Before & After Photos

Wooden Sun Installations

Below are some “before” and “after” images from fireplace and hearth installations Wooden Sun has completed.


Historic home in Staunton, Virginia had a mantel, a thimble, and unlined chimney. The photo on the left is what we found after removing plaster. Wood studs directly against the chimney are a major fire hazard! With proper expertise, we made this a safe installation for a wood burning stove by using high temperature, “Class A” chimney for the thimble (2″ clearance to combustibles) and re-lining the chimney with stainless steel flex liner. Safe, efficient, warm and beautiful! Tile work by our very own Blake Hunter.


The old direct vent fireplace on the left was not only not producing much heat, but also it was not terribly attractive to the customer. Wooden Sun designed and oversaw the construction of an alcove and chase that housed a brand new Encore 2n1 Wood Stove from Vermont Castings–the most efficient and cleanest burning stove in the world. We installed the new granite hearth from Richard Oliva and Sons (over 600 pounds!), and oversaw the installation of tile by Sarisand. Quite a difference in both heat output and beauty!

Jorge Collinswood

Customer added a family room and wanted a gas fireplace that would not take up too much room but would provide a back up heat source in case of a power outage. Wooden Sun designed and oversaw the fireplace portion of the project. Valor H4 gas fireplace with creekside rock engine and vintage iron outer landscape surround, nickel powder coat inner bezel. Slate tile surround by Jorge; Collinswood cranbrook mantel shelf in alder wood with a clear coat finish. 24,000 BTUs of convenient, beautiful warmth!

before and after ventana

Customer was not satisfied with their builder-grade direct vent fireplace, either with how it looked or the heat output–in spite of how big it was. We removed the existing fireplace and venting and installed a Valor Ventana fireplace system, along with the the tile surround, hearth and a brand new cherry mantle by Premier.

before and after-alderman

Customer did not like the look of this wood stove alcove, and also did not want to burn wood. Wooden Sun removed the stove, demolished the alcove, framed and installed a Valor H4 gas fireplace, along with the mantel, stone surround, soapstone hearth and custom shelving. Quite a transformation! We even had to move a central vacuum inlet that was in the way–comes in handy to have Class A contractors doing your fireplace installation!

digiralamo before and after

Here we replaced an inefficient, builder grade direct vent fireplace (in a huge, brick-veneered chase; the scaffolding was over 35′!) with a high efficiency, BIS Ultima Clean Face woodburning fireplace. We did away with the mantel, and replaced it with a more contemporary Dracme Stone facing from floor to ceiling. Quite a makeover!

tradition ce

Customer had a factory-built wood burning fireplace with a gas log set installed. This is an inefficient way to obtain heat. In fact, most of the heat goes up the flue, along with a lot warm air from the home. Such a set up could never heat more than the immediate area around the fireplace and often has an overall efficiency that is negative. In other words, the home is cooled by its operation.We removed the old unit and chimney and replaced it with a high efficiency wood burning fireplace by BIS – the Tradition CE. This 55,000 BTU unit burns for up to 8 hours and can heat 1500 square feet. With a fresh air kit, it burns virtually no air from the home and is very efficient and clean burning. It has a beautiful glass viewing area with a self cleaning air wash system.

cappucio before and after

A typical wood burning fireplace in a Charlottesville home, with a vertical format, is transformed with a Valor Portrait Series fireplace, installed as an insert, with a Ledge Front kit and custom surround.

Valor Portrait Series

Before: Old drafty wood burning fireplace. After: efficient G3 Gas Fireplace Insert from Valor. Realism, warmth and convenience!

fireplace doors

The beautiful new, custom fireplace door set on the right is from Stoll and was installed by Wooden Sun. The photos speak for themselves!


This builder grade direct vent fireplace jutted out into the room more than the customer wanted, and was not particularly attractive or efficient. We removed the old unit and all the framing, reframed and installed a Valor Portrait Ledge Front fireplace, Collinswood Mantel, and co-ordinated the new tile and granite hearth installation. A complete makeover!

fireplace doors

This is a common installation of a Regency H2100 Hearth Heater in front of a factory built fireplace. This is a very cost effective way of converting an inefficient factory built fireplace into a highly efficient means of heating up to 1500 square feet of living space!


Customer did not like their vent free fire box–either the look or the smell. We somewhat surgically removed the vent free firebox (not always possible), and installed a Valor Horizon direct vent fireplace system, vented through the roof. No air from the home is involved in combustion, and the looks is dramatically improved. Heat and efficiency in one great fireplace!


A tree fell on the customer’s house and damaged the chimney and chase beyond repair. We removed the old fireplace system and installed a new wood-burning fireplace system, Pennsylvania blue stone hearth, Dracme real stone surround, and custom wood trim. These sorts of hearth makeovers are one of our specialties!

before and after-zanin

Customer did not like the heat out put of their fireplace. They were also not crazy about the marble but were willing to keep it, if possible. We did a cut and gut and replaced the old inefficient builder grade fireplace with a Valor Horizon. We were not able to find a suitable match to replace the header, which needed to be re-sized after the cut and gut, so we replaced the surround and hearth with some new granite that the customer loved.

before and after-harris

Customer did not like the traditional look of his fireplace and hated the vent free logs. We removed the old fireplace and mantel and replaced it with a Valor H4, creating the contemporary look and feel the customer wanted. Now they have a back up heat source and beauty all in one!

before and after-supreme chasser

Customer had an old, inefficient direct vent fireplace system and wanted to convert to a high efficiency wood-burning fireplace. We also replaced the builder grade mantel, slate surround and hearth with a new mantel, granite hearth and surround. This unit serves as a primary heat source! The advantage of a high efficiency fireplace over a wood stove is primarily the smaller amount of space they take up in a room. Customer originally wanted a wood stove which would have required more construction and taken up a lot of space in a not terribly large room. Customer was very skeptical that a fireplace could heat his house, so we bet the customer that if the fireplace didn’t meet his heating goals, we would tear it out and replace it with a wood stove. It’s been years and we have not heard back from the customer!

before and after-doyle-propst

Ugly old brick fireplace in the basement which did not draft well (they often times don’t in basements). Notice the smoke stains above the fireplace opening. We installed a G3 gas insert which heats like a champ and looks beautiful too! And nooooo smoking!

before and after-zeller

Customers had an old coal-burning fireplace with an unlined chimney–not safe for use (not to mention fairly ugly)! The mantel legs had also been chopped off to fit a raised brick hearth that was installed after the fact (and was very ugly!). Wooden Sun removed the old hearth and framed both the hearth and firebox for a Valor retrofire gas insert and new hearth extension. We installed a custom soap stone hearth extension and surround and repaired the plinthe blocks at the bottom of the mantel (as well as some other cosmetic issues with the mantel). In addition to the seen part of the project, the chimney situation required significant customization to be safe. Wooden Sun excels at this type of custom work. We have craftsman that can accomplish almost any job. See what a difference Wooden Sun makes!


Older pre EPA wood-burning stove installed without much attention to clearances was causing serious pyrolysis to the mantel breast (notice the browning on the mantel). Eventually this mantel was in serious danger of catching fire. We removed the old stove, installed a new soapstone hearth and surround and an efficient, attractive Vermont Castings Resolute Acclaim, properly installed by NFI-certified professionals. These folks are now safely “basking in the warmth.”