The Fireplace is Finished!

I know everyone is probably sick and tired of hearing about this fireplace. Believe me, no one is as tired as I am.

As a reminder, we were going to paint the floor. But before that could happen we had to lay a new hearth. Before that could happen we had to get rid of the old wood stove (which stuck out in the room) with a new wood stove (which doesn’t).

We got the new wood stove (Camano by Avalon, a local company) at Kirkland Fireplace. They were able to cut down the legs of the stove to better fit the opening. It was installed by Top Hat Chimney (425 827 4657), who did a wonderful/ingenious job figuring out how to fit it into an existing opening with an existing chimney liner and still getting it flush with the opening. If you ever need any work done on your fireplace, I highly recommend them. Plus they are super funny.

After installation, we were left with a hole in the face of the fireplace. The trick was to figure out a way to patch it without it looking patched. Then we could finally tile the hearth.


The new Avalon wood stove and the hole left behind by the pipe of the old wood stove.

The main problem was the odd bricks. They have a chiseled tapered border. I researched looking for replacement bricks – I couldn’t even find a name for the style. After some thought, we decided to tile the inset area and create a ledge from angle iron. This way, we only had to deal with one replacement brick.

This is how it turned out:


The “Madison” sign is an old street sign from Seattle (it’s also where the husband is from). I wasn’t so fond of the logo on the stove, so I attached the sign with magnets to cover it up.

And this is how we did it.

There were two areas that needed brick/mortar repair: a footing brick that was broken during the installation and the hole left from the pipe. We fixed the footing brick – that was pretty easy. The roughness of the bricks and the fact they are painted hides the fact we did not know what we were doing.

Next we patched the hole. We found old bricks at Second Use Building Materials that were the right size. (Who knew that bricks come in so many sizes.) We buttered/mortared the bricks and filled the hole. (Sorry no pictures of filling the hole – we were too busy with messy mortar!) For the one brick under the ledge, we used a regular brick and scored a rectangle with a cold chisel and then chiseled the edges to match the existing bricks. The brick was extremely hard so the profile isn’t as deep, but it isn’t noticeable unless you are looking for it.

For the ledge we got a 2.5″ piece of angle iron at our local metal shop, Pacific Iron and Metal, for the low price of about $7. They even cut it to length. We used the mortar to attach it.


We then painted the brick and tiled the inset area. We got the tile at RE-Store – it is 4″ black honed limestone.


To replicate the paint scheme, we used sample paints of shades of green, plus gray and white. We dabbed, blotted, and scraped the surface. And then did it again. Trial and error.


Finally, time to tile the hearth! Just kidding, first we had to prep the surface so that it would be perfectly flat and at the correct height so that when we laid the tile it would sit flush with the floor. This was a process. We went to our local tile store, Art Tile, to get supplies and very helpful advice.

This was all quite a bit of work, I cannot lie.

But, it was time to tile, for real. Compared to all that came before, tiling was actually the easy part.

Before I show you the very final project, I thought it was worth reminding you what we started with oh so long ago:

Existing Woodstove and Hearth

Old wood stove and hearth. Ugly. Ugly. Ugly.

And here it is now:


See more of Heidi’s artwork at Old Stuff. New Stories.

9 thoughts on “The Fireplace is Finished!

    • Yes, I was exhausted after writing that post! The project turned out to be a ton of work, but I had hated that woodstove for 20 years – ever since we moved here – that I was willing to put some elbow grease into it.

  1. Snap, that really looks seamless with the aesthetics of your home. You’ve done a really great job of incorporating something new into your older house. I would have never thought, “angle iron” for trim, yet there you go. It’s perfect there. I like too that you kept the ‘Madison’ plaque.

    What is the fuzzy layer in the hearth prep collage? I see (I’m guessing) your quickset pour to make level with the floor, scratch coat, sealant, thin set for tile and then also two other photo’s.

    Crack me up to include a photo of the nasty nails…Take that girl for a manicure! STAT! My nails very often looked the same when we lived at the lake. Man o man I worked hard there. Always a project. But I’m sure nothing like this. You must feel over the moon to finally see this done. It looks awesome!

    • Thanks! The fuzzy surface is the anti-fracturing membrane that when on top of the cement board. The tile company recommended it – if there is ever any movement of the floor, it keeps the tile together as a unit. (at least that is how I understood it). It’s super sticky on the back and soft and fuzzy on the front. I bet it wasn’t necessary since we put the cement board down too, but better safe than sorry.

      I really do need a manicure! They would probably take one look at my hands and say “I’m sorry there’s nothing we can do for you.”

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