Friday, May 13, 2011

The fireplace that is - of a sort

Ahhh, the fireplace. Yes, that one had us stumped from the moment we set eyes on it. I mean, yes, I know this is Florida and a fireplace isn't really a "sine qua non", a must-have item in your home without which you cannot exist but who'd remove the firebox and then brick up the opening of a humongous brick fireplace that is THE absolute focal point of your livingroom?

Not me.

You probably wouldn't do it either but in the Duckling's past somebody did just that.

Now what to do with it? I went into some of my musings here and here but this problem occupied my thoughts for quite a while. What to do? Our budget wouldn't allow us to do an entire remodel of the fireplace. Or a rebuild. Leave it as is? No way! So one day - while browsing for ideas and inspiration - I came across three magical words: Wall Mounted Fireplace.

That sounded doable. Very doable. We'd get the looks of a fireplace and thanks to advancement in gel technology even the crackling of an actual fire without having to worry about chinmney liners, vents and/or gaslines. Searching the internet for types brought up a wealth of different styles for any size wallet. This could actually work!

I managed to snag a great deal on a simple, almost craftman-style copper-colored wall mounted fireplace with a whole box of gel cans on

After busting out the bricked up opening where the original firebox used to be (read more about that here) we covered the whole with a piece of plywood and sealed the edges against drafts from the chimney with "Great Stuff".

[All sealed and carved to shape]

I enjoy messing around with spray foam insulation. It's like Playdoh for adults except you have to wait until it skins over before you can touch it without getting gooey sticky hands. Funny enough, it also keeps growing so you end up having to hack and carve it into shape.

Since you could see the spray foam-ed seams through the front of the wall mount fireplace I gave it a quick coat of black paint.

[Ready, set - fireplace!]

After the paint had dried I wedged and shimmed the wallmount fireplace into its new opening and caulked it into place. While I'm not concerned about it starting a fire at the drop of a hat - these things are meant to be hung on your wall after all - I did use caulk especially made for fireplaces. [Almost done: Before caulking]

And just like that we have a fireplace of a sort. The cost break down runs along these lines

  1. Great Stuff (2 cans) $7
  2. plywood scrap (free on hand)
  3. fireplace caulk ($5)
  4. wallmount fireplace ($70)
  5. hours of labor husband spent busting through brick and wife hauling brick: priceless

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