Wednesday, February 15, 2023

The NJ Diner Fireplace

One of the lovely features of the house is the big fireplace in the living room.  While the mantle doesn't seem to be original (I did a lead paint test on it and it came up negative, so it's likely post 1978 when lead was outlawed), it still has a nice elegance to it.   It's a key part of our renovation plan.  But we need to temporarily remove it (carefully) to do some structural work around it.

And that's when we got a huge surprise.  

At some point in the house's history, someone faced the fireplace with the ugliest stonework I've ever seen.  Seriously, we're not talking about an elegant stone face, we're talking about something that looks like it belongs in a 1960's New Jersey diner (and I'm not saying that in a hip, isn't it trendy and cool kind of way!).  There is no way this should be in this house.  It just doesn't belong.

It might be hard to see in the photo, but the mortar joints are raised in a 3D sort of style.  Again, not appropriate for a house like this!

In another interesting twist, we opened up the wall behind the fireplace and discovered the flue goes up at a really unusual angle.  That explains why we couldn't figure out its location when we were doing to drawings of the as-is house.  Who knew it would go up at such a funky angle!

So, should we tear out the stone facing on the front of the fireplace?  Is it brick behind it?  And would that just be a nightmare of mortar stuck to brick from the stone facing?  Or do we just cover it up, with yet another layer before the mantle goes back on?  

So many questions and once again we're at a crossroads.  This house certainly has its share of surprises!

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1 comment:

  1. I think you should keep removing the layers and see if another surprise is revealed, hopefully the next one will be a good sort of surprise.


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