Question: We're looking for information regarding 'conversation pits' that were apparently incorporated into some homes back in the late 60's / early 70's. We've looked at a home recently that appears to have a conversation pit that they've attempted to hide and we'd like to have a better idea on what these typically looked like, how efficient (or inefficient) were/are they, and how expensive are they to renovate if necessary. Answer: I have seen a few that were basically masonry "planters" built into the center of the room with a hood and metal chimney suspended above to vent the smoke. Both stock and custom units of this type have been made by www.malmfireplaces.com/ Being open fireplaces, they are probably not very efficient. A large amount of air which you already paid to heat is being drawn up the chimney along with much of the heat from the fire. If an older one was going to be used, you'd want to check the construction of the firepit to assure that heat could not transfer to wood or other materials which may surround it. In addition, you'd want to have a professional check the chimney setup.