A warm glow emanates from the firebox of this unusually shaped heater.  This heater is featured in a few photos and a short story in my book, “Masonry Heaters:  Designing, Building and Living with a Piece of the Sun.”  The homeowner and I collaborated on this design and construction.  The design itself grew out of the evolving wishes of the owner and the demands of the material we had on hand rather than pre-determined ideas. A masonry heater is a much more personal aspect of a home than is a typical fireplace.  The ultimate design should meld with the way the owner’s live and complement their artistic preferences including color and texture choices.  It is more akin to furniture than it is to framed artwork. This 5 ½” thick massive piece of Pennsylvania red sandstone slab was the starting point for this project.  Most of the heater bench and body came from this one slab.  As you can see by the men standing on the stone, the slab measures about 6 feet wide and 12 feet long. Full size paper templates were laid over the stone.  The individual pieces were marked and then cut to the line. The cut bench stones here are trial-fit for their respective positions.  The lozenge-shaped space in the center represents the location of the heater itself. The largest bench slab weighed approximately 1100 pounds.  I used hand winches and straps around the timber framework to lift the huge slab into place.  Some people still don’t believe me when I tell them I set this stone by myself.  The photo is proof as other workers on the site watch me do it! The “scraps” from the huge stone slab were individually marked for cuts to make pieces of the veneer of the heater.  All pieces were cut on site with a handheld gas-powered cutoff saw. Here the heater veneer is about half done.  Single slabs of 5” thick stone measuring around two feet in height make the heater grow quickly. The oven shelf and oven arch here are temporarily supported by wood.  The arched piece over the oven was provided by nature, not a chisel. The complete heater.  “Trees” sit on the benches carrying the load of timbers above.  The color gradations of the natural stone are spectacular. Living room view of the finished product.  The massive 1100 pound stone juts into the living space.  It’s natural edge provides plenty of room to sit and soak up the warmth of the heater. The completed heater in open living space.  The two-flue chimney of Roman brick towers in the room and contrasts with yet complements the natural red stone below it.  This is ideal heater placement; its right in the middle of daily life. The house is completed and the heater’s benches provide additional seating in the living room.  Masonry heaters always are most appreciated when they become a vital part of the living space rather than just a thing to look at. The bakeoven side of the heater features a natural concavity in the bench stone.  This permits the baker to more easily access the oven.  The doors are framed by trees and stone.