Wednesday, February 5, 2014

I'm not too sure how to go about showing my home improvement photos since I haven't updated anything for a long time and much has changed since then.  I guess I should pick up from my last major update.

From my last post you can see that we had just done the framing of first and second floor around the fireplace and chimney. We had to change the framing one more time when the fireplace was fitting in as it was short by a couple of inches. At that time the house was a total and complete chaos because the walls were knocked wide open, standing from the living room, you could see into the bedroom as well as the second floor.

(First floor looking into second floor)

 (back of the fireplace is our bedroom "closet," if you can call it that)

(looking down from the second floor)

For the actual fireplace, I opted for the Rumford fireplace because I could not reuse the interior part of my old fireplace.  After doing a bit of research on my own, it turned out that this is actually a very efficient type of traditional fireplace. Although I had to go with some cinder blocks instead of bricks, pretty much everything else was chosen with historical accuracy in mind. It's one way that I coupe with my house being smashed into pieces. Anyhow, I chose to have the fire bricks laid horizontally because it's suppose to be a older style.

My general contractor put in a gas pipe even though I said about a million times, no gas, please! So we took out the pipe and replaced that piece of broken brick!

Since our house was built in the 1920s, way before "prefab" fireplaces were common place, I was dead set on getting a custom built-from-scratch fireplace back. I'm not sure if it was really that smart of a thing to do, but that was one thing I insisted. Mind you that the cinder blocks in the new fireplace only goes about six feet high so there was no concern for weight. From the cinder block up was just wood framing and a metal flute going to the second floor and roof.  The interior part of the fireplace was ordered all the way from San Francisco, we had to wait for a week for all the parts to get here. The two pictures above is my fireplace contractor himself working on the project making sure all the measurements are correct.

And voila, there, a fireplace, well, almost!

Next step was to work on the surface of the fireplace. During the initial demolition, the workers were able to salvage piece by piece most of my fireplace tiles. However, a large portion could not be salvaged and I could not find exact replacement tiles for the life of me. No problem! My fireplace contractor Craig is a very creative guy and he opted to cut large tiles into exact smaller sizes and trimmed each corner of the tiles exactly as my old ones.

Then we played with different dyes to try to match the existing fireplace tiles.

 Of course, some tiles turned out pretty close, others not so much, we discarded the ones that did not match, and kept the better ones.

 Came installation day, it was measuring,


and measuring! The new fireplace is bigger in size than my older ones, in order not to disrupt the tile pattern, we sneakily enlarged the grout by a couple mm each row to fill in the difference!

I was on my knees for days working on coloring the tiles. I whipped out my ipad and matched the tiles as close as I could to the photos of my old fireplace, and laid them on the floor ready for the worker to just grab and install on the right spot. I was there pretty much the entire time making sure all the tiles were installed back to the right place.


Now, a fireplace, well, almost done! To be continued...:)

*Update, I guess I should show a picture of our fireplace as of today. We are just waiting for the cabinets to be installed on either side!


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