If you have a traditional masonry fireplace but lack the time or desire to build a fire, consider the alternatives. Go faux with a 3-D simulated fireplace, complete with HDFV -- high-definition fireplace vision -- and a space heater to provide warmth.
The exciting choices today in hearth heating take the quaint charm of traditional fireplaces and add a modern twist. They include the Reflections-brand simulated fireplace that uses a DVD player and a digital audio system to create the real look, feel and sound of a crackling home fire.
Another popular option are gas fireplace inserts installed in traditional masonry fireplaces. There is no wood, fire-starting, smoke or ashes involved. Some even come with remote controls to turn the flame up or down. A thermal blower provides the warmth. A lot of homeowners add gas fireplace inserts to complement existing furnace heating in their home.