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We're restoring/renovating a 120-year-old home that has a beautiful cast-iron wood-burning fireplace in the dining room, very similar (but not identical) to this:

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Is it possible to open up the backside of such a fireplace to have a double-sided fireplace, opening into the opposite room?

I've been told that it wouldn't work - that we'd either need a separate flue or smoke would just billow into the house. If that's so, does that mean it's impossible to have a two-sided wood-burning fireplace ever, or what factors need to be in place for such a fireplace to function correctly?

Thanks in advance.

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You will most likely have structural issues by removing the back wall of the fireplace, It could possibly be remedied by calling in a mason who specializes in rehabbing masonry fireplaces. I think your biggest issue is not that either, the flue is sized for the amount of air entering the firebox, to increase the size of the firebox perhaps doubling it, will require a larger flue than you have now. In short you will need to rebuild the whole thing to get what you ask.

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