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Masonry fireplace to alcove conversion.

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I have a masonry fireplace in my family room that has a wood stove insert installed. The back of the chimney is exposed in the garage and seems to heat the garage much better than the living space.

I have decided to convert my firebox into a taller alcove so I'm not losing all of my heat up (outside) and back (garage). I'm going to make it so the perimeter is exposed so heat can circulate back out of the opening, and will install a steel liner all the way up.

The hard part is gonna be figuring out how to support the top front face with some steel.

I called my mason buddy who made it sound possible, but he said it will be tough to do. Do any of you have any ideas or words of wisdom for me? Am I an idiot for making the attempt? Have any of you seen this done?

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Why not look for some plans? I'm sure that someone had designed what you want. If you can get hold of some plans, you can probably build it.

If you're going to do an alcove, why have a fireplace at all? Why not just install a wood stove. You'd see way higher efficiency.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Hi Jim,

I've been searching for plans on- line. So far I have come up dry, but will keep looking.

I don't want to tear out the entire chimney, and would like to use the wood stove insert I already have--- it'll basically be just like a free standing unit when it's all said and done.

The fireplace location is about the best spot to place a wood stove in the home, and since it is inset it will be child friendly. By using what I already have, I figure I can save at a few thousand dollars.

I originally planned on buying a free standing wood stove. I was going to run the stove pipe into the chimney near ceiling level, but the room is too narrow.

I have to be careful with running anything up through my ceiling, because I have radiant ceiling heat. My plan when I bought the place was to install a forced air system. With the way the economy is right now, and with a baby on the way, I'm going to try to stick to free wood heat.

Once I get a working wood stove in place, I'llto try to figure out how to run a series of ducts with a fan in the attic. I'm hoping to pull the heat from the wood stove at one end of the home into the bedrooms on the other side of the home.

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