When we bought this house there was no heating system installed. We considered lots of options from central heating to air conditioning with a heat pump. Then Himself came up with a terrific idea. I laughed at it - not possible I said how are you going to install a chimney!
But Himself has a stubborn streak which combined with the ability to research anything inside and out allowed him to find someone in the next county who could provide an enclosed fireplace, stainless steel chimney and build whatever surround you want. They arrived for a quote, measured, bargained and set a delivery date. So in spite of the usual delays, our fireplace was installed in the centre of the house, and provides heat in three directions; to the living room, bedroom and hall.
It does a terrific job of heating the whole house (I think our maximum record is 32 degrees). Himself regularly reminds me of my initial skepticisim, to which I praise his wonderful idea and give thanks for his stubborn perseverance.
And of course our chimney provides access for Santa Claus. The Brown-eyed Girl dismissed the idea of him being able to get past a locked door but was very taken with the image of him unhooking the fireplace door from the inside and climbing out to deposit the presents under the tree. It's an advantage I admit we overlooked in our research into fireplaces...