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HOME: Make a fireplace the center of your home

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Since the dawn of time, man has been fascinated with fire. From providing warmth, to cooking, and even in making the tools to progress, fire been a useful and aesthetically pleasing part of life. In today's domestic setting, we mostly think of fire for warmth. We also consider the seductive nature of the comfort and ambience fire brings to our homes.

Today's modern fireplaces act as a central gathering point for the family and surround us with a feeling of well-being as we sip a glass of wine or a cup of hot chocolate.

These days, nearly anything is possible with the new installation or retrofit of a fireplace. "After the homeowner gives us an idea of what they want, we can guide them through building their perfect fireplace," says Mark Jeronimus, owner of The Fireplace Corner in Duluth. "Any decor can be matched or enhanced with the application of the correct surround, mantle, hearth and front."

Homeowners can choose from a variety of fuel types from wood, to fuel pellets to gas. The heat from the fireplace can flow throughout the home by use of nearly silent doorway fans.

"Today's modern fireplace can be placed in any room in any home and become a centerpiece of social activity or a bastion of refuge," says Bryan LaCore, also of the Fireplace Corner. "The application is

limited only by the imagination of the homeowner."

While a fireplace adds a homey beauty to a room, safety should be a top concern, Jeronimus says. "Make sure that your provider has trained installation technicians and equipment is UL® certified," he advises. "Also, check with your insurance agent to ensure there are no

issues with your installation ... there seldom is."

Here are photos of a few of the many types and styles of fireplaces available locally.