Fireplace Possibility (6)

Okay, after some back and forth, looking at this design, then taking a look at another design, or four-we have come to a consensus. And a very good consensus it is.

Here it is.

Rumford design fireplace with room for wood storage

[ The winner, after much discussion, I hope this will be a Rumford designed fireplace.]

The Particulars:

The rustic angles at the edges the arched opening at the fireplace is echoed in the opening for the firewood storage area. Boulders on the right just flow right into the fireplace.

On the left the boulders will continue with cedar bench(es) built into the boulders.

There are still several different possibilities for the stone patio, I would hope that it would be large slabs of sandstone-3.0×3.0, 3.0×4.5 around 3″ thick dry-laid on stone dust.

As for the stone for the fireplace. It will either be the same stone on the house, or we could use Ohio fieldstone . . . this would just be smaller pieces of the surrounding boulders.

The History:

To look back through the entire story there are several other pst to take a look at.

  1. This is where it all started with a plan view of a deck possibility and a look at a fireplace idea.
  2. A pencil sketch of two ideas-notice the stone/wood benches in the upper photo.
  3. I like this one with the extra wood storage and the “weird” right side to the fireplace. Would be tough to pull off, and I doubt this could be a Rumford.
  4. #4 is a look at the previous work with some interest in an arched look in the fireplace. This turned out to be very prophetic(sp?).
  5. A much longer post with more analysis of the entire area, including several other looks at fireplace possibilities, including a larger sketch that’s very close to the final drawing.

Looking back that will take you through everything involved so far. The Contractor of record has given the numbers to the homeowners for the entire project and we are awaiting their decision, and it’s a big decision.

Providing this all falls into place we will follow along with the build process, including all the lowdown on those involved building this project. Especially those that will be asked to do something out of their comfort zone.

To me there are two types of contractors/subs/craftspeople.

  • Those that embrace new ideas and are not only up to the challenge but attacked the challenge with gusto. Knowing that this is a chance to show off their skills and abilities. Folks who have pride in their work, and are never satisfied. They want to be better. Cabinet makers are a good example of this kind of sub/contractor. Another; is/was Ernie Washington’s bricklaying crew in South Carolina. His guys loved doing one of my projects, because they new it was always something out of the norm.
  • Those that abhor new ideas and challenges. It’s the status-quo for them. This is the way “I”/”we” do it and that’s that! Just put in their time, do whats required to get paid and get off the job site. The last thing they want is some “&^%$ %&$$* jerk, know-it-all” telling them to push their limit. To me concrete guys are at the top of this side of the coin. Okay concrete guys . . . fire away.

Let’s be perfectly clear-I am in no way pointing/talking/referring to the contractor of record, or anyone who may be connected to the fireplace build. I thought this was a good place to point this out.

This job will be a difficult build. There is limited access, and what access there is requires working around trees that need to be saved-saved to carry on the aesthetic and ambiance they have created for this site.

There is lots of stone boulder/out-cropping work to be done. Outcropping work can look so good that it appears it was already there . . . to:

“Holy^(^(^%$&#&_$&$($#^@?!? Did those guys just dump them boulders off the truck”.

Paths to build, large steps to lay, structural work. Concrete and stone deck. A large circular paved courtyard, and on and on.

Challenge yes, build it’ll be fun as hell to build, and an awesome place to live your life.

Need to know more about outside fireplaces:

Here are several links of various interest when looking at designing/building fireplaces, outside . . . or inside.

  • The information you need in builiding a Rumford fireplace. It’s a step-by-step tutorial. This is “The site” on the Rumford fireplace. hmm, Rumford . . . what a strange name . . . must be named after some guy. <buzzer noise> Yeah! come on down, you are correct. The Rumford fireplace is named after Count Rumford and he is not from Transylvania, and quite an industrious guy.
  • CSIA is a site . . . CSIA? CSIA? What the heck is the CSIA? Oh, you know . . . the Chimney Safety Institute of America-CSIA! Back to what I was saying . . . the CSIA site has very good information on chimney maintenance and safety. How to find a certified “sweep”, using firewood, and other safety measures. A good resource and tip page for the homeowner.
  • The Masonry Heater Assoc. of North America. Lots of info here, mostly for indoors but another site for good info and ways to continue your search.
  • Architectural codes, specs., information, information, information, it’s all here. You could spend a long time here. This is a site I highly recommend to Landscape Designers to expand their knowledge of the building trades, codes, specs., etc. the building codes link on the left will get you to any municipality in the U.S.
  • Codes, codes and more . . . standards the International Codes Council(ICC) is a good place to find some code(s) info. Way beyond fireplaces it will get you to just about anything you need to know.
  • Quality, some companies still believe quality is the driving philosophy of their product and not just another high-falutin’ word that gets paid in lip-service. One of those would be The Superior Clay Corporation, makers of really great chimney ‘toppers'(my word). How do I know? I buy their “seconds” and use them as pots/urns in the garden and those “seconds” are superior to almost every other clay pot I have laid hands on-the “seconds”. If you want to really “finish” off you chimney-outside or inside . . . these are the guys.
  • At there’s a lot of solid links for professionals to pages with various type products. Including a page for fireplace links.
  • Custom Building and Restoration services at Tradweb also has a web page for fireplace equipment, services, etc.
  • Traditional Building magazine is a great source for all things architectural, and I mean all things architectural. The magazine is also worth the subscription.
  • Then there’s the National Fireplace Institute(NFI), that use to be the Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Education Foundation . . . the supply a list of ‘certified’ specialist. For those of us in the trade the page with info about industry pros, certification, codes, etc. Go straight to this page.
  • You didn’t think I create a list without mentioning chimney sweeps did you? Well there is the National Chimney Sweep Guild(NCSG). By the way did you know . . . Chimney swifts winter in the Amazon Basin of Peru. Well they do. Says so right there. I would think they best way to find a “Sweep” is like a lot of other trades; ask around . . . check with local brick/stone masons who build fireplaces-heck, they may even be ‘Sweeps’.

Okay that oughta keep you busy for awhile!

By Rick Anderson

The Whispering Crane Institute was originally formed to act as the umbrella organization for the Philosophy of Design Symposium, and other seminars and workshops given by Rick Anderson and Richard L. Dube’. In the year 2000 WCI became a sole proprietorship owned by Rick Anderson. Today the WCI provides design and consultation services for Landscape Contractors, acts as a Green Industry think tank, and provides training for others in the form of workshops, seminars, and individual consulting. The WCI also provides written material, opinions, case-studies and how-to articles for industry trade magazines.


  1. ‘it’ should draw better now. (although I need to draw better also)

    If they build it Rumford style it’ll draw great-as to that drawing business . . . get to practicing!

  2. You were right when you started talking about contractors. There are contractors who will not only accept a challenge, but take before and after pictures for their portfolio. Your design is nice. When will we see the actual photos? I think I see a log storage on the left. Is that correct?

    Hi Jessica;
    Yes that is log storage on the left. The entire design for the project is still bing tweaked-we have yet to decide the final size/footprint for the 2nd story deck. The rest of the project has been estimated-the client and the contractor are now finalizing that estimate.

    When we get started I will take pics and will certainly take pics of the final. I’m not sure how many ‘during ‘ the project pics I will take, the site is an hour and a half from me.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: