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We finally gave up on the wood stove.  Too many delays, and them not knocking on the door loud enough for three adults and a dog in line of sight of it to know anyone was there (and hence missing any opportunity for them to finish beyond deconstruction) … we just asked for our money back, and got it.

The house is well insulated and the furnace is really efficient; managing wood and the stove itself would be more of a pain on afterthought.  It would have been worth the trouble for a fireplace, but the chimney wasn’t built for it.

We’re going with a fish tank.

Side note: When they deconstructed the faux fireplace facade, we found a lot of interesting things.  Photos, a pay stub for Seneca Red Hots, a $100 US Savings bond (1985) owned by someone with an address on the next street, an add for a free dress with purchase of laundry soap, random playing cards and a die … we’ve offered to return the stuff to the previous owner and haven’t heard back.