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As you may recall, we have a gorgeous fireplace that is the focal point of the living room (and really the home in general).
The white mica bricks were unfortunately painted by a previous owner, so while we cleaned and repainted the stonework, we were committed to the painted look. The new gray has a satin sheen, and doesn’t have the chunks of glitter that the previous paint had, so it’s a much more sophisticated finish.
The firebox itself, however, is all original. And w-i-d-e. The opening is 48″ x 24″, which is significantly wider than a standard or modern fireplace.
Given the state of disrepair we found throughout the house, we had low expectations for the chimney too. To our surprise, our local chimneysweep pronounced the chimney to be in great repair, then stepped back and looked at the firebox.
“I just don’t see how that can draft properly. It looks really cool, but I don’t see how it can work.”
Measuring tapes and calculators were procured, and enough math was done to confirm that yes, the size and shape of the box should pull air through the flue.
I would not have been thrilled about having to rebuild the fireplace, let me tell you.
With the go-ahead to use the fireplace, I set out trying to find a proper screen. The one that came with the house was not only broken (as was the grate, #shocking), but as it was sized for a normal fireplace it was completely useless. We tried using it, but had sparks flying above and out both sides of the fireplace.
The challenge, however, is that hardly anyone makes screens for large wood-burning fireplaces like this anymore, if they ever did. I was spoilt for choice in finding a screen for my office fireplace, but nowhere locally had fireplace screens even approaching the right size for the living room. There are companies that will custom-build a screen, of course, but they have a long lead time, and are hellaciously expensive.
Eventually, I found a decent option on Amazon:
It’s slightly too large at 51″, but the price was right, and the hexagon pattern seemed appropriate for the era and style of our house. Too big is definitely better than too small in this case, and the tri-fold design gives enough play to where we can make it work. If you have a similar fireplace screen debacle, I’d recommend the tri-fold style just for this reason.
Ours has ended up being pretty popular. 😉