There’s lots of discussion these days about adding character to our houses. I believe a home should reflect both the people that live there and its setting. For me, this is one of the misses with our house. Our ranch-style bungalow looks like it could be in any neighbourhood from the 1970s. Inside and out, it doesn’t reflect its farm setting. So my mission since moving here has been to inject a little more country into the house.
Just before Christmas, the living room got a huge (literally) injection of country character with our new stone fireplace.
Whew. That’s a lot of philosophy for a fireplace. More pictures.
The fireplace is beautiful, safe and, best of all, it works.
In a time when people are painting and white-washing over brick, tiling and drywalling over surrounds, a huge stone monolith like this is not necessarily in style. However, for me, this is one of those timeless designs that is about the farm, not the trend.
The stone is Bluewater by Natural Stone Veneers. It’s real stone that’s been sliced to form “tiles” about 1 inch thick. You can order both corner pieces and flats. It’s a way to get the look of a stone fireplace for much less cost and much less labour. In fact, as my mason was doing the stone, he commented how close the Bluewater was to the fieldstone that’s found naturally in this area. Exactly what I was going for.
Just like real stone, the veneers are irregularly shaped. Our mason had great attention to detail in putting this stone together. Take a look at the upper half of the fireplace near the centre. See the diamond-shaped stone? He saw the special shape of this stone and worked to feature it in the middle. He chose the stone directly below the diamond specifically because of how its notch fit the bottom of the diamond.
The mantel is barn beams from our own farm that we had milled at a local sawmill. We used two beams sandwiched together to get the depth we wanted. They’re finished with three coats of clear polyurethane.
The woodbox was a mid-project addition. This is why it’s important to be present during renovations like this. As he was building the fireplace, my mason said, “You have a lot of space here now that we’ve removed the chimneys for the decommissioned furnaces. Do you want a woodbox?”
I hadn’t even considered that possibility, and now I can’t imagine the fireplace without it. It’s really handy to have a place to store extra wood, but it also makes really nice visual. This is the side of the fireplace that faces the kitchen. As much as I love the stone, the woodbox breaks up the monolith and makes the view much more interesting.
The wood bucket is an old washtub that Matt and I bought at an antique store several years ago. I take the whole bucket outside, fill it with wood and bring it back inside–really heavy, but a really easy way to bring a big load of wood inside in only one trip.
Initially, I had a very, very plain rectangular fireplace screen in mind. However, since having this one, I find I like the contrast of the arched top with all of the other straight lines we have going on. It’s simple to move the screen to the side when I need to tend the fire. Surprisingly, the handles never get hot.
The grate is from my grandmother’s house. It sat outside at my parents’ house for years until my Dad brought it up to the farm one day last month. It fits as though it was made for the fireplace–just another example of how things work out the way they’re meant to.
We’ve had the fireplace for less than a month and already it’s been well-used. I’ve split wood, cleaned out the ashes and had lots and lots of fires. Last week temperatures were in the -20s. It was so nice to come home from work, light a fire and have dinner in front of the warm glow.
For me, nothing beats a real wood fire. In its function, as well as its fieldstone facade, it’s a perfect fit for our country farmhouse.
And just to remember how far we’ve come, here’s the full 14-day project:
Soooooo much better.
Thanks so much!
It looks fantastic! I love everything about it. It looks cozy, and you seem to really be finding your decorating groove.
I appreciate your saying that. Styling and decorating is not the easiest for me. I’m glad that it looks good to someone besides me!
It is absolutely gorgeous Julia! I am so envious on these cold blustery nights! 🙂
Thanks, Sarah. I’ve been wanting this fireplace for so long. It’s really nice to have it, especially this season!
It’s beautiful, and I love that you kept it true to the farmhouse style and the area. And the woodbox – what a bonus!
It definitely feels like a good fit for our house–much better than what was here before.
Hi Julia. I have been following your blog for a while now and have enjoyed every post. Your fireplace is beautiful. Love the stone work….enjoy.
Thanks for commenting, Donna. I’m glad you like the posts and the fireplace.
Your fireplace looks great, thanks for sharing the link! I completely agree that a home should reflect the people that live there AND the setting. We are trying to do the same thing by getting our wood and stone locally and make the house look like it sprung right up out of the ground. I love the single slab for the hearth. I was unsure about adding it to ours, but after seeing yours I’m all set.. it breaks up the stone perfectly. Also, the wood storage on the side is amazing…I actually like that better than putting it under the hearth. I don’t think we have enough room on the side for logs though…I’m going to have to measure.
You’re making great choices in your house. I think your design will work great for your family and your location.