When I began working as a carpenter in 1972, a fireplace was a luxury for a home, and homeowners had to decide if their budget had room for this extravagance. Now, for most homes I build, the question is, how many fireplaces can we afford? A fireplace in any room creates strong emotional responses and serves as a focal point.The woodwork, or mantel, around a fireplace is a great place for craftspeople to show off their skills. I do my best to make the fireplace and mantel fit the style of the home as well as the scale of the...

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