The brick or stone wood-burning hearth is the historic center of a home, providing heat and light in the absence of radiators, electric heating or modern lighting – but even a sleek contemporary metal fireplace surround tends to displace a great deal of space, which can be challenging in small homes already low on storage area.

This modular shelving system extends the classic mantel-as-shelf approach by allowing people to build on their own extra shelves as needed, attaching them all to the core metal chimney of the wood-burning stove below. Hopefully this vent is extremely well-insulated – books do not do well in extreme heat!

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Unlike its rustic and antique counterparts, this modern fireplace design idea by Arther Senant changes the focus from built-in decorative designs (carved wood or elaborate stone). Instead, the objects put on the mantel and shelves become the center of attention.