Well, here is a more finished picture of the fireplace surround. You can see that the hearth base has been poured. We'll have the antiquing layers applied tomorrow. All that's left? Staining and oiling the shelves.

Fireplace Project

It's been quite some time since my last post. What have we been up to? Well, come on now, we always have a project going. But, more specifically, and most recently, we've been working on covering our fireplace surround with ledge stone and having a new hearth based poured. To date, and since the inception of the project (well, minus the time spent preparing the surfaces for laying stone such as the wire mesh, and scratch coat), we have 37 hours logged. That's about 6 hours a day since last Friday. It's exhausting, too! But hey, I'm getting some nice arm definition from carrying around 4 to 6 pound stones all night.

Here is a picture from last Saturday. This was about 1/5 of the way through:

The hardest part is keeping the stones tight since this is a dry stack method - meaning that we will not grout the stone. We use a cement dye to color the mortar. This ensures that any spaces or gaps (which are inevitable and common) will not be too noticeable, and you will not see the scratch coat behind them.

Here is a picture from 5 minutes ago:

It looks so good!! And here you can see the beginning stages of our stamped concrete hearth. The border is a form which will give it a real stone edge look. In a week or two, it will be antiqued and colored again to give it a darker, two color tone.

The shelves are made of 3 inch thick unfinished maple. We're going to stain them, distress them a little and then treat them with tung oil to give them a hand rubbed antique finish. I have started staining a scrap piece today to see what the difference will be between one or two coats of stain, and then 1, 2 or 3 coats of tung oil. I and thinking about 'roughing up' the corner edges of the shelves with a large stone to give them a worn and aged look. Right now, they're a little too perfect.