get cold in Az,

  34. I like fireplaces but I seem weird to have one in AZ.