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Friday, February 11, 2011

the making of a hearth... and stone


I love this bird's eye view of the barn room. 
This photo was taken from the loft and will soon be closed off, but for now it gives an interesting perspective of the barn room below.  The story leading up to this point in the renovation is here.  When I last left you we had just cut the huge hole in the wall between the two french doors where the fireplace will go.  In this photo the hole is covered with silver insulation board and a ladder.



This is the exterior footing for the fireplace and the chimney.  When the chimney is built there will be many tons of weight on this footing.  It goes down approximately 12 feet and has now been filled with concrete...



...as has the base for the interior firebox and granite hearthstone.  The angled hollow form (the angled white box-looking thing in the center of the concrete) will be the ash clean-out once the concrete has dried and the form is removed.



The interior iron ash clean-out door that will go in the firebox.



The wood form, which had been built for the concrete pour, has been removed in this photo.  The granite hearthstone will sit on the leading edge of the concrete. 
If you look closely at the bottom of the concrete form you will notice that it isn't touching the floor.  This portion of the concrete slab that sits inside of the barn room (the part you are looking at in this photo) weighs close to one ton.  Directly beneath the barn room is the garage, and there is no support for such weight in the garage, so the whole weight of the concrete hearth and firebox and the granite hearthstone itself is cantilevered with the weight being supported by the exterior chimney structure as shown in the second photo.  got that?!



The cantilevered slab.  See the space underneath?
The floor has yet to be shimmed and leveled which will take up some of the space, and the finish floor will take up even more, but it will never completely rest on the floor.   Because our ground freezes during the winter months here in New Hampshire this can cause what is called frost heaves which causes the ground to shift/move.  Our ground freezes several feet below the surface which is why "code" requires that new exterior walls be dug a minimum of 4 feet below grade to get below this winter frost line.)   Since the fireplace is cantilevered to the outside chimney it means the entire structure (both inside and out) would move together.  If there were no space between the interior concrete base and the floor the tiniest movement could cause the fireplace inside to crack-  which would be a very b.a.d. thing.



This antique iron beauty is the exterior ash clean-out door placed at the base of the chimney.   We found it at a local antiques shop...  isn't it the prettiest ash clean-out you've ever seen?!!!  Don't you just love it when you find things for a project you are working on exactly at the time when you need it?!



These huge granite slabs, originally hand-cut 150 years ago, were removed from the barn foundation when we added the garage (here).   The single slab on the left has been chosen as the barn room fireplace hearthstone



The granite at the stone fabricator. 
We met with the fabricator to discuss which side we wanted as front/top and how we wanted the end product to look. The bottom will be cut to "level."  The goal is that it will be trimmed to size (as it is already very close to the the right length and depth), yet look natural and original (retaining it's hand-cut edge instead of a machine-cut edge.)   For reference, it will measure 79" length x 20" width  x 5" height. 
Isn't this shop great?  The slab looks like it's the patient in some horror-movie doctors office ready to be operated on!



A week later.....
the bottom side of the granite being leveled.






Back home! 
The stone weighs 769 pounds.

















Don't you just love it when contractors use levels?! 
This is the preliminary placement.  It will be marked, and then the granite will be lifted and mortared, and then re-measure all over again!



Looking at this photo can't you almost hear the crackling of the wood in the fire???!
come on people... work with me here!!!!!

45 comments:

  1. I am really enjoying watching this entire process. What good fortune to find such a pretty clean out door for your new fireplace. I love incorporating old items into a new space.

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  2. You must be over the moon with happiness! That room is going to be gorgeous when it is done, what fun to be able to watch the progress, this is better then any home improvement show on TV, hands down!!!!!

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  3. I can see the potential, it is going to be beautiful. Can't wait to see it finished with a roaring fire. I love all the old pieces you are using too. It is all in the detail. ;-)

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  4. I love your beautiful home and especially your blog. You are an inspiration.

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  5. What a beautiful ash clean out,and how wonderful to be able to use stone original to the house for the hearth. I know its going to be breathtaking when done.

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  6. Wow. That fireplace is something else! It is going to be amazing!

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  7. Wow, it's going to look fantastic and am loving the pics of the process.. so much work involved! take care, Maryann

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  8. My husband just asked me what was so fascinating on the computer...told him I was reading about my blog pal Joan who is building my "dream fireplace" ;)
    Love it!

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  9. So the TV is going to pull out of that opening and rest on that granite, right? That will be awesome!

    Seriously, that's one major fireplace. Not only can I hear the wood crackling, I can almost smell the pig roasting!

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  10. Wonderful seeing vintage materials used in new construction. It's going to be amazing.

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  11. Love these pictures...talk about telling a story! I love how you are reusing the old to build the new...fantastic! I love how its progressing, cannot wait to see more!

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  12. Oh, my gosh, Joan-- this is so exciting! I love that you're repurposing parts and pieces of the original structure along the way. Almost organic, I think, and so...right. And yes, I can hear the crackling fire. :)

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  13. All I can say is "Holy S#%t!

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  14. Absolutely fascinating. I had no idea what goes into this part of the process. And to think- most people will see it and never know what WE now know! Bravo!!- Jules

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  15. Could you please ask the contractors to speed up things a bit. I am anxious for the next steps. haha

    Aaaamazing. Love watching this beautiful room unfold before our eyes.

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  16. What a great story of how your hearth came to be...I can't imagine how all this lovely work is taking place in the worst winter in years. I love the ash clean-out door...how wonderful to find the perfect one! I wouldn't mind cleaning out the ashes one bit. Can't wait for your next post!

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  17. Masonry never fails to amaze me. It's a facinating marriage of art AND science.

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  18. I love it when you talk technical Joan - you know it goes straight to this Renovator's heart. And I love you for your honesty, that it's not all about pretty After pictures, but what form the journey took to get there.
    Millie x

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  19. All I need is a leather chair and a glass of red wine! :)

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  20. Joan, dear, my morning really needed this giant-sized dose of Old House How To. Watching this transformation through your photos, and reading your descriptions, your true LOVE for your house comes through loud and clear. What also comes through is your thorough understanding of the process of your renovation, as you explain to all of us the reasons behind each step of what you are doing. Your barn room is a masterpiece, and I am hanging on your every word.
    Connie

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  21. I was wondering about how the weight of the concrete was being supported. I learned a new a masonary and construction tip for today. I am wanting to add onto our ranch home and want a fireplace. This post really gave me a lot of useful information. I am so glad I found your blog and am now a follower.

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  22. I hear the fire!!

    I just love when you post these progress photos- it makes me wish for a country house to renovate myself. Well thats right after I get my city house :)

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  23. Very exciting! I can't wait to see the finished project.

    Have a great weekend,
    Heather

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  24. Wow, that's the most effort I've ever seen anyone put into a fireplace! The home will always have so many great sentiments like this hand cut granite piece! Just think of all the people involved on this project and how for many years they will be talking about it, sharing stories with family, perhaps driving by and pointing to your home and telling their story about what they did at that house and the fantastic way it turned out!
    A true history maker!

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  25. Completely amazing! It does feel like an episode of This Old House!

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  26. The fireplace is going to be amazing. I can indeed picture a roaring fire in it already.

    Have a question for you, in your pantry post where your spirits are located there is what looks to be a hotel silver piece, what is it or I should ask what do you call it?????

    Carolyn

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  27. Hello,

    I am enjoying every moment of this process. Your fireplace is going to look so amazing. You must be in heaven!
    Thank you for sharing.
    Claudia

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  28. hi Carolyn!
    that is actually a vintage silverplate cocktail shaker! (surprisingly 'not' a hotel piece;)

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  29. I am in awe of how this is going. The ash clean out is gorgeous. I never find what I need when I need it. I think that is why I am so facinated by you! You pictures are so good. I feel like I am there watching it all. I can't wait for the next step!
    Please tell Dan & Ella hi for me!
    Lacy

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  30. Joan how amazing! You have been blessed with some real artists to do the work on your fireplace. Looks to be quite the feat of engineering. Please tell them they do spectacular work! I'll bring the mallows, chocolate, and grahams for that crackling fire.

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  31. Thanks Joan, I thought so but wasn't sure, couldn't really tell from the pic. I am now wanting one of those.

    Carolyn

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  32. Fascinating post. It's rare to see the engineering process behind a gorgeous building. We are noting all of your explanations and photos and filing them away alongside our dreams of a future country house. Your cast iron clean out is perfect.

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  33. What an amazing project. I'm thoroughly enjoying every step - from the comfort of my desk!
    Yes, that ash-clean out door is the prettiest I've ever seen.

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  34. I am loving watching this process. It reminds me so much of when we built this house and I watched the stone fireplaces going in and then UP!!!! It is all fascinating. The ash clean out box is beautiful, what a great find! Thanks so much for taking us on this journey with you! XO, Pinky

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  35. i can hear it...!..lol...check another thing off the list...it is really a treat to watch a home come together...thanks for sharing.

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  36. Yes I CAN hear the fire crackling!! What a production!! But the end will most definitely be worth it - I can already see it in my mind's eye!! And of course can't wait to see the reveal here!!

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  37. Hi Joanie ! I know you have already been awarded the Stylish Blogger, but now it is my turn to nominate a blog and I just have to pick yours !! I so enjoy your posts. Since you have already shared I have already gotten to enjoy the "7 unknowns". If you are keeping a running tab of all those who come late to the nomination party....please add this one. Well done !!!

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  38. Hi Joan, Dan, and Ella: What a process, but how great! I love that you are using material that was on the property, and I love the clean out door!
    Cindy

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  39. I have found your blog from Rhoda at Southern Hospitality. Spending the past hour browsing your blog has been a joy! We live in Alabama and have a small farm with sheep (13 acres). We did some renovations on our house when we moved here 7 years ago, but not much for beauty...just for being able to move into a healthy space. Now we are just starting to get some things done that we want to get done. Your blog will definitely be an inspiration as we start again. Please visit my blog. I am an accountant so there won't be much posting until after April 15, but check me out later. I'll keep dropping in here. Just beautiful!

    Judy :)

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  40. I just discovered your blog and it's awesome! Your house and photography is beautiful and I absolutely love the pictures of fall and where you live. I look forward to looking back thru your blog, and of what's to come. Veronica

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  41. Wonderful progress you guys are making on your barn. That looks like John Kaufold working away on your stone, he does such great work. Love the antique ash clean out door you found.I can't wait to see the finish!

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  42. i CAN hear the crackling of the fire. it's such fun to see the progress on your room, and all the work being done for the fireplace is really amazing.

    i love the antique ash clean out, and i love that you are using those big slabs of granite that were originally part of the structure. i think it adds so much aliveness to homes when existing good materials are repurposed.

    the room already has a great feel to it - look forward to your end product.

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  43. Oh my goodness. You are going to put this whole experience into a book aren't you?

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  44. Your house is an absolute dream for me!!! I L-O-V-E it! And the scenery around you is heavenly! I'm so, so thrilled to have found your blog:)

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  45. oh my yes...i can hear the crackling of the wood....smell the sweet aroma of the logs...feel the warmth of the fire...and taste the marshmallows as i type...perfection

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