Like most cape-style homes, the cottage originally had a central brick chimney and a fireplace in the front room. We love the idea of having a working fireplace and tried many different floor configurations to see if we could make it work, but the location of the chimney created a lot of limitations as we thought through how we want the home to work. Location challenges aside, the chimney was also in really rough shape. Some of the bricks were gorgeous (and in fact have been salvaged for later use), but there was severe cracking and general instability.
Chimney demolition is one of those projects that’s better left to the professionals. Getting up on an old roof to hack at some brick isn’t something we felt qualified to do, so we enlisted the help of Erich at Deconstruction Works.
Erich perched up on the roof and within the first day, he and his assistant were able to remove all of the brick above the roofline as well as most of the brick that went up through the second floor. What would seem like a tedious job (going brick by brick, chipping off the mortar, etc.) he actually made look relaxing. At one point he remarked that he’d take a job that would let him sit in the sun on a river to one in an office any day. Can’t argue with that, even if it does mean chipping mortar.
Once dislodged and cleaned up, bricks were thrown down the ever-dwindling chimney shaft and then sorted into “keep” and “toss” piles. Instead of a fully operating fireplace, we’re planning to have a small wood stove nestled into a brick surround so that at least a few can be brought back to life and purpose.
Once the chimney was down to a level that didn’t require us to be up on a ladder to demo, we took over and spent the remainder of the weekend cleaning bricks and digging out the last of the chimney from underneath the floor.
Then once cleaned up, we shuttled them out to our brick piles in the yard.
You wouldn’t even know a chimney had been up there!