Yesterday I perused all the pretty tiles from those two tile links and began dreaming of tile layouts for the hearth as a future project. Then I decided to search for marbleized slate mantles online so I could get ideas of what the fireplace surround and summer covers would have typically looked like.
A few were at salvage yards. This one is missing it's summer cover. It is at a salvage yard in Columbus.
Here are a couple with original tile and the metal coal grates or surrounds. Both at a salvage yard in Chicago.
Another one missing it's summer cover. It is nearly as simple as ours. This one is from Pennsylvania.
This one is a home that is on the market in Maryland. Very good looking, although the newer granite hearth is a little disappointing.
My favorite was this one from the Tippecanoe Co. Courthouse. I was especially excited to see the tiled hearth. It is just like the tile options I saw from OHI. At least I knew I'd be headed in the right direction for a future tile layout.
But all that changed after this morning's walk through with the brick mason. Mr. W happened to be home so he got to listen in. The mason discouraged us from doing a gas log set up because we would have to have the damper constantly open to allow for ventilation for the pilot light. Long story short we pulled up the specs to the Victorian style gas insert we liked from the very beginning to look at the specifications. The mason instead recommended that we demo and remove the firebox and within the chimney cavity we would then have adequate space to accommodate the insert's engine and ducting.
The only unknown was would there be some unforeseen something inside the chimney that would prevent us from using the insert and would instead force us to rebuild the firebox and keep with a traditional wood burning fireplace. The prospect is very disappointing now that we have our hearts set on the easy of gas! We all decided that I would try to locate a local distributor and find out if there was any way to do a return should the worst case unforeseen happen.
The insert I think that would work best for us is the President, it is the simplest which I think is best to prevent taking away attention from the mantlepiece. And I was able to find a couple of local dealers and the one in Irvington even had a model on the showroom floor! I got pricing over the phone from both. It turns out that the President and Senator do not have the same metal panel around them like the arched one. I guess I thought i would have a little more wiggle room to cover the gaps. Nope. The unit is a lot smaller than I thought and it turns out we will end up with a 4" gap on the top and both sides. You know what that means, right? A tiled surround!!!
I really shouldn't get so excited, poor Mr. W this fireplace project is getting out of control. He and OLH left for a mini vacation today so I broke the news to him via email. Not only my suggestion of replacing the hearth now, but also the necessity of creating and tiling a surround. Since the mason today suggested the gas insert , it just didn't seem prudent to me to delay replacing the hearth becasue we would then have to uninstall the insert then to demo the existing hearth and lay a new one. Which would also risk damaging a new tiled surround.
Now my dreams of tile layouts need to be much more serious.
Dear God, please let this cycle be successful so we can stop paying for infertility treatments.