How we made our fireplace patio – a step-by-step guide

 photo Fireplace Patio 167 of 206_zpstfsfxhfs.jpg

Implementing our fireplace design in the backyard took a bit of planning, some research, and a bunch of hard labor, but overall we’re over the moon about the results. And looking back, it was a great project that came together the way we hoped it would.

 photo Fireplace Patio 4 of 206_zpsdaf28mnx.jpg

First step was making room for the patio. After looking at the inspiration, we knew we wanted the fireplace to be a gathering spot in the back yard, one where our guest could mingle with lots of built-in seating. Moving the shed from the spot we earmarked for the new patio turned out to be a sizable project in itself.

 photo Fireplace Patio 16 of 206_zpszi0kxzz3.jpg

Friends and neighbors were kind enough to help in the project and with some creative maneuvering, we finally got it in place at the other end of the yard.

 photo Fireplace Patio 18 of 206_zpsjhuquutl.jpg

Earlier in the year we had a bobcat reshape the south side of the property as we move the swingset as well.

 photo Fireplace Patio 21 of 206_zpsamdvqtrc.jpg

What was left after removing the shed temporarily turned into a dumping ground as we updated landscaping in other parts of the yard. But soon enough, we got it cleaned up to make way for our new project.

 photo Fireplace Patio 19 of 206_zpsc90s4vsn.jpg

 photo Fireplace Patio 30 of 206_zpsipcuwavz.jpg

After leveling off the are, we mapped out where the fireplace would be and put in the foundation. We decided to have the fireplace in the corner with either side serving as wood storage. We toyed with the idea of using one side of the fireplace for a BBQ, but in the end we opted for a balanced and simple design. We made sure to dig the foundation below the frost line before mixing and pouring our foundation. If we were to do this project again, I’d probably opt to have the patio floor and foundation poured by a cement contractor, as this part took us a long time to do.

 photo Fireplace Patio 44 of 206_zpszxjcihfa.jpg

With the patio leveled off and the fireplace foundation in place, we moved on to bringing in pea gravel, sand, and our paver flooring.

 photo Fireplace Patio 48 of 206_zpsal4ml9pn.jpg

Whitney really wanted a herringbone pattern, which turned out not to be too difficult as we compacted the sand and placed the pavers.

 photo Fireplace Patio 63 of 206_zps1i2r4v63.jpg

 photo Fireplace Patio 67 of 206_zpsbmsruhhj.jpg

 photo Fireplace Patio 69 of 206_zpsghvhzmzi.jpg

 photo Fireplace Patio 72 of 206_zpspqstcknv.jpg

With the floor more or less in, we moved to the creative part – placing cinder blocks to determine the shape of the fireplace. As our plans were completely made up from the inspiration from others, we had to place the blocks in different locations to start forming the overall shape.

 photo Fireplace Patio 85 of 206_zpsydaykhlz.jpg

Once we had a layer centered and roughed out, we could join them together.

 photo Fireplace Patio 88 of 206_zpsf1aihqsq.jpg

For many, building this way doesn’t work too well, but placing layers and forming as you go, with our end product in mind generally worked well for us. In that way it was good to visualize the next step before it was cemented in place.

 photo Fireplace Patio 89 of 206_zpsyklz9oiw.jpg

The inside firebox would be made of firebrick and we played with the placement of that too.

 photo Fireplace Patio 91 of 206_zpstnjn5su5.jpg

Since we wanted built-in seating, we placed cinder block below the frost line as a cement foundation and built the cinder blocks on top to create seating that would be 18″ high off the ground around the perimeter. While we wanted the patio to be square, we did decide to build around the pine tree, which we wanted to keep for afternoon shade.

 photo Fireplace Patio 82 of 206_zpsryygqvc3.jpg

We also wanted a curved fireplace opening. It took some thought, but in the end this wasn’t nearly as difficult as we thought it might be. We simply created a mold of the shape we wanted, reinforced it with rebar, and filled it with cement.

 photo Fireplace Patio 93 of 206_zps14wdcaof.jpg

 photo Fireplace Patio 94 of 206_zps8i8da81v.jpg

 photo Fireplace Patio 96 of 206_zpsz7ljpdcw.jpg

Once placed, the archway for the fireplace worked perfectly!

 photo Fireplace Patio 97 of 206_zpsmarjlnxt.jpg

The flue was made by resting the clay chimney on rebar that spanned the cinder block. We set it toward the back of the firebox to be sure smoke would rise up the chimney and not come billowing out of the fireplace front.

 photo Fireplace Patio 98 of 206_zpsd7crnsio.jpg

 photo Fireplace Patio 99 of 206_zpseeur0tie.jpg

With the fireplace taking shape, we started on the woodboxes on either side- to make sure they’d match our center fireplace.

 photo Fireplace Patio 101 of 206_zpsxh8njmij.jpg

With differing sizes of cinder block, we kept trying shapes, fits, and overall look until we pieced the entire project together. You can see that we left a bench in front of the fireplace which we wanted so kids wouldn’t get too close to the flames when roasting.

 photo Fireplace Patio 104 of 206_zpsjscsnzwk.jpg

Many a Saturday or weekday evening was spent getting everything placed, but it was gratifying as the overall look began to take shape. I’m sure the neighbors were wondering what we were up to until they could start to see it at thsi point.

 photo Fireplace Patio 109 of 206_zpsd9im3ewa.jpg

For the seating and the table tops above the wood boxes, we used large cement 16″x 16″ pavers, cutting them to size.

 photo Fireplace Patio 114 of 206_zpstvq9x48a.jpg

Before we could place the stone veneer on the cinder block bones, we prepared the surface by using a notched trowel to spread morter over all surfaces. This would help give the veneer a better surface for holding.

 photo Fireplace Patio 121 of 206_zpseya3aulw.jpg

 photo Fireplace Patio 122 of 206_zpshf6awa4q.jpg

Putting on the veneer was a lot easier and more enjoyable than we thought it might be. It felt like a giant puzzle that we were trying to figure out to get the final look we wanted.

 photo Fireplace Patio 124 of 206_zps8ylbnhxt.jpg

As you can see, we couldn’t wait to try out the fireplace – we wanted to be sure smoke would rise up the chimney. Luckily, it did just fine.

 photo Fireplace Patio 126 of 206_zpshybsbsp8.jpg

Veneer really brought it together. We closed up the joint with an application of mortar placed with a piping bag – similar to cake decorating. We then pushed it in with a cement joint tool.

 photo Fireplace Patio 138 of 206_zpsspdmm33k.jpg

Originally our fireplace only had two levels, but the more we thought about it, we decided it needed one more level so ended up adding another chimney section as you’ll see in later photos.

 photo Fireplace Patio 127 of 206_zpsyyyhgjqs.jpg

 photo Fireplace Patio 129 of 206_zps2v1uujyv.jpg

We ended up having to use a cement removing chemical to take off splatter of mortar from the pavers. In hindsight, we should have covered the patio with a tarp to keep it clean.

 photo IMG_1963_zpszuy7hhwn.jpg

A shot of the corner where we maneuvered around the pine tree – turns out it made some great seating.

 photo Fireplace Patio 149 of 206_zpsix90la7l.jpg

Just to show how well our design ended up working as an entertaining area, I thought I’d include the below photo of a church youth getting together. Lots of space and seating to accommodate a large group.

 photo Fireplace Patio 136 of 206_zps8r9sbnl8.jpg

Here it is with the third level.

 photo Fireplace Patio 156 of 206_zps3nmb00kp.jpg

 photo Fireplace Patio 157 of 206_zpsjpvmejiw.jpg

 photo Fireplace Patio 162 of 206_zpsoeuwc3qu.jpg

 photo Fireplace Patio 161 of 206_zpsfhymkgli.jpg

 photo Fireplace Patio 165 of 206_zps1eeawwwl.jpg

 photo Fireplace Patio 166 of 206_zpsj8rq9fam.jpg

 photo Fireplace Patio 193 of 206_zpsip09ejey.jpg

We’re immensely happy with how our project turned out. The final cost of the outdoor firepalce was mainly the cinder block, fire brick, mortar, and pavers. Sure, the project would have gone faster had we hired it out, but we really had a great time creating this on our own.

 photo Fireplace Patio 180 of 206_zpsrzfuu0of.jpg

If you’re looking for more inspiration, take a look at the 15 fireplaces that served as our inspiration.
 photo Fireplace Collage_zpszyykhoah.png

15 Inspirational Backyard Fireplaces

 photo Fireplace Collage_zpszyykhoah.png

When we decided the backyard needed a bit of an update, Whitney got the brilliant idea to move the play-set and shed to the other side of the yard to make way for a backyard fireplace. But we didn’t want to put in the effort of the move if we didn’t have a cohesive plan for the space.

 photo 6b7d3216-6dfc-45b1-8fc3-2df1bd87e6ad_zpstibdtzqk.jpg

So we set out to find the best fireplace solution based on our pre-determined requirements:

  1. Lots of seating. Our property is on a slope, so finding a flat place to put chairs and tables can be a challenge. We wanted to have a gathering spot with lots of seating that didn’t have our guests falling out of their chairs.
  2. Counter space. We needed space to serve food and make the entertaining area functional.
  3. Safe. We wanted to be sure toddlers wouldn’t get too close to the fire and that kids stayed a good distance away, so even a small barrier would be needed.
  4. Work with the surroundings. We wanted to keep the existing pine tree so finding a solution that let us keep natural assets was very important. The tree would provide great shade in the summer so keeping it was a must.
  5. Attractive. The space needed to be a focal point in the yard, one that looked great all year round.
  6. Functional. Our fireplace had to be more than just a pretty face. It had to actually work, have good venting, and not leave everyone at an event smelling like campfire.
  7. Simple. Where we’d be building this ourselves, we needed to use materials and a design that would work for our skill level. Sure, we’d have to learn some new techniques, but the overall plans needed to be simple for us to execute – without looking overly simplistic.

With our list in hand we set out to find what others had done and pick up some inspiration.

 photo Patio15_zpspf5yoxvq.jpg

We liked the hearth and the seating of this fireplace.

 photo Patio8_zpsbgh69ny7.jpg

With more rustic materials this fireplace seemed like it could possibly be attainable.

 photo Patio9_zpsn8l0h1cm.jpg

This fireplace seemed to work well with the surrounding landscaping, creating a cohesive look.

 photo Patio4_zpspbdet8sb.jpg

Some neat ideas, but probably not doable in our situation.

 photo Patio7_zpssqiyno0u.jpg

Slight arch in the fireplace opening – nice touch.

 photo Patio5_zps1gecambn.jpg

Perhaps a way to save money if boulders were readily available.

 photo Patio1_zpsc6lpmmqm.jpg

Like the firewood storage on either side of the fireplace. Very handy idea.

 photo a800c9a6-e787-4c71-ac5a-c23710475dfc_zpsabqnpwkk.jpg

Great incorporation with the landscape.

 photo Patio16_zpsde6iitlk.jpg

Perhaps a bit much for the water features, but the pavers as a patio might be a great addition.

 photo Patio2_zpsd4ggkoi4.jpg

Simple and sleek.

 photo Patio10_zpsmxyd4uqr.jpg

We could consider using brick instead of rock.

 photo Patio12_zpsh3mdmohp.jpg

Nice application of pavers for the patio. Plus cement was an intriguing option for the fireplace.

 photo Patio11_zpst1opvwp0.jpg

Wood storage, but facing a different direction from the fireplace.

 photo Patio13_zpsrrnw3wqx.jpg

Another great example of a hearth that would keep the kids at a distance. Firebrick inside applied with a herringbone pattern.

 photo Patio14_zpsdjekmcca.jpg

Could we incorporate a grill to make this the ultimate entertaining space? Using stone vaneer might be a great way to hide mistakes of a novice fireplace builder. We liked the arch with vaneer laid in a different direction, plus the hearth and wood storage with serving areas above seemed like it might fit the bill.

With so many options, any many others we considered, we really had to focus on which would look best for our space. We’re looking forward to revealing how our project turned out and how we did it!

Boy and Girl Bedroom Decor Reveal

The dream I had went something like this. The kids wake up one morning after sleeping in the basement (a real treat in our house) and come upstairs to find their bedroom utterly and beautifully changed. They’d guess it was an elf, fairy, or other magical incantation of their childhood imaginations who had suddenly transformed their otherwise boring room into something fit for the cool kids they are.

After some thought, I realized that this didn’t have to be just another dream. With careful planning, uttermost secrecy, and a bit of luck, this could be reality. What we’d need to get started were just a few basic essential elements that would make all the difference once it came to implementation.

Five Essentials for awesome boy and girl bedrooms

Every good project starts with a goal and ours was no exception. We wanted to offer the kids personal space so they didn’t feel on top of each other and make the room a great place for them to foster their love of reading. The space had to be inviting, warm, playful, and yet still handle the day-to-day activities of young kids. Additionally, we needed to make sure there was plenty of space for their combined clothing, shoes, and personal items. And to top it off, we had to stay within a $300 budget.

Element 1: Color and theme
Capturing all the ideas necessary to pull off a room transformation can be tough. I find one of the best ways to organize my thoughts is by using a moodboard or Pinterest. It helps put all the inspiration into a concise view that can be referred to during the project, while shopping for accessories, or seeing how colors will look next to one another.

Sun and sea inspired kids bedroom

For this fun and bright makeover, I decided to go with aqua, navy, tangerine, sunshine yellow, and pale grey. I think they complement the theme of a sun and sea inspired bedroom. Quite fitting for a bunch of kiddos that have fond memories of beach time fun.

Element 2: Functionality
The most obvious change that needed to be made to get the new room ready was to swap out the single bed for a bunk. We opted for the bunk so it wouldn’t eat into the living area of the room. While we almost went for an Ikea bunk, after visiting the showroom and seeing how wobbly the bed was, we turned to Craigslist for additional options. We were surprised to see that used bunks weren’t too hard to come by in our area, probably because this type of bed is very indicative of a childhood stage and many get rid of theirs as the children grow.

The bunk we settled on was made by a local craftsman and had to be a good 20 years old, if not more. Made of solid wood, it involved some effort to transport home, but sanded up nicely and took well to our bright white paint which we applied by brush. After adding new mattresses and making up the beds, you could hardly recognize it from before. The work was worth it especially since it only set us back $20.

Bunk bed and kids bedroom ideas

We decided this room was going to be more focused on the kids’ relaxation so we opted to put the toys in another area of the house. This would help keep the room tidy and less of a hassle when it came to cleaning things up prior to bed. We did, however, need some good storage for clothes. With two kids sharing the same space, it seems there is never enough room to store everything. Luckily we came by a dresser at a garage sale down the street. With a bit of sanding and some bright yellow paint, it turned out to be a great solution for keeping clothes off the floor. Another $20 well spent.

We went through a number of ideas for storing the many children’s books that have found their way into this room. We settled on Ikea’s spice racks as both a function element and a design element on the wall opposite the dresser.

Ikea spice racks for storing books

The larger books lined up nicely atop the dresser, held upright by some decorative book ends I picked up from Home Goods.

book ends book shelf

Element 3: Personality
To keep the visuals interesting and the space kid-friendly, we added elements that were specifically geared toward the interests of our children. This included an enormous growth chart painted on some cull lumber from Home Depot. (Do you recognize that peacock in the kid’s bathroom?)

boy girl bedroom ideas

A special place for them to hang their artwork made from hardware picked up from Ikea.

artwork display in kids bedroom

The great thing about this solution is that the clips easily allow the kids to display their creations on their own. Not to mention keep my refrigerator free from clutter.

kid art ideas

To further foster reading, we added bean bags which we recovered using fun, contrasting fabrics that went right along with our color scheme.

funky fabric

The artwork above the dresser was a fun project that really saved us on the budget. Using old frames we repainted, we cut out fabric prints of sea life and attached them using a zigzag stitch to linen fabric. Brightly colored thread made the shapes pop to life and add interest to the wall.

fabric fish art

Element 4: Design
Placing wall art can be a balancing act to get things just right. As a helpful tool, we like to use paper cutouts that template where the final product will go.

How to put art on a wall

sea life art wall

Curtains placed too close to the window opening can shrink its size. To combat the illusion of a small window, we opted to create a curtain box with drapes that hung well outside the opening. This tactic is used frequently in our home to give the appearance of spacious windows and maximize the light they can contribute to a space.

How to hang curtains

Our homemade window box with Restoration Hardware linen curtains we found at a garage sale for a few bucks made this window treatment a steal of a deal. We added a couple of our own touches to both the top and the bottom of the curtains to keep it flowing with our color scheme.

Curtain box

A rug from Ikea rounded out the design features that helped bring the room together.

Element 5: A place to call their own
Last, but not least, we had to make the room a place the kids enjoyed. Especially at 10:00 pm when they insist they aren’t tired and this mama can hardly keep her eyes open. We focused our efforts on small touches like the privacy drapes held up by Ikea Dignitet curtain wire hardware.

Ikea drapes for bunkbed

The top bunk for my son has the luxury of a small reading light and a line up of all the chapter books he’s been dying to read.

Even in a shared room, we wanted them to feel like they have their own personal space when needed.

In the end
We compiled all of the elements we needed for our nocturnal project in the month leading up to the big night. With the kids in bed we worked away at performing a makeover miracle, finishing up at nearly 2:00 am. Their excited faces the morning of the big reveal was worth it all. We get a lot of gratification seeing them use the room exactly how we intended it to be.

Reading corner ideas

Interested in more ideas for children’s bedrooms? Check out our inspiration post focused on the top boy and girl color schemes that helped give us our inspiration.

kid bedroom ideas

If you are looking for even more ideas, might we recommend our pallet-inspired master bedroom, complete with cost breakdown and some nifty design projects?

Sharing with Shabby Nest.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...