The nightmare that is the fireplace may someday come to an end.
Not only do we have to replace everything from stove to chimney, but we also have to increase the size of the hearth. The current hearth is made out of concrete. So, although we would love to make something that looks nice, we knew that we should remain with the current materials, and save the expense of something new (for another time).
The project is is finished for step one. We will be adding more concrete and making everything “pretty” this spring.