Flue foils kitchen remodel

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Q: Our house, built in 1931, has a traditional fireplace in the living room, but there is also what appears to be a slim brick fireplace in the kitchen -- although I can't see where the opening was -- it appears to be more of a brick flue from floor to ceiling. Are you familiar with this type of thing? The flue does exit the roof like a traditional chimney and we have it capped to keep out rain and protect against embers and sparks. But it is blocking us from opening up the kitchen the way we'd like. I don't know that it should be completely removed, but it would somehow have to be sealed somewhere -- between the kitchen's ceiling and the home's roof, perhaps? A: We're quite familiar with this setup. Brick flues were regularly built in kitchens to vent gas or gas/wood stoves and often gas water heaters. In the 1930s, natural gas was the predominant cooking fuel. Electric stoves were in their infancy, and the all-electric kitchen was 20 years in the future. Bill had to deal...