Vlado Family Room Fireplace

Vlado Family Room Fireplace
Based on an original design by Leonardo DiVinci.
Kansas Limestone
12′ x 6′ x 18″

This client handed me a sketch from the DaVinci Sketchbooks, and asked if I could actually make it. I don’t know if it had ever been made before or not. This may be the only interpretation of that sketch in the world, so far as I know. His version would have been marble, but I think it looks great in Kansas Limestone.

 

Vlado Family Room Fireplace
Based on an original design by Leonardo DiVinci.
Kansas Limestone
12′ x 6′ x 18″

This particular limestone carves very well, but contains serious flaws. I like the flaws, because of the character they bring, and also because it makes it very clear that the material is natural stone and not a cast product.

Vlado Family Room Fireplace
Based on an original design by Leonardo DiVinci.
Kansas Limestone
12′ x 6′ x 18″

I was in the home during the Holiday season a while back, and noticed that he burns real wood in his home. I love this.

Vlado Family Room Fireplace
Based on an original design by Leonardo DiVinci.
Kansas Limestone
12′ x 6′ x 18″

The overall design is uniquely DiVinci. He has taken great liberties with the Greco-Roman precedent.

Vlado Family Room Fireplace
Based on an original design by Leonardo DiVinci.
Kansas Limestone
12′ x 6′ x 18″

Whatever the source… all good commissioned stone carving is a collaboration between the carver and the client. Thanks, Vlado! That was a blast!

Fallon Fireplace

Indiana Limestone
Original Design by Dale Johnson
8′ x 5′ x 16″

The Bishop. There is a story behind the design elements of this fireplace, all my own. I enjoyed poking fun at the bishop.

 

Indiana Limestone
Original Design by Dale Johnson
8′ x 5′ x 16″

The client is the subject of the mantle piece. From behind the curtain…

Indiana Limestone
Original Design by Dale Johnson
8′ x 5′ x 16″

Matthew Palmer carved the figures, and did a beautiful job. A piece like this a team project. The bricklayer also did a beautiful job, as did the carpenters. My role here was boss and designer. And I did the Bishops and the grotesques of the mantle corners (I call them sinners).

Indiana Limestone
Original Design by Dale Johnson
8′ x 5′ x 16″

Here is one of my sinners. I’m not sure who did what, actually. I might have done a lot more of this… maybe less. Hard to say.

Indiana Limestone
Original Design by Dale Johnson
8′ x 5′ x 16″

This photo was taken several years after the installation. I happened to be in the neighborhood and stopped by to get a finished shot. The client was glad to see me, and we laughed for a few minutes as I shot a couple pics.

Indiana Limestone
Original Design by Dale Johnson
8′ x 5′ x 16″

The portrait of the homeowner carved into the mantle.

Koepple Gargoyle Fireplace

Koepple Gargoyle Fireplace
Indiana Limestone, Steel Doors
10′ x 12′ x 4′

This fun piece is based on caricatures of the homeowners. This is the wife.

Koepple Gargoyle Fireplace
Indiana Limestone, Steel Doors
10′ x 12′ x 4′

This is in the bar/billiard room, and the homeowner chose the wording on the hearth. I will make it a point to call and get better pics. This is a local job, so I can.

Koepple Gargoyle Fireplace
Indiana Limestone, Steel Doors
10′ x 12′ x 4′

“Eat with us/drink with us/laugh with us/when we part/we part as friends”

Koepple Gargoyle Fireplace
Indiana Limestone, Steel Doors
10′ x 12′ x 4′

The high relief crest likely looks very cool with a fire in the firebox.

Koepple Gargoyle Fireplace
Indiana Limestone, Steel Doors
10′ x 12′ x 4′

Here the steel doors show. The piece is a floor to ceiling unit. I definitely need better pics.

Koepple Gargoyle Fireplace
Indiana Limestone, Steel Doors
10′ x 12′ x 4′

This shot shows the textural quality. Note the horn coming from inside the stone.

Karlsson Fireplace

Karlsson Fireplace
Mankato Limestone
Design by Erik Karlsson
Details carved by Dale Johnson
14′ x 9′ x 2′

This beautiful fireplace is another collaboration. It was designed by Erik, and he and his assistant Brett did the shaping and cutting, and I did the chisel work.

Karlsson Fireplace Mankato Limestone Design by Erik Karlsson Details carved by Dale Johnson 14' x 9' x 2'
Karlsson Fireplace
Mankato Limestone
Design by Erik Karlsson
Details carved by Dale Johnson
14′ x 9′ x 2′

Erik carved the mantle himself, and did a great job. He and Brett did the installation.

Karlsson Fireplace Mankato Limestone Design by Erik Karlsson Details carved by Dale Johnson 14' x 9' x 2'
Karlsson Fireplace
Mankato Limestone
Design by Erik Karlsson
Details carved by Dale Johnson
14′ x 9′ x 2′

This is a very hard limestone, and will last for hundreds of years, no matter the circumstances.

 

 

 

 

Karlsson Fireplace
Mankato Limestone
Design by Erik Karlsson
Details carved by Dale Johnson
14′ x 9′ x 2′

Here I have completed the profiling, and my drawing is on the stone, full size, awaiting approval. The digital camera and the internet are perfect for this level of work.

Karlsson Fireplace Mankato Limestone Design by Erik Karlsson Details carved by Dale Johnson 14' x 9' x 2'
Karlsson Fireplace
Mankato Limestone
Design by Erik Karlsson
Details carved by Dale Johnson
14′ x 9′ x 2′

the five petal dogwood doesn’t exist in the world, but the four petal version just seemed too simple for this project, so I made a five petal version and just didn’t ask questions.

 

Karlsson Fireplace
Mankato Limestone
Design by Erik Karlsson
Details carved by Dale Johnson
14′ x 9′ x 2′

This side panel starts to reveal the veining pattern of this limestone. It is a beautiful and warm yellow/tan in color.

Karlsson Fireplace
Mankato Limestone
Design by Erik Karlsson
Details carved by Dale Johnson
14′ x 9′ x 2′

Corners are always a trick. This solution to this situation works well.

 

 

Karlsson Fireplace Mankato Limestone Design by Erik Karlsson Details carved by Dale Johnson 14' x 9' x 2'
Karlsson Fireplace
Mankato Limestone
Design by Erik Karlsson
Details carved by Dale Johnson
14′ x 9′ x 2′

An acanthus keystone is an example of tradition that has centuries of precedent. I hope to have passed along an excellent tradition.

 

 

Mathur Fireplace

Mathur Fireplace  Kansas Limestone, Pennsylvania Black Slate 6'-6" x 5'-4" x 30"
Mathur Fireplace
Kansas Limestone, Pennsylvania Black Slate
6′-6″ x 5′-4″ x 30″

This enormous header required some extensive planning to install. Originally over three thousand pounds, I hollowed it out so that it was “only” 1200 pounds when we installed it.

Mathur Fireplace  Kansas Limestone, Pennsylvania Black Slate 6'-6" x 5'-4" x 30"
Mathur Fireplace
Kansas Limestone, Pennsylvania Black Slate
6′-6″ x 5′-4″ x 30″

The header, seen before we installed it. I drilled a hole at exactly the balance point and passed a chain through so that it raised up level. I rehearsed the lift in the studio before I loaded it on the truck.

Mathur Fireplace  Kansas Limestone, Pennsylvania Black Slate 6'-6" x 5'-4" x 30"
Mathur Fireplace
Kansas Limestone, Pennsylvania Black Slate
6′-6″ x 5′-4″ x 30″

We raised it up with a pulley and a gallows built on site, and rolled it into place on dowels under the gallows, after we’d lifted the piece above the legs.

Mathur Fireplace  Kansas Limestone, Pennsylvania Black Slate 6'-6" x 5'-4" x 30"
Mathur Fireplace
Kansas Limestone, Pennsylvania Black Slate
6′-6″ x 5′-4″ x 30″

Heere is Joe, raising the mantle up to height, before we rolled it into place.

Mathur Fireplace  Kansas Limestone, Pennsylvania Black Slate 6'-6" x 5'-4" x 30"
Mathur Fireplace
Kansas Limestone, Pennsylvania Black Slate
6′-6″ x 5′-4″ x 30″

The scrolls and thick legs were not easy to put in place either, but after a long time, one figures out how to do without damaging either floor or stone. Carefully.

 

 

 

Joe Fireplace

Up the flight of stairs and in.
Up the flight of stairs and in.

My son Dorian, on the left, and his pal (and mine) Zack, shortly after major macho lifting and carrying up stairs action. Piece is in and looks great.

The original slab, 12" x 8' x 10'. Just over six thousand pounds and 280 million years old.
The original slab, 12″ x 8′ x 10′. Just over six thousand pounds and 280 million years old.

I had the edges of a massisve slab cut off, and used them for the legs and header.

This is the original cut from which I took the fireplace.
This is the original cut from which I took the fireplace.

From these edge cuts I took the legs and the header. All came from the same stone.

Test fit over and over
Test fit over and over

I used dowels as rollers to gently roll the legs up to test their fit against the header.

Waiting for the gas insert...

Waiting for the gas insert…

The client will have a gas insert fitted to the firebox so he can have a legal fire in his bedroom. Very cool.

Ceko Fireplace

 

Ceko Fireplace
Original Design by Dale Johnson and Matthew Palmer
7′ x 54″ x 12″
Indiana Limestone

This client was very open to ideas, and liked everything we offered. Sometimes it only takes a phone call and a sketch.

Ceko Fireplace
Original Design by Dale Johnson and Matthew Palmer
7′ x 54″ x 12″
Indiana Limestone

I designed the structure and indicated where I wanted the cartouche, and Matthew and I drew it in.  After the client approved the drawing, we finished the job, and found ourselves happily installing in Chicago a short while later.

Ceko Fireplace Original Design by Dale Johnson and Matthew Palmer 7' x 54" x 12" Indiana Limestone
Ceko Fireplace
Original Design by Dale Johnson and Matthew Palmer
7′ x 54″ x 12″
Indiana Limestone

These photos were all supplied by Mrs. Ceko, and I thank her for them. Nicely done- it looks great!

 

Mallory Fireplace

Original Design by Dale JohnsonIndiana Limestone8' x 5' x 16"
Original Design by Dale Johnson
Indiana Limestone
8′ x 5′ x 16″

This fireplace was aged via horse poop and peat moss and rain for several months. It was buried under the mixture (50/50) on a hill for a few months. The result is the best faux aging of limestone I’ve ever seen. Recipe taken from a seventeenth Century French marble worker’s text.

Cast Bronze on Limestone14" x 14" x 3/8"
Cast Bronze on Limestone
14″ x 14″ x 3/8″

This casting, based on the client’s family crest, is inlaid into the hearth of this fireplace. We installed this about twenty years ago. I would love to see it today.

Original Design by Dale JohnsonAged Indiana Limestone8' x 5' x 16"
Original Design by Dale Johnson
Aged Indiana Limestone
8′ x 5′ x 16″

Carved in raised letters (very difficult) are the words “Oh Be Joyful”. The paneling behind is from an old French chateau. This project was no holds barred.

Original Design by Dale JohnsonAged Indiana Limestone8' x 5' x 16"
Original Design by Dale Johnson
Aged Indiana Limestone
8′ x 5′ x 16″

A close up that reveals not just the staining, but also the texture we created. Old is hard to recreate accurately, but I think we did it here.

Koepple Great Room Fireplace

Koepple Great Room Fireplace
Original Design by Dale Johnson
Texas Leuders Limestone
18′ x 7′ x 3′

This one was designed by me and fabricated and installed by Jack and me. My scary height thing was in full force the whole time.

Koepple Great Room Fireplace
Original design by Dale Johnson
Texas Leuders Limestone
18′ x 7′ x 3′

Yes, every stone was hand carried up a scaffold with absolute terror in the carrier’s eyes if the carrier was me. But I love this style.

Ball Fireplace

Ball Fireplace
Ohio Limestone
6′ x 54″ x 12″

This fireplace I made for a home in Oakland, California, and my son Dorian and I had a wonderful cross country trip to install this and a concurrent project in Napa. An area blacksmith did the doors; I can’t remember her name. Nice job though!

Ball Fireplace
Ohio Limestone
6′ x 54″ x 12″

The piece as it sat on the bench. Hand made in America… by me.

Ball Fireplace
Ohio Limestone
6′ x 54″ x 12″

This is the piece as we left it at the end of the day. I am all in favor of the custom doors. In the end, we all nailed it.