Gary Striegler

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 room. In the home shown here, the fireplace was located in the great room, with high ceilings and tall cabinetry on both sides. The client...

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