You ARE handy!
With a glass screen, instead of the wire-mesh ... does it still radiate enough heat or does most of it go up the chimney? I'd *love* to keep dirty paws out of the soot and ashes, but I like using the fireplace for heat, not just to watch flames.
I'd like for my husband to get some pipe and bend/weld it into a 'radiating manifold' in seferal connected "C" shapes. The logs would rest on the lower curve and the heat warms the back and overhead curves. He could weld/connect the lower parts of the C to a wide pipe outside the fireplace with a fan to blow room-temp air through it, where it would warm the air through the C-shaped pipes and be blown out the top and into the room.
We'd need to use heavy pipe and make sure the upper portion of the manifold reached close enough to the front that it would only blow pipe-air and not chimney smoke/air.