Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Natural Stone Fireplace

 We now have a working fireplace at our place. It is so fun to use to make a fire to both warm us up and to watch as it flickers so merrily. What a pleasure it is!

The fireplace is thanks mostly to my brother-in-law Travis. He is married to my older sister Anna and they live in the Twin Cities. Travis now works for the railroad but he used to work in Masonry and when we said that we wanted to put a fireplace in our house he volunteered to do it. That was a pretty wonderful gift.

  We wanted a natural stone fireplace and we decided to do one with an insert (it doesn't take the months/years to make that a true masonry fireplace can). Ken ordered the insert and the kids and I were in charge of collecting rocks. We went through all the piles of dirt that were dug out of our basement and found many rocks. We also went and looked for rocks over in my parents pasture area. We also made many a trip to a farmer friend's rock piles and hauled a bunch of trailer loads from there. This summer/fall rock hauling helped to build up our muscles. :-) Even though we didn't use all the rocks Travis needed to have plenty of selection as some don't work as well as others.

Mara and Margaret
Back in September Travis and Anna and family came for around a week and laid the foundation for the fireplace and also got the fireplace itself started. Travis did pretty nearly all the laying of rock. My nephew Harrison mixed up the mortar, Our Contractor, Ken, Travis and my brother Peter and me a little built the frame and we ladies (Anna, my niece Margaret, Mara and I) hauled rocks, cleaned rocks, brushed the mortar and did what we could to be of assistance. Others including my brother Luke also came one Saturday that I was gone and helped with the work on it. Many hands helped in some way on this project.
Peter working on the frame

Anna and Travis
 It was so fun to watch the fireplace go up. It was kind of hard for me to be able to envision just what it would look like ahead of time and so it was a fun surprise to see it basically completed.
 Cleaning up the mortar.
 The hearth was the last step.
 The last day that Anna and Travis were here we ran out of mortar. There was just this small spot that didn't have enough. I was actually glad of it though as Ken's parents were coming later that week and I thought that it would be fun to have them bring a small rock to put into our fireplace. I already had a rock from my parents land (can you find the heart shaped one near the middle) and thought one from Nevada would be neat as well. Ken's parents brought a really unique and pretty crystal one that they had found on one of their hikes (they like to collect rocks when hiking) in Nevada. The picture above shows me putting that rock in and finishing putting the mortar in.

 We sure have enjoyed being able to have a fire!
 We do still need to add the mantelpiece but it is already cut - it just is drying more. My Dad has a sawmill and so He, Travis and Peter worked to make some lumber and mantelpieces (more than one just in case) from a really big tree that we had to cut down in order to build our house.  I also need to clean the fireplace and am planning to using an acid that will help to even out the color of the mortar (because it was laid in various conditions - including rain- it has variations of color) and it will clean the rock too. I am also thinking about sealing it to give it more of a "wet" look but am not sure if I really want to do that or not. If you have an opinion on that I would love to hear it.

This project took a lot of time (Thanks again so very much to all those that worked on it!!!) but I think it was worth it. It will be enjoyed for many years to come!


Melia said...

It is beautiful!!! Isn't it great to have a Handy Travis around? My darling husband is named Travis and he loves to build and make things! He has worked in the construction industry for more than 25 years! I have enjoyed following your blog!

Nola said...

I think it looks more natural without having the "wet" look, but that is just me. Its your fireplace. :)

The Heart Of A Woman said...

It's beautiful!

Amy and Mark said...

This is absolutely beautiful! It sounds like it was many weeks of hard work, by many hands but what a result!

Looking forward to seeing more and more of the house! We have so enjoyed going through this house building project with you!

Lydia said...

Oh, so beautiful! I love the rocks and the story behind them. I love having an insert in our house!

Abbi said...

Thank you all so much!


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