Saturday, February 5, 2011
My Amish Fireplace
When we built an addition onto our home, we knew we wanted a huge fireplace mantle that would fill up most of one end of the family room. Over the years we have had the Amish build and repair many things for us so we naturally thought of them first when we decided to build. Clark and I sat down with a pad and pencil and "designed" our rooms including where we wanted the windows, doors and most importantly - the fireplace. We had decided to install a wood insert to promote maximum heating efficiency. Believe me, I am no artist - but the Amish are so skilled that they interpreted my drawings with no problem at all. We wanted a primitive looking fireplace and asked that they would use an old barn beam for the mantle. Dan Mast was our carpenter in charge. Dan immediately knew where he could find an old barn beam. The first example he brought was a little more deteriorated than I wanted. So he found me another one that was in better condition. He carefully cleaned the barn beam and coated it with sealer. The hand hewn barn beam still boasts the original hatchet marks and is estimated to be well over 100 years old. Dan built a form for the fireplace and placed strong supports below the beam. Our brick layer installed the stone over the form. To make the fireplace appear more primitive, I have hung treenware spoons and scoops, a large brass dipper, a popcorn popper and sock and mitten dryers under the mantle. These are replaced with a Christmas stocking for every member of our family (including the dogs) during the Christmas season. I have also decorated the top of the mantle with old collectibles and leaned an old mirror against the wall above it. We keep our fire starter in an old coal skuttle on the hearth. The small wood stacker holds just enough wood for a cold winter's night. The display on the mantle frequently changes with the seasons. Not only is the fireplace a great decorative addition to our home, it also provides cozy warmth when the wind and snow are blowing.