Fireplace insert up!

Category: Daily Diary
The fireplace insert needs to be installed by professionals because the City of Chicago is pretty strict about such matters. You know, Mrs. O'Leary's cow and all that.

It is also important to note that we are having the insert installed BEFORE we build the surround. We've known folks who tried to do it the other way and who were very disappointed when the insert didn't fit quite right. So, insert before surround.

We'll talk more about our contractor later but, for the record, we went with the Fireplace and Chimney Authority in Elmhurst, Illinois for this project. We chose a Regency Gas insert with mesh doors in front of the glass that match the pattern of our old wood windows. If not strictly authentic, at least in the spirit of the original style of the house.


Bright and early on a Wednesday morning, Jason and Jose arrived to get to work.

Here is Jason laughing at this crazy lady customer with her camera. Because what kind of nut wants to get photos of events like this? (Oh, Jason, Jason. You innocent contractor, you. You have no idea. We take photos of the weirdest stuff.)


Because there was already a gas line in the bottom of the firebox and an electrical line right there too (how handy!), they needed to reconfigure a few things in order allow for a hook-up to the insert. Then it was time to put a hole through the wall of the chimney to allow for the rear vent.

Again, Jason cannot believe that I am actually taking photos of this.


But look at how nice and round that hole is! I could NEVER get a hole that round in a brick wall without a lot of practice. My attempt would have looked like an amoeba. I just know it would have.


Then it was on to the next very cool looking uber power tool to deftly carve the bricks out. Now Jason is getting into the spirit of this photo shoot and is doing his best Tom Silva imitation by patiently explaining what he is doing.


The guys are working slowly and carefully, so I have time to head inside and get a photo of the hole being opened in the wall of the chimney. You have no idea how anxious I used to get when we had to make any kind of hole in the house. Wall, ceiling, floor. Major panic. I must be getting used to it because I didn't feel like I wanted to hurl when I saw daylight where daylight normally should not be.


Since it was going pretty smoothly, I wandered upstairs to make some work calls. And when I emerged? Hey look! Most of the fireplace is installed!


Here you can see just how much depth was chiseled off of the front of the fireplace when it was covered up years ago. We're going to have build it out a little in order to frame the insert properly.


They'll come back to install the logs and the screen door when we've finished building the fireplace surround. Which means that they'll be returning in, oh, five years or so. (Let's hope that I'm kidding.)

And the outside? Well, we didn't get the vertical vent up we wanted up through the old flue. But this rear vent is relatively low profile given its location on the house.



Next up? The chimney liner for the furnace. Yee haw!

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It's looking great!

We currently have a fireplace sitting in our basement waiting for us to finish the work around it, too.

We have the same gas fireplace and screen and we absolutely love it. I, too, was reluctant to purchase it because of authenticity issues and a desire for wood but we have had it for two years and are very, very happy with it. Wait until next winter and you will truly appreciate just how nice it is. We enjoy it so much that we are currently looking into installing another one in our bedroom to keep us nice and toasty on winter mornings. Enjoy.

I can't wait to see what it looks like when you finish. I anxiously await your updates. So far, so good.

Looks great. I love the insert you've chosen.

very nice. love the screen style and running photo commentary.

I'm with you on the "hole in the house" thing. Freaks me out. And my handymen also think I'm whacko when I take pictures of them removing panelling or installing track lighting. Ah, what we bloggers do to archive!

Congrats! You may be able to use that this Spring-We had snow flurries today in WI. Our original owner removed a beautiful Victorian Mantle piece with shelves, but luckily left all the pieces in the garage, and PO was able to totally restore the mantle, including stripping off all the paint. We are so glad. They had a house fire in the early 1900's so they rarely used the fireplace after that. Maybe something similar happened to your POs.

Great job! You are making us very envious!

Wish we had it here. Yesterday, brown grass backyard. By tomorrow, 6-12 inches of the white stuff :-(

Spring! Get here already!!!


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