Monday, March 18, 2013

Full Exposure

After all the preservation effort to keep the dumpster dry, the pick up didn't happen until Wednesday (3/13), the day AFTER another rain storm. We were hoping to get the dumpster emptied to avoid paying for what effectively would be water weight. Included in the dumpster rental rate was 3 tons of trash, we pay for anything over. We haven't heard if we went over or not. Should be interesting - we were nearly full! Thanks to the rain, they also jacked up the yard trying to get hooked back up!

The full dumpster.

On Sunday (3/10) we met with our stone mason. He does restorative work and uses proper restorative techniques, which was important to us for the fireplace work. He will be spending quite a bit of time down at Hummingbird Farm. We've received rough cost estimates for repairing the two chimneys and on Sunday, we were getting an estimate on exposing the fireplace to prepare for new stone work and eventually a fireplace insert. He took a peak pre-demo, and wanted to see what the wall looked like with everything removed.

Ghon and Myron (the stone mason) discussed the plan for the mantle and the stone hearth and started talking prices. Ghon after asked about using our own rocks for the fireplace, Myron agreed it would be possible, so they took a ride to the top of the mountain to check out some rock piles. They quickly found a good number of stones to use for our new fireplace. Myron even found one that looked like it had a face on it, so I have insisted it be used as his "signature" rock in the the lower right corner of the fireplace. Ghon wants the kids and I to go on a rock hunt wiht him, each of us finding that special rock to have included.

On Wednesday, 3/13, Myron came out and got to work. He removed all the old bricks that were used to close up the old fireplace. We had decided to not try to make some of the fireplaces functional, so rather than repair the broken brick chimney, it was removed that day. In addition to having the fireplace rebuilt, we are also having Myron rechink - or apply new mortar - between the logs in the wall. We are leaving the entire fireplace wall exposed. Myron was able to get all of that done in one day.

The fireplace opened and exposed.

After finishing removing the brick from the fireplace, Myron went to work removing the old  mortar between the logs. We (well, Myron) will be stoning in the fireplace and rechinking the logs.

Left side of the fireplace with the mortar removed.

Right side of the fireplace with the mortar removed.

There are 6 fireplaces and two chimneys in the house. However, it appears that four of the fireplaces (and corresponding brick chimney) are not completely functional. The brick chimney needed repair, but since we've decided to not use the fireplaces, the chimney comes down.

Pulling off the bricks.

On Sunday, Ghon split wood while I worked on removing the plaster/mortar from the logs. It was time to remove all that white junk from the logs in attempt to let the natural log beauty shine through. Using a couple wire brushes and a face mask, I went to work scrubbing the logs. In time (when we save the $), we will have Myron back out to add new mortar between the logs to seal things back up and stone in the fireplace.

In process - removing the mortar/plaster from the log wall.

On the front wall of the room, we found some of the logs had been numbered with Roman numerals to mark their placement. After cleaning the logs on the right side of the fireplace, we found more Roman numerals marking the order.

Some assembly required: III - log number three.

Some assembly required: IIII - log number four.

Some assembly required: V - log number five.
Now that most of the mortar is removed, I need to come back through with a vacuum to remove the dirt and dust and do some touch ups. In a few spots where I scrubbed hard, the logs really started to shine. My goal is far from shiny logs, but pretty clean with a few white spots remaining for character.

Geneveieve was not a very happy camper on Sunday. She wanted nothing to do with being in the downstairs level of the house despite having Jonathan's tablet and her own toys. I was able to work while she took a nap in the car (trust me, not as awful or dangerous as that sounds) and Jonathan bounced between Ghon and I. Jonathan was actually quite funny, cheering me on with random "you are doing a great job mom!" praises while playing Angry Birds in the dining room.  Working the right side took maybe 2 hours worth of time and I was bummed when I left that I didn't get to do more.

Right side before....

and after plaster removal.
OK, maybe that is a little hard to see the difference - but it is a huge difference! See all those lines that look sort of white - those are ax marks!  Let's try this angle...

The fireplace wall - before starting the log cleaning.

The fireplace wall - with the right side nearly done, just needs a little fine tuning.
Now, won't that look sharp when the stones are in place? The vertical boards on each side of the fireplace is where the mantel will be set back into place. Inside those boards and straight up will be covered in stone.  At the top of both pictures, you can see some of the joist repair.
Ghon starts working his wacky schedule this week and no longer has weekends off, so our progress will be a little wonky now. His sister Cindy is coming back down again this Thursday to work with me on a variety of projects Friday and as much of Saturday as possible as we work around potential t-ball and childcare schedules. Should be interesting...


  1. Wow. This amazing. I think there should be a TV show!

    1. I need a pitch woman! Know one? ;

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.