God makes saints with a chisel, not a paintbrush

Our story so far: We chose to clad the fireplace chase in the great room of the converted Methodist church with a manufactured stone, and we found an old barn-wood beam we could use for the mantel.

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Besides sweat equity, one last piece was required to complete the fireplace.

Before we started shopping, the fireplace was all one thing in my mind: The fireplace. I didn’t understand that a fireplace consisted of a firebox, the chase, the mantel and the hearth, and other parts, too, that I couldn’t describe, let alone name. All priced separately, of course. Building a fireplace was like choosing the upgrades of an SUV; long ago when I purchased a Dodge Durango, the salesman asked me if I wanted a back seat. A back seat? Of course I wanted a back seat! Durangos come without back seats?!

Of course, we wanted a hearth for our fireplace. Historically, hearths are associated with home and family because the hearth was the main source of heat in a home and where meals were cooked. We wouldn’t have embers popping out of the fire, but without a hearth, a modern fireplace looks unfinished.

I had no idea where one purchased hearths. Oh! The fireplace store. Of course. But Tyler led us to a landscaping store located on the fringe of our little village. Modern Pinterest-worthy backyard patios feature fireplaces, so our landscaping supply firm did indeed sell hearths. And they would deliver. Not just to the front door but inside to the back of the great room. Which was important because we chose a seven-foot long solid slab of Indiana limestone. Like every other construction material, it was heavy as, well, heck.

Limestone, for those interested in recalling ninth grade geology, is formed of calcium carbonate, deposited over millions of years as marine fossils decomposed at the bottom of a shallow Midwestern sea. Because of Chicago’s proximity to Indiana, limestone was used extensively in rebuilding the Windy City after the Great Chicago Fire, which occurred two decades before our little Methodist church was constructed. The Pentagon, the Empire State Building, the new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx and churches, university structures and courthouses across the country feature Indiana limestone in their exteriors.

And now we had a piece of it in our living room.

hearth stone naked
We only purchased enough limestone for the visual part of the hearth. The landscaping supply firm delivered it right to where it will be in perpetuity.

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Today’s headline is a quote from Blessed Teresa Maria of the Cross, Carmelite nun and founder of many Italian schools in the early 20th century.

Tomorrow: Stone for the countertops.

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