Tag Archives: brick

Small spaces: A brick cottage

My brain is a little stuck on brick this week. Y’all know there’s a pile of bricks in our backyard? That pile is slowly turning into something A-MAAA-zing and I can’t wait to share some photos!

Oh, to live in a small brick cottage with a red door and garden at the front.

But today I just have this sweet little cottage¬†deep in the woods of NJ (or forest as we say down here). I’m not sure I could live permanently in something so enclosed (I need my sunshine) but wouldn’t this be such a relaxing place to escape to? I can see picnics on the grass and kids running barefoot in the forest in the summer. And in the winter, it’d be the ideal place to curl up in a king sized duvet by the fire with a stack of books!

On that note… the weather in Auckland is eerily in line with the calendar, and the first day of Autumn came with a marked change from hot and steamy to suddenly very chilly and we’re all scrambling for slippers and dressing gowns and cardigans and socks.

Awww, bye summer…

It’s cold outside…

…so let’s keep talking of warm things like firewood, and fireplaces.

A selling point (from the sellers point of view… not so much ours as buyers) of our house was the mosaic tiled fireplace created by the wife of Neil Finn, who now runs a business called Sharondelier.¬†(I am trying to make up for what will follow by providing a link to Sharon’s website…) The fireplace even featured in a newspaper article which we have a copy of for historical reference.

It was a real talking point and we hardly had a visitor who didn’t comment on it. Some said yay and some said nay. But for us, it just didn’t fit with what we have (and have in mind) in the way of furnishings and other artwork.

This is how it looked:

Once we decided enough was enough, it started to look like this:

We liked the look of the rough brick underneath, so carried on chipping away (while it wasn’t hard work, it did take some time as each little tile had to come off individually):

And this is how it looks today (literally… the fire is going to keep the chill away, the spark guard is pushed to the side because we’ve recently discovered it keeps a lot of the heat in, my crochet beginnings are out of reach of little ones on the mantelpiece, there is piles of demolition timber sitting around because the old kitchen is disintegrating into fireplace sized bits, and I’ve just committed to sorting that pile of magazines tonight… sigh!):

You might also notice in the above photo (if you’re not too distracted by all the surrounding bits, or my running commentary) that the pattern of the mosaic was first scrawled onto the brick to make the tile layout easier as it was done. Scrawled… in…….black….. permanent……… marker…. This little detail makes me cringe! How could you do that to a lovely, lovely brick fireplace? How could you?!

I’m happy with the scruffy bits of mortar in between the bricks and the remnants of tiling grout and think they will make a nice contrast with a shiny big mirror above the mantelpiece one day. But alas, the vivid.

Our first thought is to go over it with a wire brush, but while we have yet to try it our hopes are dimming each time we peer closely at it. Vivid being vivid it’s likely penetrated into the brick and may never be got out.

Here’s a close-up for your convenience:

Option B would be to paint the brick. I’m thinking white, or even glossy black. What do you think?