Here is the fireplace in one of the bedrooms when we first purchased the house. It is a classic example of the Rumford style with shallow angled walls to reflect heat into the room and curved back wall to efficiently direct air flow and smoke up the chimney. The black surround is a cement parge around the opening, thought to have been typically painted black after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln in his memory.
When evaluating the fireplaces for use, a video survey of the flue revealed some missing brick above this fireplace. Repairs entailed removing the panel and then cutting into the chimney to get at the missing brick.
After the repairs to the chimney were complete, the panel was replaced with a 2-coat plaster technique. The mantle was also restored to a more historical condition. The last step was to redo the cement parge, which was cracked and separating from the brick when we bought the house. This photo shows the rough configuration of the ends of the Rumford walls that the parge conceals.
Here Edward is beginning to parge the fireplace face. This is a historical treatment, which would have been applied when the house was first built. But over time, it may age and need to be re-done.
This work requires lots of patience and concentration, control of the mortar workability and moisture level of the underlying bricks, not to mention incredible skill with a series of trowels.
Here Edward is nearly complete across the top of the fireplace.
And here it is with the parge complete. All that is left is to paint.
And also, to install this custom damper. Edward had this custom made to replace the insulation that is now being used to 'seal' the flue. These are being made and installed for all of the fireplaces in the main house.