This is a picture of our old living room. (It's not a great picture- sorry.) Ryan remodeled the fireplace. When we first moved in, it was used brick with a black grout. It also was smaller in width and had a faux brick chimney facade that went up the wall. Ryan took it down and built the wall arch thing, re-bricked the fireplace, and made the mantle. It made a big difference in the way the room worked. It made no difference in the way the fireplace worked- it still sucked all the warm air up and out of the chimney. It made for great ambiance, but had no heat value.
This is the fireplace insert we bought. Not the stone facade. The iron part you see, and the whole box part you can't see. It's a Napolean XZ3000. It's EPA certified as being clean and efficient. It can be ducted and heat an entire house. We have gone back and forth about what we are going to do for the rock/brick work, and we decided that we both really liked our old fireplace so much that we are going to duplicate the brick work and arch. We will even put the old shot gun up there. The picture of George Washington will have to be moved to a different spot, as our new ceilings are ten feet high, and our old living room had vaulted ceilings.
We got hung up on some legal technicalities with Title 24 calculations. We wanted to use this fireplace as our main source of heating, and we are putting in evaporative coolers instead of A/C (our climate is perfect for this), and we upped our insulation. All of that has to be recalculated so that the great state of California knows we meet a certain energy usage standard. It passed, but before we could finish the roof completely, we needed to know how many vent jacks we needed. Now that our ideas are stamped with approval (we are going to be a really energy efficient house) we can proceed!
And as for a finish date, we have talked and talked (and talked) about it, and we both want it done as fast as possible, but we also want it done right. We don't want to move and and in 10 years say "I wish we would have done this or this." Will it matter in 20 or 40 years that we stayed in the trailer for an extra few months? It won't. And as tedious and it is to live in the trailer (clothes storage just kills me), I don't want to be in this house for the rest of my life and always think "if only I could have lasted four more months." What's four months compared to 50+years? The next three months should be interesting in house progress. The outside will be finished, and the electrical and plumbing should be done. Then HVAC, insulation, drywall, plaster, flooring, cabinets... the list is really long. It's so long, if I think about it too long it makes my head hurt.