Hello again! Starting this month, featured is a different kind of creative life than what I have typically covered on this art blog.
Here's a bit about my latest architectural and design endeavors presented with plenty of photos and limited verbiage (since I am prone to typos). In sum it's about the real labor it takes to make one house a comfortable home.
During this season of high expectations let's make the best of it!
PART ONE: The Hearth & Burner
Earlier this year our electricity was interrupted twice due to fallen trees on power lines where appliances, toilets and more were not operable for several days. When we lived in Brookfield, Wisconsin the power was out for six days! Although manageable in warmer months, a winter outage with freezing temperatures can be serious.
Knowing that this outage thing happens, we decided to have a wood burner installed and began planning for it already in summer. Additionally, we plan to fire up the burner on and off all chilly winter long.
FROM SHOWROOM TO HOME ROOM:
We selected an attractive looking, solid wood burner with a soapstone liner. "Soapstone is a natural material that absorbs the sharp heat of the fire, stores the energy, then radiates a gentle heat back into the living space. This means your home stays at a comfortable temperature all day long".
The ceramic tile hearths offered at store showrooms and online were uninspiring (samples photographed above) so I opted for a custom hearth in the dimensions preferred and to compliment the vintage looking burner. My first thought was to mimic the look of authentic cobblestone like below:
An extensive search lead me to this real volcanic cobble from Peru:
The stone installation took three long days. I worked closely with the crew to lay out the pattern precisely because there's no going back once the stone has been grouted and the heavy, cast iron burner is set into place. You bet that I was keeping an eye on everything because experience tells me to do that.
Laying stone like this is challenging. The broken, uneven cobblestones don't match up like uniform square ceramic tiles. We saw that wider gaps between stones often needed filling. We spent time rummaging through the pile of leftover stone chips to find a perfect fit and/or snipping pieces down to an even smaller size. It was like putting together a jigsaw puzzle.
With the stone grouted and set, the next step was to get the burner in place. A team of four men lugged the cumbersome beast down our narrow staircase making just a few dents in the wall. It could have been worse. Whew!
With the burner successfully set in place, the next step was to direct the smoke stack up through the basement ceiling and first floor dining room wall to the roof. Then to connect electricity for an optional blower. All of this took time and was a longer process than estimated.
The installation became more than a little distraction. Paint art projects were put on hold as the work progressed.
"...whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things." St Paul
A Post a Month