When Robert from Strong Rock Masonry came by to look at my fireplace, he confirmed that the bricks inside were cracked and damaged, and not all that fire proof. They were just regular-looking bricks. He told me that if I wanted he could also redo the hearth, which had lame red tiled on them, some a which were cracked and loose.
Robert and his partner rebuilt my chimney too, and a few days later they came back to rebuild the fireplace itself.
When I mentioned to Mom and Dad that I was shopping around for tile for the fireplace, Mom said something that is so classically Scott family, I can’t even with it, “You know, in 1970 one of my sales reps (someone who brings product like tile and carpet, fabric and furniture to interior designers to use) called me and invited me to his warehouse. It had burned down and we were invited to take any salvageable tile we wanted! It’s in the basement and it’s beautiful!” She laughed as she added that she and Dad had destroyed the suspension system of their Opel Cadet bring back those tiles and the quarry tile now on their kitchen floor.
I went into their basement where there is an interesting backroom with built-in cabinets with screened doors on them. I wonder if it was a room servants used at one time. The house was built in 1880-something and I’m pretty sure there was some upstairs-downstairs stuff. On the floor in an over forty-year-old cardboard box were a bunch of the tiles, with many more on a shelf near the low ceiling.
I rummaged through them and collected up 80 of the best looking ones I could find. I lugged them home, making a few trips from my car to my house with them. I scrubbed them thoroughly and used my cookie cooling racks to dry them!
It was clear that they were very porous so the next step was to make sure they were sealed. I bought some sealant at Home Depot, laid out some brown craft paper and used a glue gun to put globs of glue all over it to prevent the tile from sitting flat on the paper and sticking to it (I was painting the back and sides first).
Two layers on all sides.
Meanwhile, Robert and Jobani were downstair doing their thing…
Also meanwhile, Harlow was laying around at Mom and Dad’s house (because she would have been stuck in my room all day otherwise and I didn’t want to do that to her).
Then she came home and laid around some more because behaving is so tiring!
On the third day Robert came back alone and completed the project. I’m really happy with how it looks and I love that I was able to use some tiles with a story, and also make use of something that wasn’t getting used.
When I first brought in all the wood, Harlow was confused, “Are these for me?” Why are the outside toys inside the house? She decided they were not for her after a sniff and laid down in front of the fire. I made a small one first, because I was nervous.
But then I got a bigger one going, dragged a comfy chair in front of it and I love it!