Outdoor living spaces are an up and coming trend, but one that is nothing new for North Georgia natives. Between church picnics, back yard barbecues, and coffee on the front porch; outdoor living is more of a tradition in the south. Art of Stone has built and refurbished many outdoor living areas, and has even won an award for an outdoor kitchen. So when Carol from Cleveland decided to update her back yard and install a pizza oven, Suzanne and Jason were more than ready to help.
Together, they designed a year-round woodland retreat. A roaring fireplace stands as the center piece; to huddle around during the winter and to make pizzas year around. The patio itself will have an excellent view of the fall foliage and is surrounded by mountain laurels that will bloom in the spring . And best of all, the space above the log rack is a built in pizza oven. It holds two 12″ pies.
To prepare the area for the concrete base of the patio, we leveled the area and build wood forms to hold in the concrete until it cures. Next, we lay out a wire mesh to reinforce the concrete and reduce the risk of it cracking in the future.
The concrete has to be pumped from a concrete truck all the way from the street. And though it is more expensive to hire a truck with a long enough line to reach the patio, to create a single solid slab, the concrete must be poured all at once and some driveways cannot take the weight of the concrete truck. While one of the guys uses the concrete hose, the rest use a 2 x 4 to spread and level the wet concrete.
Building the fireplace was an adventure. We started with a fireplace kit. Once the concrete sets, we built a knee wall or sitting wall because the surrounding land is sloped. Not only will the wall hold the soil, it acts as a place to sit. Then Jorge and Ramiro can start laying the flagstones on to the patio.
The kit has a pre-made flue engineered by experts to ensure that the smoke is drawn upwards and the fire gets enough oxygen. We then added the yellow brick inside the fire place. This is called fire brick and is specifically designed to withstand intense heat and rapid temperature changes. The outside is covered by natural stack stone.
The fireplace is almost finished. The mantle is made of a single slab of stone and is anchored firmly between the stacked stones. The three distinct depths add dimension and character to the fireplace, as well as serving a practical purpose. By setting the pizza oven back and bringing forward the wood storage area, a prep counter is created to serve the pizzas on or keep them warm.
Each stacked stone is hand chiseled and arranged on the fireplace like a work of art. With the final stones laid, this incredibly unique fire place is ready for any kind of outdoor gathering.
Of all the wonderfully small details that make this fire place unique, Suzanne’s favorite part is the stand ups (the stones that are vertical in the arch).
Whether it’s a fully equipped kitchen or a simple grill and patio, Art of Stone loves to give people a place to enjoy their outdoors.