Sunday, January 12, 2014

Fireplace Reveal

This post has been a long time coming.

I've had the pictures in place for a few weeks.

I wanted this, the big reveal of the fireplace to be post 100! As I fretted over posting this weekend's exciting development, combining it with the big reveal, and knowing that the insert is still delayed and won't be here for at least another week, I bring you post 99. One of the most exciting in my personal opinion. I really wanted to wait until the insert was in to make the reveal, but with other news to share, it's going to have to wait for a special post of it's own.

Pictures (and their captions) speak 1,000 words. Behold, the fireplace transformation.

On the right, the only thing removed from the wall is drywall. A month later, the wood stove is gone and the fake bricks removed. Yes, fake brick front drywall.

This shot was taken after the demo party and the floor removal. Down to nearly bare logs and a fireplace filled with concrete. A total mess.

Well looky here. The first visit by our stone mason. Clearing out the fireplace.

The original fireplace exposed, mortar between the logs exposed.

Similar shot as above, but after I cleaned the logs.

Bringing the stone mason back to work - preparing the concrete forms to support the floor.

And then there was concrete.

This is where I stopped sharing pictures.Behold, the stone laying progress. Artwork in stone.

Progress after the first day of stone work.

Artist at work. Day two...

The end of day two. You may be asking what the wood pieces are there for. That's to secure the original mantle.

The end of day three. Stone to the top - and fresh mortar on the logs.

Our fireplace is alive! Live freaking moss on our fireplace!

Some artists sign their work with a signature. Ours left a smiley rock he found on the property the first time he visited. He found this rock on the hill, and I insisted it be somewhere on the fireplace.

End of day three - base mortar between the logs.

End of day four. The logs are rechinked a shade of tan and the hearth complete.


The full view. The mortar is still a little damp in this picture.

Size perspective. Roughly 8' 6" wide.

Size perspective - Hansel and Gretel style.

The final comparison. Before and after.

The fireplace was complete late last year, but we have been waiting, and waiting for the insert. Still waiting. Last Tuesday, we had a chance to get the floor timbers in the house, and seized the opportunity. Ghon, and his friends Clint and Ryan carried the timbers into the house. It definitely took three guys to do it. Even more amazing, they did it when it was about zero degrees outside.

Saturday was the first weekend day Ghon's had off in a while. We ran a few errands together with the kids then did some window shopping at Lowes before heading to the farm to work. I'd wanted to get Jonathan a tool kit for Christmas but never did. We found a complete set marked down and he was so excited to get it.

Trust me. He doesn't look excited in the picture, but that's because he wanted to work, not take pictures.

With his entire Lowes tool set on.

It was actually quite cute how many times Ghon used one of Jonathan's tools.

There was a lot of stopping through the afternoon while Ghon and I contemplating strategies, but in the end, we cut and placed two new support beams. Along the way, we tested the levelness of the floor using one of the floor boards. Too excited, we placed about 5 boards back into their spots. Tongue and groove, numbered in order as they came out - and they fit perfectly.

Smoke in the air from the chainsaw with Handy Fin ready to help. More support cutting, and finally, after about 10 months with no flooring, the floorboards are going back in!

We tested the boards out, then removed them and started over. We wanted the first board perfect to line the rest of the floor, or at least that side. Once in place, we started to secure #2, but ran into a dilemma.

Look at the picture below, and check out that little groove and where the arrow is pointing.

That my friends, is caked in dirt. That's what it looks like between your tongue and groove boards.

It was all along the board, but worst, of course, in the area by the door. Ghon kindly reminded me that a lot of it was probably old horse manure, as the the side door in the living room used to be the front.

Disgusting. One hundred year old dirt and poop.

We removed most of it off the next 2 boards. We were using a hammer and nailset, the claw on the hammer, and the wire brush with the metal scrapper. It was hard to get clean. We kept stopping and asking each other if it was worth it. Then kept doing it.

One lesson I learned that night was that I am far from the best hammerer. My Dad gave me mine own toolset for Christmas. My own tools that are black and PINK. I couldn't wait to use my own hammer. However,  Ghon would drive in the nails in 2-3 shots, while I'm on bang 20 and driving it crooked. I did much better setting the nails, so that's where we focused my attention.

We worked on the floor for about 4 hours Saturday. With a good foundation in place, we have fingers crossed Ghon gets the floor laid this week. He has off two days back-to-back. I will be so happy to be able to walk across the floor again and not worry about the kids falling into the rocks. I will be so happy to have the dirt hole covered and not worry about any critters hanging out that I can't see.

I will be so happy, as it will mean HUGE progress has been made. I couldn't wait to share the progress of floor installation - and since the fireplace made it into some of the pictures, you get the reveal as well. There are more details about the fireplace to share, but I'll save those for the final pictures with the insert.


  1. You guys are amazing. The fireplace is gorgeous.

    1. Thanks! But the stone work credit goes to our mason.
      BTW - who is this? :)

  2. Its beautiful and I love the smile rock!

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks, JD! Can't wait to light the first fire in there!

  4. Looking great! What an accomplishment and how exciting for you all.

    1. Thank you! It's very exciting, especially getting the floor started!

  5. amazing fireplace! great transformation and progress.