Using clay tile to reline an old chimney so that you can safely enjoy those nightly blazes will set you back a few thousand bucks. At this house, a Victorian cast-iron gas insert—vented via a steel tube placed in the chimney and finished with tiled side panels—struck us as a stylistically fitting and economical way to keep the fire burning. The faux-brick firebox is made from heat-reflective ceramic that radiates warmth into the room instead of up the stack, keeping you even cozier. Another bonus:
No more ashes to scoop out. While installing an insert is a pro's job (find one at National Fireplace Institute
), enjoying the result is all yours.