Thursday, January 29, 2015

Fireplace Demolition Begins

As the blog title states, the demolition of the old fireplace began simply with Kevin breaking out the cement around the firebox and then the cement "brick" facing on the interior of the box.  Once out the damage to the firebox itself became clearer.

This is a repeat picture from the last post of the damaged cement "brick" inside old firebox

Once Kevin removed this you can see the scorching that had taken place on the box itself

Pieces of the cement "brick" back

Patrick came over to help with the next phase of brick removal and how much would need to go to get the box itself out.  Kevin used his hammer drill to chisel out the mortar to remove the brick facing.  Patrick made sure as they went along that Kevin didn't overdo and re-injure his shoulder and undo the progress he's made.  As the first sections of brick came out it became clear the entire front would have to come off in order to get this old firebox out.

Kevin taking out the first bricks surrounding the old firebox

Once out they were trying to see if there was a way to remove the firebox at this point or if all the brick needed to come out

It ALL needed to come out.  Patrick was making sure that as Kevin jack hammered the stone shelves as well as brick sections didn't come crashing down on him.

Making progress, and a mess!!

Once the brick was all off and we cleared the mess off the drop cloth we put in front of the fireplace, the guys were faced with how to get the old box undone from the chimney in order to get it out. Not an easy task and it required sections of the chimney pipes to be cut off in order to lift the pipe up enough to actually remove the box.

Kevin was looking at the old paperwork on this fireplace to determine how and where the chimney pipe was attached to the base firebox. In the end they had to take the Sawzall to the pipe and remove a section to be able to detach the box.

After A LOT of effort - success!!! The old box came out.

Once this was done we were able to get a better look at the chimney pipe itself and see the separation on the interior pipe that had allowed smoke into the outer air pipe and channeled it back into the house.  We kept saying as we saw the damage it was amazing the previous owners hadn't burned the place down and we were thankful we trusted our instincts to not light a fire in this fireplace ourselves!!

This is the section that had separated on the interior pipe

So after a long, messy day the old firebox was set outside to be taken to the scrap metal yard, and measurements were done so we could begin our search for a replacement.

Old firebox ready for scrap

Our antique ash box shows how much of a layer of dust was over everything in the house.  I had my work cut out cleaning all this off and airing out the house.

To be continued....

Stay tuned and I'll post our progress in my next few blog posts.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Nesting Time of the Year

Last year we had regular visits from a pair of great blue heron's that have a very large nest on the side of a tall pine on one of the islands on our property.  We have our visitors back again as they fix their nest for this year.

This is from last year, but the location is the same place, just a bit bigger this year.

We have a pile of sticks near the boat in the back yard and he became a daily visitor in the mornings for the last two weeks as he searched the pile for just the size needed at that point.  The male is the primary forager for building materials, as the female weaves them together and settles the moss, pine needles and feathers in place for the finishing details.

He decided to move into the trees to search when the sticks by the boat proved not to his needs this trip

Found one, but he'd later drop it in favor of a slightly larger branch

All set with his stick he was prepared to leave

Watching them prepare their home, must have planted a seed that perhaps it was time to get back to work on our household projects.  We got off track a bit when Kevin injured his shoulder and was laid up from any heavy lifting.  As he progresses with his physical therapy and is able to do more, we looked around at the items we have on our list and felt the fireplace was a timely repair to schedule.

Kevin's brother Patrick is down and offered to help him, so we began looking at our options and finally determined that with the damage to the fireplace we would need to remove the entire fire box.

This is the front of the fireplace.  You can still see smoke damage from before we bought the place.  We've never trusted it to have a fire in it, so we're looking forward to a working fireplace.  I don't care for the bricks or the lack of a mantel so those are a part of our new design changes that will be addressed in this project.

This is a close up of the damage to the old firebox interior.  The back panel was cracked and bowed out and the base had cracks all through it.  Kevin had just begun to chip out the very front as I stopped him to get this picture.

I'll be posting our progress in the next few posts, as we replace the fireplace and create a new surround to change out the old to a new functional fireplace and a more attractive surround that suits our needs and taste.

So just like the heron's our nesting projects are officially in progress.

While my shot is a bit blurry, I still love the size and grace of these beautiful birds as they fly in and out of our property
Stayed tuned as we continue the needed projects to make this house the home that we'd like it to be.

Sunday, January 4, 2015


Yesterday Kevin and the kids went fishing at a small local lake named McGarity Lake.  This was the first time for the girls.  Cameron and Kevin showed them how to put the worms on their hooks and then cast their lines.

Hannah fishing

All the kids on the dock

Lauren fishing

It was a pretty day with a nice breeze and they were able to spend some time enjoying their attempts to catch fish.  Only hindrance was that the fish weren't really biting.

Cameron helping Lauren


Only this small one got hooked on Hannah's line, and after bringing it on the dock she learned to unhook it and threw it back.  "It felt wet, squishy and squirmy" she said as she told me about picking it up and trying to hold it to throw it back.

Here it is, the only catch of the day
Hannah's first fish

Lauren said " the fish just took my worms!!"  Life's lessons. They had a great time and are anxious to go again.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year

Wishing you a very happy, healthy and prosperous new year from our family to yours.