Two major plates, running the length of a great room and supporting light common rafters is a classic framing scheme. Among the advantages of this layout is the framing celebrating and cooperating with masonry at one end of the room. The posts that support the heavy plates can frame the masonry; and, if they are brought to the inner masonry face, can also support a mantle across the masonry. The great room on my Keene, NH home is an example (built in 1994, but carved with 1991 for the palindromic symmetry and being “close enough”). I also added backlighting and my favored “recessed stocking hooks,” The simple cup hooks, set into rounded shallow holes drilled into the mantle underside, provide convenient and discreet stocking support, while subtly celebrating Christmas morning year-round.