Do you recognize what is in the photo below?
Yep! It is or was the stone fireplace surround and mantel in my living room that we are currently dismantling.
You may be thinking… Why are they removing it?
Why We Are Removing the Stone Fireplace Surround
When I got home from Los Angeles over the weekend, Ed told me that the chimney guy had come to clean and inspect the fireplace.
We have done that in the past and the inspector has always told us he wasn’t so sure about how we built out the fireplace. But this time he told Ed the fireplace itself, the firebox and chimney were in great shape. Even the AirStone we used was fine and a great fire-rated product.
What he told Ed was the problem was that the framework we created to attach the AirStone was not up to code and is a fire hazard. He told Ed a few horror stories and that was all Ed needed to hear to know we had to remove it.
The problem was the space between the actual fireplace and the framework on which the AirStone was mounted. We didn’t leave a 2″ gap all around and didn’t add a vent. If we were to sell the house, it would never pass inspection and we would have to rip it out then.
We have no plans to move, but we don’t want a fire hazard in the house, so when I got home and Ed told me, I said – “well let’s do it and get it done”
He was expecting me to be upset. I am not at all upset. It is just decor and a few hours’ work. The fireplace will function the same and I know I can come up with a new and safe decorative look for the fireplace and wall.
Building The Stone Fireplace 6 Years Ago
I built the stone surround when we first moved into the house, which was 6 years ago. The project was for a sponsored post/fireplace makeover challenge I did for the site Angie’s List.
This is what the fireplace wall looked like when we first moved into the house.
All the bloggers in the challenge were given a few weeks to makeover a fireplace. I didn’t have to pay for any of the materials and supplies, but had to document and post about what I did.
If you are a long time reader you may remember it. I didn’t win, but I was quite happy with how the fireplace came out.
I really liked that we created the mantel using the top molding of a dining room hutch from our previous house that didn’t fit in the new house.
I used AirStone on the fireplace in our previous house in Pennsylvania and liked it, so I decided that is what I would use for the makeover challenge.
I watched a few YouTube videos on how to build a framework around a fireplace and got to work.
What Am I Planning to Do For the Fireplace Now?
It has been six years since I made over the fireplace. Now it is time for a new fireplace makeover challenge for me, but this time I plan to take my time and ask the right questions before proceeding.
Since it has only been a few days since we started to remove the mantel and the stone, I am not sure how I want the fireplace and wall to look.
I do know I want something clean lined – maybe not even use a mantel. I know – sounds crazy, but I find that this is the room in which we truly live. I want it to feel comfy, cozy for relaxing, but with clean lines so the space feels serene and peaceful – less stuff in the way of decor.
I think I am craving this look and feel after living through the last two years being at home and wanting to feel safe. I also know that when you are faced with a loved one that is seriously sick, you realize what is important in life. The other stuff – just falls away.
I know these are the reasons why when Ed told me we would have to remove the fireplace surround, I wasn’t at all upset.
Sure it will be a pain to remove – AirStone is a great product and the mastic used to adhere the stones does its job well. But nothing a crow bar, chisel and a hammer can’t handle. The wood frame wood is screwed into the brick wall and so far has been easy to remove with a power screwdriver.
I am taking this deconstruction task as something positive – no need to waste time worrying about something that is just decorative. The fireplace will still work.
Once the stone and wood frame are removed, I will keep looking at the wall until I decide what it needs and feels right for the space and my aesthetic.
The firebox is very large, which is nice, but we have never been able to find a screen large enough to cover the entire opening.
Finding one is going to be my first priority or have one custom-made. Then seeing how that looks, I will proceed with ideas for the rest of the brick wall.
Lessons Learned From This DIY
With all the DIY’s I have done through 5 homes – I have had only one other big project that became a problem. It was the product itself that was the fail, not user error. :-). It was the deck stain I used to stain the deck in our previous house.
What I learned from that was never use a brand new product on a large project. Test it out on something small first or wait for reviews to come out about it, instead of being the first one to find out how good/bad a product is.
For the fireplace – even if you saw a DIY done on You Tube or an HGTV show- doesn’t mean it is the right or the only way to do it.
First run your DIY plan by your township inspector or a pro who knows your town’s codes. Then proceed DIY’ing it to complete the project and have each step documented and approved.
Life can give you lemons… but I am going to make some new sweet lemonade for this one.
So what’s new and happening in your life this week? :-)
If you have any fireplace makeover ideas… I would love to hear them.
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