Fireplace Makeover Featuring Fireplace Doors from Ironhaus

When Chris LaFleur, and Mary Watson bought their first home together in Albuquerque, NM they were ready, willing and able for the challenge of remodeling their home. The Southwestern Style stucco home with Spanish tile roof was of the architecture and style they wanted, the outdated interior and rooms was another matter. Like a lot of homeowners they bought the house specifically so they could remodel it to their design aesthetic and taste. LaFleur agrees that a house is a labor of love.  “We bought it knowing that we were going to start remodeling right away, as the rooms were outdated,” says co-owner Lafleur.


Though this was the couple’s first remodeling project they weren’t daunted by the work that waited. Chris is an engineer, who does wood working as a hobby. Chris made the couple’s dining room table, and plans to undertake making cabinets for the kitchen, when they begin that project early next year. “I’m six feet tall so counter height and cupboards are always an issue. Instead of having custom cabinets made I’ll just do them myself. The great part about doing the work yourself is that you can take as much time as you want, and get it to be just what you want.”


  • Homeowners: Chris LaFleur and Mary Watson
  • Location: Albuquerque, NM
  • Room: Great Room
  • Product: Custom Fireplace Doors in Rustica Design/Burnished Natural Finish/Old World Panel Embellishments

The Fireplace as Focal Point

The centerpiece of couple’s home, built in 1997, is a great room that faces the west, allowing those beautiful desert sunsets to penetrate the room through large windows. The couple wanted to remodel with that aspect in mind. “The room had a fireplace, but it was just a box surrounded by white drywall with a pretty boring surround. We knew we were going to do the work ourselves, which allowed us to spend our money on the things that we couldn’t do ourselves, and that were unique and custom. We knew that we wanted the fireplace to be a focal point of the room and so wanted a custom fireplace door that would really complement the room and set the fireplace apart.” Chris and Mary worked with Ironhaus’ Cliff Eggleston to select a door for their wood burning fireplace. They chose the Rustica Design in a burnished natural finish, and then added top and bottom rectangular panels with Old World embellishments to give them something that fit with their style and the style of the room.


“Ironhaus was great. Their website gave us all the information we needed upfront. A lot of other places we looked at gave you photos and then wanted you to call before they gave you specs. With Ironhaus, we were able to do all the planning ourselves because we had all the important information from them without having to call them. And then when we did speak with our sales rep, Cliff, he suggested us using the mason’s form, which made us feel good about knowing the doors would fit when it was time to put them on. And they did, and look great!”

In addition to installing the new fireplace and doors the couple did all the rock work for the surround and the mantel, which is a juniper log they got from a friend’s land in Golden, NM. They removed a wall, opening the great room up to the kitchen. When they get the kitchen done they’ll tear out the room’s carpeting and install hardwood floors. In terms of remodeling, Chris says, “We enjoyed the entire process. When you do a project like this you have to look at three things: cost, quality, and time. Generally you can only choose two of those, but by doing most of the work ourselves we were able to get the quality we wanted, lower the cost, and we aren’t in any big hurry!”

The Great Room

What is a Mason’s Form and Do I Need One?

The Ironhaus Mason’s Form is a template that makes door installation seamless and easy. Do you need one? Well, the easy answer is no. You can get away without having the mason’s form, but having one will protect your doors from getting damaged during the construction process, and it makes installation of your doors easy. Not having one is like driving a car without a spare in the trunk.

Everything that comes out of our shop is made to order and done to your specifications. We don’t have a warehouse full of doors collecting dust waiting for a customer to purchase. An Ironhaus custom fireplace door generally takes four to six weeks to design and build, but that doesn’t mean that the construction process has to come to a halt while you wait for your custom fireplace doors. By installing a mason’s form you can go ahead with construction and install the doors after they arrive, and when you’re ready.

Another benefit of using a mason’s form is that you don’t have to install your custom fireplace doors during construction. By installing your fireplace doors after construction you could be saving them from unnecessary damage that could occur during the construction process.

Finally, there is no need to worry about installation of the doors, or proper fit. Like all Ironhaus products, our mason form was designed with the homeowner in mind. We can have a custom mason form sized to fit your gas or wood burning fireplace to you within a week! The mason form is easy to install, and guarantees a seamless integration of our doors on your fireplace.

At-a-Glance Benefits of the Ironhaus Mason’s Form

  • The Ironhaus Mason’s Form is custom made for your fireplace in one week
  • Predictable template for easy installation and seamless integration of Ironhaus custom fireplace doors
  • Minimizes damage to your custom fireplace doors during construction
  • Anyone can install the Ironhaus Mason Form
  • A  investment in the mason form can save your custom doors from damage

Thanks to Chris and Mary for sending us the fantastic photos of their fireplace remodel project, and for allowing us to share their story on our blog, The Ironhaus.

We always appreciate hearing from our customers. If you have a remodeling project involving Ironhaus fireplaces, fireplace doors or screens, mantles, surrounds, or other custom metalworking project send us your pics, and story, and we might just feature them on our website or blog.

To learn more about Ironhaus custom fireplace doors and screens visit us at:

If you’d like to look at some of the work we’ve done view our Portfolio here: