What more appealing scene can you conjure up on a wintry day than a pair of comfortable armchairs pulled up to a crackling fire while wisps of smoke curl from the chimney top? All your senses are in use--the sight of the flickering flames, the sound of the crackling logs, the warmth on your face, and the fragrance and taste of wood smoke. The hearth truly is the essential core of every home, whether it is an actual fireplace or merely a mantel displaying the treasures and trophies of intertwined lives. Long past the days of strictly utilitarian purpose, fireplaces and stoves are a design feature in their own right. They are available in an array of styles, sizes, and colors; offer a variety of fuel choices; and feature benefits beyond mere aesthetics, including heat and cooking. Fireplaces and heat sources are also widely found in many rooms throughout the house, including the family or living room, bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom, as well as outdoors. And the latest innovations in fireplace and stove technologies make having one no longer an expensive proposition.