Chimney expansion (to cover chaseway)

Once upon a time, we bought a house and loved the brick chimney, but didn’t love the duct work and chaseway that ran alongside. We ran through our options, and decided on the most difficult (of course)! We sourced old yellow (Chicago-style) brick for about two years off Craigslist at cheap or free prices. Then came the hard part – the cutting out of the old brick and tooth-ing in the salvaged brick to expand the chimney. Not for only one chimney – but for four different areas in the house! We had four areas to add brick:

  1. the kitchen chimney that had horrible yellow cabinetry next to it hiding duct work
  2. the duct work in the dining room we wanted to cover
  3. the plumbing (toilet) pipe on the opposite side of the dining room we wanted to cover
  4. the chimney in the upstairs master that ran alongside a heating supply run duct

It turned out amazing and we are really happy with the results. The salvaged brick and new mortar isn’t a one-to-one match with the old stuff, but there is no way it would ever be…that  chimney is over 100 years old! The expanded chimneys are such a unique architectural feature and really make the room unique, versus just cutting up some drywall to cover whatever pipes and duct work need covering. It makes the house look like there are more chimneys and although they’re not functional, they add texture, age and color to the rooms. I LOVE THEM! In the next house we fix up, it would be awesome to somehow include some old brick in every room. I wonder how Ross feels about that idea….

Taking out the corner pieces of the kitchen chimney so we could make it longer/wider

Longer/wider brick to cover the chaseway

Slow-going piecing one brick in at a time

Almost finished – just the top brick remaining, to reconcile with the ceiling

The finished kitchen chimney – looks like it was meant to be!

Before and after! I would never cook anything in the kitchen on the left…gross

 

New brick exterior (+ baby’s first walk!)

Julius took his first few steps! It is so fun to hear George encouraging him. George was nowhere near walking when he turned one – he had a gigantic ass and it took him forever to figure out how to navigate that thing around. He was also wearing 18-month clothes at one year and Julius still wears 9-month clothes. Total opposites, these boys. Should make for interesting lives. I love how Julius holds himself stick straight when he walks so as not to collapse:

In other news, we have a new house. I mean, a practically new-looking house. Ross recruited some guys to help him put new brick on the exterior of the rental and it looks totally different! Curb appeal like whoa. All we need is an adorable little window box with fresh flowers and….SOLD…for ONE MILLION dollars…

New swank brick exterior

New swank brick exterior

It was about ten to fifteen degrees that day so Ross had to enclose everything and heat the area so the brick and mortar would set up correctly. He was worried the enclosure would blow down overnight so he didn’t sleep very well that night! They worked really hard and fast and got it all done in a day. #ateam #getthat #getitdone #handlethat

Enclosure keeping the brick and mortar warm

Enclosure keeping the brick and mortar warm

Brick ties

Brick ties

Laying the brick

Laying the brick

Ross left the heater on overnight to give it enough time to dry. I love it of course and I’m super excited every time I see it, but it sucks they had to do it in the dead of winter…Ross said the forecast called for warmer weather, but you can’t believe everything anything you hear. Ross washed the brick off with a type of acid wash – Vana Trol brick wash to clean up any mortar that was spilled on the face of the brick.

Brick cleaned with Van Trol

Brick cleaned with Vana Trol

It’s not completely done – there are a few items left to take care of like finishing the very top of the brick (I think Ross called it a runoff layer of brick, or coping?), taking the scroll ironwork down by the front steps – #shudder – and adding posts instead, and shutters. We are thinking some painted cedar posts (white) with some brick along the bottom half would look nice and finish the exterior off. I scribbled what we’re thinking below.

Crusty old scroll ironwork straight outta 1970

Crusty old scroll ironwork straight outta 1970

Now that this brick home is ours, I cannot believe what it looked like before. Yawn. I loooove the brick…lurve lurve. It may be replacing stucco as my favorite exterior of all time. “Hey brick?” “Yah?” “I love you. Muah.”

Future state. Crude drawing but cross your eyes a bit and you can see my vision.

Future state. Crude drawing but cross your eyes a bit and you can see my vision.

We were worried about not having enough brick but it seems we might have just enough to do the bottom of the posts and some runoff brick along the top. Thanks to a sudden abundance of free yellow Chicago style brick on Craigslist, we also have plenty of brick to restore the exposed chimney, cover the chaseway in the kitchen, and cover the vent/pipe in the dining room and upstairs master bedroom. Yay for exposed brick er’where! The future is looking bright, friends. #gotmyshadesontopbackrollingwiththemusicjacked

 

Chimney + chaseway plans

We exposed the beautiful yellow brick chimney and in the process, discovered a metal heating chaseway that sits next to the chimney. It had been drywalled over and had [fugly] cabinetry installed over it. Here is the before where you can see the odd box-out where the chimney and chaseway were covered with a built in pantry-type of unit.

The tiny pantry cabinets were obviously hiding something.

The tiny pantry cabinets were obviously hiding something.

When we started uncovering the chimney we also uncovered the metal chaseway. We are deciding what exactly to do with the chaseway. My first inclination is to cover it with the same cool yellow brick as we have on the chimney, since they sit right next to each other and they are both highly visible from both the hallway and kitchen.

The chimney brick uncovered.

The chimney brick uncovered.

But the more I search, the less confident I am in my ability to find said brick. Craiglist doesn’t have any in Minnesota or even in neighboring states – and the salvage shops I emailed don’t have any inventory either. The one place with current stock I found online would have to ship it from Chicago – eek. At least two salvage shops referred me to Historic Stone Company in Minneapolis. I’ll be calling on them, for sure, but first we need to decide if we are going to cover up the chaseway with yellow brick or not…thoughts?

Chaseway and chimney revealed.

Chaseway and chimney revealed.