After the old (13ish year old) fireplace was removed, our contractor discovered there was a 1/4 inch gap in the plywood at the bottom of the fireplace box...no wonder it was breezy in our family room! Our new fireplace is just a bit bigger (taller) than our old one and has a stronger blower, too, so we'll get more heat from it.
I selected travertine to go around the fireplace and the mantel will be white...no pictures of that yet because it isn't built yet! Our contractor will be building it for us. Luckily he's finally understanding how particular I am about things and is doing things to my specifications--including my mantel top that I want to be between nine and ten inches wide on top! No more skinny mantels that are hard to decorate!
I found my inspiration mantel on Flickr. The woodworker did a gorgeous job on this mantel! I want mine to be a bit more simple (not so many insets) especially since my fireplace opening is bigger than this one...but this certainly is beautiful!
(By the way...we're at the coast this week! Beach pictures next week!)