So I gathered photos of the ones I liked and reviewed it with Tom to see if we could create or substitute something with a similar look but stay within budget. I love a good challenge but I really had to
This is what I really wanted!!
Jan de Luz has a wonderful store in Carmel Valley, CA and a linen shop in Carmel by the Sea
And this is what I was working with!
This is a photo of our original living room wall with existing fireplace. It doesn't require much creativity to get beyond this! We first built the surround, then framed in a new wall to cover the existing white brick. And when I say "we", I really mean Tom!
In a previous home renovation, we had fireplace surrounds made from a cement based product so I asked Tom to try and make a mold similar to the style I liked and distress the finish to make it look a bit ruddy.....like old stone.
It took some convincing but he was willing to give it a try.
He first measured and built a wood mold for each piece of the surround. After cement was poured and had cured, he would assemble the pieces, attach and grout in place. All the cement pieces were also reinforced with rebar to maintain strength and prevent cracking.
This photo is of the mold for the very top piece of the fireplace. Cement is smoothed into place in the mold and after a few days when cured, the mold is removed around the piece.
He made a few practice pours to get the texture right. Rock salt mixed with a little sand was sprinkled into the molds first (this created the ruddy texture on the face of the pieces), then cement was poured over it. Once cement cured, he released from mold. All the individual pieces were then ready to assemble and build the surround.
Assembling and attaching pieces to existing wall....
A close up of the texture the rock salt and sand left in the cement. The cement also has varied colors throughout. I think that gives it more of an aged look don't you think?
We originally thought we might use some of the limestone plaster we were using on the wall to do a light finish over the cement as in the Jan de Luz photo, but the more we looked at it, the more we liked the the original gray.
Here's an after shot
By the way, this was very inexpensive to make. All supplies plus cement cost around $300.00 (yes that's three hundred) vs. the least expensive reproduction limestone I found at $4500.00.
But the fact that he made it because I really really wanted it........Priceless!!