Our old house came with a Rumford fireplace (more or less). The Rumford design is the only open fireplace that puts more heat in a house than it sucks out, and the tall, shallow construction makes it nice for viewing the fire, too.
Ours wasn't well-built, but it does throw out some heat. It also has a bad tendency to smoke if the wind gets a bit above light. I have been planning to rebuild it several years, but it never seemed to rise to the top of the to do list. My wife, who can be quite the manipulative genius, started asking around for what local mason could do the job... the answer is "none of them", since none of them have ever had any interest in the actual physics of a properly functioning fireplace... so I started the job yesterday.
I got the old brickwork out of the way and think I have a plan for fitting all the necessary Rumford components into the space. I'm sawing the 2-1/4" x 4-1/4" x 8-1/2" firebricks into 2" x 2-1/4" so I can do a herringbone pattern. Also got a new mortar bed installed, which will be ready for laying the brick floor on in a couple of days. Rumford fireplace article