When the Weather Outside is Frightful…


When the Weather Outside is Frightful…

Not only is the Inn flanked by two converging streams, the streams themselves yield not only beautiful river rocks, but chunks of quartz, perfect for a DIY fireplace makeover.  These naturally occurring stones are evident through out the building as they were used in the construction of many of the stone walls and pillars in and around the Inn.  So when we decided the drab fireplace needed a makeover, we headed off to the stream to supply a naturally stunning facade.


Although the fireplace is surrounded by a very nice chestnut mantle, the flat hearth in unexciting red tile and the black panels directly around the fireplace made the whole section seem dark and it fails to attract attention to what should be the focal part of the room.  We struck upon the idea of using river rocks set in cement to cover the drab black, so Victor built a mold to pour the cement and set the stone. He lined the mold with heavy plastic and strengthened the whole structure with rebar.

Next he built a simple rectangular mold to raise the hearth about 2 inches for definition and also shrink the overall size of the hearth.  Once we get around to tiling the floor of the main room, the rest of the hearth with disappear, leaving just the new, raised portion.

Once all the molds were built and in place, Victor began to pour cement.  First the fireplace surround was poured and the rocks and quartz were set in to place, then the hearth was poured.

Setting the mold up for the new hearth
Pouring cement for the base of the raised hearth
Pouring cement for the new fireplace surround
Even the littlest helpers can play jigsaw with stones
Finished stonework
Mounted fireplace surround
Travertine tiles laid on the hearth

A few days later, the cement had cured enough to set the surround in place and the hearth was un-molded and finished with large travertine tiles, highlighting what will soon be a cozy spot to snuggle up with a good book or relax with a glass of wine. What do you think of our DIY fireplace makeover?

Want to see the fireplace in person? Book your stay now!


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Chef Victor Johnston, Owner of Red Leaf River Inn in Waynesville North Carolina

Thanks for visiting! I’d love to host you during your stay in North Carolina!

– Victor

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