In February of 2009, my husband and I bought our first home located on a few acres in Johnson, Vermont. We live here with our dog, Ollie, two cats: Elvis and Atticus, six Nigerian Dwarf goats: May, Chutney, Poppy, Juniper, Willow, and Jokers Wild, and about fifteen laying hens. And to top it all off we welcomed our daughter, Isabel, into the world on January 11th, 2011.

We're slowly updating our 1850's farmhouse while steadily working towards a healthy, meaningful, self-sufficient life together.

This blog details our endeavors along with our successes and failures- all in good fun. Thanks for stopping by, hope to see you again soon!


May and I enjoying some sunshine


Our Hearth- Part 1

Lovingly Posted by Melissa Thursday, September 23, 2010

Saturday was a busy day of home renovating which, luckily, kept us sneaking back outside into the welcoming sunshine that we've missed for what seems like an eternity.  It was the kind of day that leaves you tired and sore where you just feel like huddling under the down comforter with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book by the end of the day.  We had spent the morning buying supplies to build our hearth pad for our wood stove.  The plan is to move it in this Friday evening with the help of a few friends and more than a couple beers followed by a hearty, homemade dinner made by yours truly.  As I am carrying our little bundle of joy I will not be partaking in the moving of the wood stove and the drinking of the beer- a fair tradeoff if I do say so myself.

We returned home, had a quick brunch of eggs and pork sausage (both from our farm which always makes my appetite a little more ravenous), and got to work on the hearth pad.  Kyle cut up the 3/4" plywood to a four by four foot square according to the specs provided by our owners manual for our stove and we laid it in place.  **All hearth pad sizes depend on your stove, so if you're looking to tackle this project, be sure and do your research first.**  Once we had it where we wanted it I screwed it down every 4-6 inches with leftover hardibacker screws from when we tiled our bathroom.

While Kyle cut up the cement board I cleaned off our four stones that we bought from the local landscaping place.  They had road dust and red clay on them that needed to be removed and allowed to dry before we attempt to secure them in place on top of the cement board.  Tile would have been less expensive, but considering the R value that these 2" thick stones add, we figured the added safety and thermal mass was well worth the extra $50.  I began cleaning them off just with our hose and my bare hands.  Well, I can tell you now that isn't a good idea.  Halfway through cleaning off the four stones I realized that my fingertips were being slowly sanded down by the bluestone, so I grabbed the pushbroom to scrub the clay off, which worked much better anyways.

While the stones were drying in the sunshine I secured the cement board atop the plywood with more of the hardibacker screws- again, every 4-6 inches, to be sure there would be no flex when we lay down the thinset and stone.  Its amazing how this normally simple project wore me out now that I'm a little less able to bend at the waist.  My baby bump kept me shifting from position to position, searching for that perfect combination of leverage and abdominal comfort.  But I'm convinced that when it comes to working on the floor, there is no such combination when you're pregnant.

Once the cement board was down and the stones were dry, Kyle brought them into the house and we began laying them down so we could decide on their placement.  They are approximately two by two foot stones, so the combinations were fairly limited, which was fine with Kyle since they weighed a fair bit.  We decided on placement and I marked each stone on the back with a number and an X in the corner that would be in the center of the pad so we would know where it belonged.  We rested them on a few towels not far from the hearth pad and called it a day.

1 Responses to Our Hearth- Part 1

  1. Sarah Bell Says:
  2. You have a lot more work to do. After builders cleaning will put the final lustre and sparkling shine on your home.