So our home was built in 1961, and had an open fireplace and hearth that would not heat the home. It actually stole heat from the remainder of the house, and would back draft both the furnace and water heater. My wife and I closed on the property in December 2007 and began our renovation the following January. We completely gutted the basement, which had two long rooms the length of the house, divided in the middle by the stairway and furnace/laundry room. The original hearth was in a long narrow room, which was quite an awkward space. We decided to divide the room into two, creating a new hobby room on one side and the new library with the fireplace Last year we finally removed the existing raised hearth, installed a new hearth stone and a new Jotul Oslo wood stove. Here is our build; The new subdividing wall looking towards the fireplace. Demolition of the original masonry hearth. Demolition nearly complete.