Fireplace Inspiration

Our current fireplace is a hot cosmetic mess. We've got a decent hearth and a mantle that's outdated and basically nonfunctional because of the wall box that juts out about 18 inches above it. The wall box above the mantle houses the fireplace chute or chase (we cut a hole in the sheetrock and took a peek). It appears the original builder planned to run the chute/chase straight up, but whoopsie, it ran into the upstairs hallway. The builder's solution appears to have been to add a 90 degree elbow and run the chute/chase out (above the mantle) which allowed the chute/chase to go in between the walls upstairs instead of out and in the middle of the hallway. Because of this, our solution will ultimately involve a specialist to professionally manage the fireplace chute or chase.

Since there is no way to rerun the chute chase and make the wall box flush, I've come up with what, I believe, are our two solutions - both of which involve hiring a professional to move the firebox forward:

1. Move the fireplace box forward and re-connect the chute/chase so that its a straight shot up (instead of the 90 degree elbow it currently has). With this solution we can lose the hearth or keep the hearth. If we decide to keep the hearth we will a) incure more brickwork or tile expense and b) we will loose 2 feet or so of walkway in the living room space. 2. Again, move fireplace box forward, but simply lose the hearth.

Option 1: Move firebox forward; keep hearth; everything above is flush:

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2. Option 2: Move the firebox forward; loose the hearth; whole wall is flush:

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Any Thoughts? Hearth or no hearth? - Jenn

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