Monday, December 25, 2017

It all started

so innocently last spring. There was no heat in the new house. The gas line from the underground tank to the furnace leaked. The gas company would not unlock the tank until we fixed that leak. 

So we tried to stay warm with the fireplace.
That didn't work. It burned the fuel we provided; some actual hardwood firewood and the gawdawful late century wooden towel bars and other fixtures from the bathroom.  The heat went right up the chimney.
 Our Hearthstone Heritage wood stove was our primary source of heat in the old house.  We barely burned fuel oil.  According to the specs, it can heat up to 1900 square feet. Our old house was 1800 square feet with original, single pane windows and DRAFTY.
 The new house is super well insulated and 1200 square feet.  We are pretty sure the Heritage is too big for the house.  Originally we thought we would leave it behind. In the end, I just couldn't do that. So we brought it with us.

Steven knows people who know masons. Nigh onto two months ago, Steven called Ryan who is renowned in these parts. He advised that he would be in touch. Two weeks ago he called.  About to start a job in the "money is different ski resort town" near us after the first of the year, he had a window of two weeks and he could work our job in. We said OK.

Demo began the next day.
Steven pried the bead board off carefully. I removed the nails. We will use the materials for something else, somewhere. We were touched by the message left by the builders. Ev and Jollie's son built that fireplace for them shortly after they moved in thirty years ago. I am sure they loved it. 
Were it more efficient, we would have loved it, too.

Before we started the project, I asked Steven why we were building a masonry (not masonary; no such word) chimney instead of just running stove pipe up through the roof. 

After we got to this point in the demolition, I understood why.   

Steven and I managed to get the stove off of the hearth. We even somehow managed to loosen the stove pipe. There was no way we were going to be able to move it more than that. 

Luckily Ryan and his tender had to come by to receive the first load of materials.

So they helped (did it themselves using an appliance dolly) move the old fireplace on out. 

Don't worry, he's a professional. 

I have no photos of the headers and re-framing. He's a professional and I was not around when he finished that up. 

It might not be evident from the photos, but the living room is a mess. There are tarps on the floor and plywood where there aren't tarps. There is dust everywhere. The furniture is pushed against the walls. We should be wearing hardhats, seriously.   I don't mind at all, though. This will be a beautiful thing. A very beautiful thing. 

That piece of insulation is covering a big hole in the ceiling. Steven cut through the sheet rock on Saturday when it was above freezing.  The chimney will pass through the roof and Ryan will build a little tent on top of the house so he can work. Projected high Thursday is 9 below. I don't know how he will do it. 


  1. Wow. This is so beautiful to look at, not to live in. Although when this careful mason is done, you will be thrilled with the work he has done, and done right.

    Trades work is so hard on a body, and so beautiful when done right.
    Thanks thanks thanks for sharing

  2. A couple of weeks before he has to start another job. Wow. Courage and confidence. I am soooo impressed. And as always, heartened by your the watermarks in your photos. You rock.

  3. A lot of serious labor going into this! Nothing like the warmth of a hearth. Enjoy it, enjoy it, enjoy it !!!