Opening up the lounge fireplace

I want to install an open fire in the lounge so this weekend, with Eli’s brother Yutlhiam, we got out the cold chisels and bolsters and started hacking away.

I was hoping that once we knocked through the wall I’d discover a neat Edwardian fireback, all ready to use, perhaps with a few loose bricks in there.

This is it before:

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Day 1

Getting the front removed wasn’t too difficult.  We chipped away plaster until we could see the outline of a brick, being careful to stay beneath where the lintel should be.  It helped that the old outline was clear in the plaster.

Then it was just a matter of carefully hacking away plaster and cement around a brick.  Once the first one was out the rest were easy.

The only thing to be careful of was to make sure the lintel was not removed or damaged – but that was always unlikely.  In any case, as soon as the hole was large enough I could stick my head up and check the lintel was there.  All good, so the rest of the bricks were removed and the house didn’t fall down.

A total surprise.  Once we’d chipped away all the bricks and removed three bag-fulls of cement breeze blocks I was left with a clean hole, freshly plastered, and with the remains of a gas pipe.

Not what I’d wanted!

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Clearly, the owners before last had ripped out the original fireplace and installed a modern gas fire in a minimalist rendered opening.  I’m sure it looked quite nice at the time.  It still does.  But for restoring the old open fire it’s a pain!

Day two

Continuing to reveal.  Now the arch of the lintel is visible.

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The arch is in OK condition (a few chips) but there is a loose brick that fell out above it.  Nothing a bit of cement can’t fix.

Going downwards is tough.  It’s all solid brick with masses of very tough cement.

To be continued…

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