Best Doors For Winter #ThursdayDoors

We’re having a warm spell this week, but last week was frigid and we still have the last of January and then February. That being the case, my favorite doors now have to be these.

Last year, we went through a whole big Thing of looking for new and better doors for the fireplace. We didn’t just want doors; we also wanted a fireback to reflect the heat outwards. Blowers. A rack made of whatever Wolverine’s bones are made of and also a screen to keep sparks and logs where they belonged. So we did internet searches to rival the NSA’s, and ended up getting … wait for it … nothing.

When we had the chimney and fireplace built, the guy who built it told us he did Rumford fireplaces. We didn’t know Rumford from Rumsfeld, so we looked it up.

When we were researching the whole big Thing, we looked it up again.


  • Relatively shallow, with angled walls to reflect the heat outward
  • narrowed (choked) chimney throat to maximize smoke removal and minimize heat loss

So why did we need that other gear?

Well, we decided we didn’t.

…Maybe the screen would have been nice, but why spend money on a screen WHEN YOU HAVE A PERFECTLY GOOD CAST-OFF WINDOW SCREEN? Yeah, we’re that kinda people.

The chimney divides the living room from the kitchen and warms both rooms, though it’s only open to the living room. See that lip of bricks standing on end? The hearth used to be raised to that level, until our youngest ….

Okay. We were watching YOJIMBO, and our youngest decided we weren’t paying enough attention to her and took off running. She tripped and fell, hitting her head on the edge of the raised hearth. Blood. Panic. ER. Stitches. Scar. At one point in her life, she told people she was really a unicorn, and the scar was from when she had her horn removed. Why, yes, she IS a writer; how did you know?

So Charlie ripped out the raised hearth and put down tiles. Not gonna make his baby bleed and cry, damn ya!

We also (you do what to know this, don’t you?) call the hearth and chimney The Smokeys, because we forgot to open the damper ONE TIME when #4 Daughter was just learning to talk, and were wandering around staring at the chimney saying, “Why is it so smokey?” So she decided that bricks, the chimney, and the hearth must be called The Smokeys. We will always call them that.

This post is pretending to be part of Norm Frampton’s Thursday Doors link-up. Go to his blog, read his actual door posting, click on the blue frog link at the bottom of his post, and find more doors. No, not Mordor, more doors. Get your head out of that book and pay attention. (Oh, GOD, where did you come from, All My Teachers and Relatives?)

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Write an emergency with a child.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Best Doors For Winter #ThursdayDoors

  1. Joey

    January 12, 2017 at 8:43am

    This is the funniest doors post I’ve read in a long time! A unicorn, of course! I loved the shared language bit on the smokeys.
    I wish we had a fireplace — wish even harder when the heat’s out! The longer we live here, the less we know where we’d put it…same on a wood or pellet stove…So, you know, enjoy your window screen fire for us 🙂

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      January 12, 2017 at 10:21am

      The fireplace is great, Joey! There’ve been times when the kids were little, when we put all the cushions and pillows on the floor in front of it, put plastic over all the doorways to other rooms, and ALL slept in one big bed in front of it. That was one damn cold winter!

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  2. Norman Frampton

    January 12, 2017 at 11:29am

    Our upstairs fireplace is functional but mostly decorative because it doesn’t throw heat very well. Since we use it so rarely we have a tendency to forget to open the damper, so maybe we should call ours Smokey too.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      January 13, 2017 at 12:14pm

      😀 You need you an insert that’s shaped properly. BOY, ours throws out heat! The kids used to say, “That’s a juicy fire!” Doesn’t seem like an intuitive descriptive for fire, but we knew what they meant.

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  3. Vicky

    January 12, 2017 at 1:38pm

    I think for this time of year, fireplace doors are completely acceptable for a door challenge. I like the hilarious unicorn offspring, she will go far in this world!

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      January 13, 2017 at 12:15pm

      She already has, Vicky: She’s an author, editor, and archeologist!

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  4. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

    January 12, 2017 at 5:18pm

    I miss my parents’ house and their fireplaces – big brick things that were always wonderful to build a fire in and sit in front of. It lives on in my memory.

    We’re too modern to have one now – and never had the time to sit in front of it when I was homeschooling while sick and husband was working full time. Sigh. I miss the ability to insist on standards!

    My take on winter doors? You can HAVE to storm door. Husband insisted. It has a build in screen – which refuses to stay up. It hides the doorbell when open. It makes it almost impossible for me to get in and out of the house, especially carrying anything, or if I need the walker.

    It makes the huge slamming sound every time it closes (correction: anytime somone other than me DOESN’T close it – and just lets it slam).

    It’s probably good for energy conservation around the front door, but I hate it with a passion, and can’t wait until it belong to someone else (along with the house, of course).

    I struggle with that d*&n thing any time I go through the door, summer, spring, winter, or fall… (Camelot!).

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      January 13, 2017 at 12:16pm

      I think storm doors are named that because people slam them when they storm out of the house during an argument. ha!

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  5. Dan Antion

    January 12, 2017 at 7:36pm

    Great post! We did do the doors, blower combo when we had a fireplace. It actually worked really well. Now we have a wood stove. My only concern about your screen, is the material. Most metal screen is aluminum which melts at a pretty low temp. Probably higher than what you’re ever going to have in your fireplace, but…

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      January 13, 2017 at 12:17pm

      I don’t know what the screen is made of, but it hasn’t melted yet. So far, so good.

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  6. janet

    January 12, 2017 at 8:25pm

    Our house in Cleveland had a huge fireplace that didn’t draw worth beans. So we bought a wood-burning stove and had it inserted in the fireplace. At first, I couldn’t get it to burn decently and finally called the man who installed it to come out and figure out what was going on. I’m sure he figured it was just because I was a woman, but after struggling with it for half an hour or so (with me chuckling to myself elsewhere in the house), he finally did some adjusting so more air could get in or some such thing and we were off. I loved that stove and with a blower, it was deliciously warm. I managed to use scrounged wood the entire time we owned the house and stove, which was even better.


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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      January 13, 2017 at 12:19pm

      We live in the woods, so we have no shortage of fuel for the fireplace. In fact, we just had two dead trees taken down close to the house, and there’s enough wood there for years!

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