Here are a couple pics of the fireplace. In the first one, Caroline's dog Catahoula is sitting on the hearth. We looked in lots of magazines (mostly log home mags.) to find pics of what we wanted. We had plenty of time to research while the house construction was moving along slowly. We found that the look we wanted was created using a "cultured stone" (no one uses real ones anymore) and is called "Stream Stone", made by Owens-Corning. It was unbelievably expensive. We had to buy it by the pallet. You can't just buy the amount you need. I plan to use some of the left over rock for my outdoor pizza/bread oven. We plan to apply a sealer to the rock in the near future. This is supposed to bring out the color more. The color we chose is called "Summer", with cream, taupe, grey and white stones. Those colors go with the floors and aspen trim best.
We hunted high and low for a mantel. Most of the ones we liked had to be ordered well in advance. The prices are crazy. We decided we would have the pecan tree that's dead on our place milled into mantels. They sell for around $800 or so. The mantel we ended up with was found (used) on Craigslist. It's made of cypress and we really like it, plus it was only $250.
We've had a couple of cold nights (around 34 deg.) and built some nice fires. We have some downed pecan here that Marc has cut up but we need to get more wood. It was too hot today (Thanksgiving) to have a fire, in fact I had to turn on the air conditioning for the first time in a while. We initially planned to put a flat screen TV on the fireplace but changed our minds. There's an electric plug above the mantel which will be nice when we decorate for Christmas.