Photos from April – May 2018

The fireplace work continued with much of the firebox completed.  We had agreed to let the masons continue work on another major project while doing our fireplace since we didn’t have a needed completion date, so the work was somewhat more spread out than usual.


The bake oven on this fireplace wall is arched, which we’ve never done before.



The mound of sand just behind the bake oven opening will support the bricks as the oven roof is built and then be removed after the mortar has set up for several days.  The mound was flattened somewhat after this photo was taken as everyone decided it was a bit too conical.   The bake oven size, shape, etc. has benefited greatly from the input of everyone.  We’ve been trying to follow historic proportions and “rules” for making a good working oven while meeting current code, and making a lot of decisions based on both the mason’s experience and our experience in using prior ovens.


Bake oven roof nearing completion.


The granite lintel is a “used” piece of granite, and rather heavy.


Rather than try to put it in place in one single movement, it was raised 8″ block by block until it was near the final position.




Firebox over the fireplace is completed, and the bake oven flue is ready to be extended.


Interior fireplace and bake oven work essentially completed.


Exterior chimney work followed the interior work and went very quickly.




Meanwhile, with the interior fireplace work completed, work to close in the unfinished space around the fireplace was started very quickly since it was the last place in the house to look that unfinished.   The first work involved framing around the fireplace, including a lowered and arched ceiling for the doorway from the entryway into the rest of the house.




Part of closing in the fireplace area involved dealing with make-up air for the fireplace because the house is too tight to get make-up air from leaks in the house.  After much consideration and talking with the mason, I decided to use a fully sealing roof-top damper in the attic space above the fireplace with the makeup air being allowed to simply reach the fireplace around the edges of the fireplace and also from a register-like vent into the entryway space.  Hopefully this will supply more than enough air without circulating it any further into the main house than is necessary.


The control for the makeup air damper is just like those for the fireplace and bake oven, but it terminates in the built-in cupboard above the bake oven.



Initial fitting of the fireplace wall.  It is loosely patterned after another antique one with some features from one of the fireplaces in Tristan’s house.  The hearth is from reproduction 8×8″ square brick and helps give the area a very old look.


The whole fireplace project has been like a jungle-gym for Simon.  He was really distressed when he was no longer able to get from one side to the other!  Cried and cried the day it was closed in.


Fireplace wall in place, along with the fireplace crane which arrived just in time to be put into the fireplace for this photo.  We got it from the same blacksmith in North Carolina that we had gotten the previous ones from.  Originally it was to have been backordered for 8-12 weeks.  Now all we need is flooring…


The bake oven door also completed.  The handle was mostly cold-forged with a little assistance from a propane torch.


It has been too warm to actually try the fireplace and bake oven, but perhaps on a very cold and rainy day before next fall…


The other major project has been to get the porch completed in time to be able to enjoy it this summer.  The deck was completed last fall, and the clapboards were already cut to receive the rafters which made getting started on the porch relatively easy.

First the posts, which will eventually have some base and top trim details added.


Ceiling joists.  The ceiling will probably be T&G wood, painted the traditional light to medium blue.  The temporary step is to be replaced with a long piece of granite as soon as some some gravel is in place.


Roof rafters


Roof sheathing.  Much careful planning, including a couple full-size sketches, went into how the roof lines and trim had to come together to avoid an awkward situation.  I’ve never had to cope with three different roof planes intersecting and coming together at a specific point before.



The full-size sketches did work well, and the trim all came together correctly at the very edge of the roof.  Roofing is next and should not take too long to complete.