Fireplaces / October 15, 2018 / Laurine Pickens.
I decided to opt for a natural stone fireplace surround for my new fireplace. The fireplace in question is one that will reside in the great hall portion of my home. Technically, it is a replacement fireplace, as a small brick fireplace was built into the wall in the great hall originally.
I played around with different stone material idea for a while to get a feel for which kind of stone would be most appealing and fit into the other décor. Though I like the look of marble and limestone, I finally decided that a slate stone fireplace surround would be the best match for the darker décor of the great hall.
With the help of a skilled carver, I designed the basic layout of the fireplace and hearth. I wanted to have a large seating area in a semi-circle shape all around the slate fireplace that would extrude from the wall.
Since the fireplace in the great hall is not merely decoration but will be used to heat that entire portion of the house as well, I decided that an extruding firebox make much more sense, as this would allow the fire’s heat to radiate much farther than a firebox flush with the wall ever could.
It was exciting to watch the craftspeople work away at the slate slabs. I watched as they first installed the massive firebox. Is was a custom job in itself, as the outer curving shape I wanted is not a standard firebox shape at all.
The existing flue and chimney were able to be used, with a few minor alterations. I was glad to hear this, as the project was already going to be quite costly. I didn’t pay as much attention during these processes, as I was impatient to see the slate pieces put in place.
The preparation and structural work took more than a week to complete, and I was becoming a little impatient to see the pretty slate pieces put in place as the stone fireplace surround. Finally, during week two of this project, the skilled craftspeople began to implement the beautiful slate pieces into the stone fireplace surround and accompanying mantel and seating area.
It wasn’t long before the project was complete. I don’t think the worked any faster at this point, but since I could see the progress, it seemed to go much quicker than the previous portions had. Once they had finished the stone fireplace surround, they began work on the seating area.
I wanted a very rough, chunky and natural look to both the surround and the seating area. As I saw the slate unfolding around me, I was happy that I’d decided on the rough look for the slate. It was even more beautiful than what I had initially envisioned.
It’s been a few years now since the slate fireplace an installed, and we continue to enjoy its stately presence and radiant heat. It has undoubtedly become a central focal point for our family, which is excellent, as I was growing tired of the kids circulating the television.