I love stone and all the history, beauty, warmth and romance that goes along with it.  Stone walls, stone fireplaces, stone accents – anything stone feels good to me.  If you can add stone to your home whether inside or out, do it and do it with style.  There are many kinds of stone and if your home is old or new it’s easy to work stone into your new design or remodel.

Stone Accent Walls

Since we don’t live in the stone age where every square inch on the inside of your home is an actual granite bolder you should consider an accent wall of cultured stone speckled with real stone to create interest.  The list of stone styles is almost endless and you don’t need a lot to really have some impact.  Plus, you can easily do this yourself with just a few tools and some patience. Stone walls can be taken into consideration just like a barn wood wall with the only difference being in the weight of the material and the prep work to install it but once that is done all you have to do is relax and have some fun.  Most home can easily handle the load per square foot.

Stone Fireplace

Stone FireplaceAmazing!  Who doesn’t love sitting by a crackling wood fire from a stone fireplace?  This outdoor fireplace at the end of a patio was made with inexpensive cement block, 28 bags of cement and decorated with real stone and is enjoyed all year long.  From chopping wood to stacking it to burning it noting beats a real fireplace.

Here’s how you can do this yourself.  The inside fire box is fire brick which is the only pricey thing about this fireplace but you can buy all the materials at your local home improvement stores.  Because the fireplace is outside there’s really no need for a damper so the flue is hollow.  All it took was a little imagination and a plan.  Living in Wisconsin the winters can be brutal causing cement to heave so the footings needed to be dug 40″ deep.  That job was easily handled with a post hole digger and the footings run down the sides of the fireplace where all the weight is.  The base is 5″ thick and so far the fireplace hasn’t moved an inch.  Once the foundation is dry you can start laying out your design by hand and mortar as you go up.

There’s reinforcing rods placed inside the horizontal sections on top of the wood boxes and the mantle area for added support.Stone Firepalce 2  All you have to do is measure the fireplace dimensions and layout some 2×4’s on a sheet of plywood to create a form template and pour in cement.  The front of the fireplace is open so adding a galvanized angle iron to the inside lintel for added support was easy.

Cement block will crack at 600 degrees so that’s why you need the firebrick in the fire box.  (It’s also code should that ever come up.  Plus it just looks cool.)  Firebrick will handle 5,000 degrees.  The inside of the chimney is covered with heavy duty tin foil purchased at a grocery store.  Yes I said tin foil.  Think about it, tin foil can easily handle all the heat your professional oven can produce and its basically the same thing used on the belly of the space shuttle so I think it can handle a backyard fireplace.  The space shuttle foil is actual gold foil but you get the point.  Heat resistant adhesive holds the tinfoil in place and there you have it.

Now here’s the beautiful part.  Decorating your fireplace is fun.  There’s no rule or set guideline you have to follow.  Have some fun with it and mix it up.  You can use brick and wood and stone.  You can do all kinds of things.  This fireplace was decorated using real stones and rocks from lakes around madison and Wisconsin. Every time there was a picnic planed a bucket was grabbed to collect the memories from the lakes and rivers.  They’re strategically placed is groups by lakes and waterways on the fireplace so you can have fun memories of where the rocks and stone came from while you’re sitting around it.