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Z's newest project--week 2

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Z's newest project--week 2

Post  Zwack on Thu May 07, 2009 5:07 pm

When we purchased our house 6 or 7 years ago, we loved almost everything about it. Almost. We hated the fireplace. It was BIG--way too big for the space--and made of ugly white bricks (not white PAINTED--both bricks and mortar are white), and the white brick hearth is 9 inches high. Various attempts to improve the looks of the monstrosity included building bookshelves on each side, and decorating it extensively for Christmas and other holidays. Here is a Christmas pic of the fireplace:



Except for the massive amount of mantle and hearth space it gave us for placing stuff, that thing had no redeeming features. Hard to clean, hard to look at, and the hearth didn't match up with the wood surround inlaid into the floor.

So Z and I decided to see just what WAS underneath that hearth, since it was obvious that the hearth and/or fireplace as currently built was not original.

Yep, we were right. Underneath all that ugly white brick, flush with the floor, were nearly undamaged (1 tile has a crack going across it) red terra cotta 6"x6" tiles--and they very obviously kept going underneath the white brick fireplace.

So we decided to tear that sucker down, too. Imagine our surprise when we found that the white brick was simply a shell built around a MUCH smaller red brick fireplace. We know it was a shell, as there was about 4" of air space between the white brick and the red brick. The ugly white bricks came down (and we now have a huge pile of them in our yard, if you want any :-)!

Unfortunately, the red brick fireplace didn't look great--it had bits and pieces of the original terra cotta tile that matched the hearth. No fixing that, so we decided to remove the bits and pieces and reface the fireplace.

I helped with the demolition and clean up, but I have had nothing except artistic/materials input into what Z has been doing to it since then.

And he has been busy! Every day after work, he works on refacing the fireplace. Tonight, we went and bought a rustic maple mantel and columns to surround it. There is a lot left to finish--the wood parts, naturally, plus a steel surround around the top of the now much larger firebox. We'll need to repair some damage to wallpaper (we'll strip it off and paint) and some of the plaster/lathe. We'll need to grout, clean and seal tiles after they're all up (the sides and part of the top still need doing). So far, though, I'm VERY pleased with what we have so far. Would you like to see Z's handiwork? Keep in mind that he's never laid tile before--this is his first time! It should be totally finished within the next couple of weeks....

The tiles are made of slate. The tiny white-ish ones are onyx, and the orange/yellow tiles are glass:



Here is a closeup of the central accent tile:



Isn't he doing a fantastic job?

Irish

Zwack
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Re: Z's newest project--week 2

Post  CaptZaphod on Fri May 08, 2009 4:28 pm

I love those bears!
Great restorative work too!
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CaptZaphod
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