National Award Winning Stone Fireplace

This Maryland family was looking to enhance their existing bluestone patio which expanded out from their finished basement and game room. The homeowner had built the patio in 2004 and wanted to make the space more of a destination. Together, we sketched out ideas for a wood burning fireplace flanked by bench seating walls on either side to envelope the patio and create an outdoor gathering area for guests and family. Because of the homes location in a rural, wooded setting, backing up to a lake in northern Maryland, we decided to use Western Maryland fieldstone for the fireplace and sitting walls. This gave the space a rustic feel which matched the homeowners’ style and décor inside the home. Bluestone caps on the bench walls and hearth tie the existing bluestone patio in with the new walls and fireplace for a cohesive project that looks as if it was built at the same time, not in two separate decades.

The foundation for the walls and fireplace started with a steel reinforced, poured concrete footer, then CMU blocks formed the interior structure for the project. The stone arrived from the quarry in large rough chunks which had to be cut and worked into pieces that were buildable for the vertical surfaces of the fireplace and walls. Each stone was hand cut and fit together to maintain tight, consistent joints. Corners and angles had to be scored and chisel split to maintain the same finish as the face stones. The Keystone above the firebox opening highlights the mason crew’s ability to turn rough chunks of stone into geometric works of art, all by hand. Raked mortar joints help to highlight the irregular shape of each stone and the consistency of the joints.

The decision was made to design and build the fireplace with a Rumford style firebox for its ability to project more heat out to the people sitting in front of the fireplace rather than sending most of the heat up the chimney. This small detail is not immediately noticed in the design but the clients appreciated it and have begun to bring a television outside to watch football games in front of the fireplace, well into the playoffs.

The final accent to finish off this project was the White Oak mantle which sits above the firebox opening. This mantle was crafted using a beam salvaged from a 120 year old barn which was dismantled in the area. The 10 foot long beam was cut in half and then the two halves were trimmed and mated together to create a 12” deep mantle with all the exterior edges of the wood retaining the aged appearance from the barn.