The Sea House Leadlights Fireplace

I wanted an outdoor fireplace for the deck because few things are better than being outside than being outside with fire, especially at night. I knew some of the old Sea House building bricks would be involved, but did not have a clear vision of the overall design.

from the October 2019 catalog

Until I got a catalog from, and saw this. And I knew.

Attempting to translate one reality into another

It took more than a few sketches and extended staring into inner space to work out how I could extract the essence of the CB2 fireplace for the approximately 8.5 inches of width I had on the Leadlights side deck. As is typical, I figured out far more once I had the actual materials at hand.

Dimensions determined and mat boards cut. This is the top, outer semicircle.

I used “corner” bricks to edge the semicircles, slightly sanded to fit the curve. Regular brick make up the middle layer.

Inner and middle layers in process
Test fitting the the topmost layer
Gluing the layers and structural reinforcements together
Grouted and the first of many coats of eggshell white acrylic paint
The back wall of the firebox, to be painted lamp black
Not highly visible, but the arched firebox is glued in, ready to sandwich with the back wall layer.
In-progress fireplace roughed in

Here is the final fireplace in situ with split birch logs laid, the spark arrester chimney, comfy chairs and a good red wine ready to pour. The exquisite carved wood sandpiper sculpture is a gift from Keli, keeper of Charlene’s Estate.

Of course the firelight flickers and glows.
Sea House Leadlights front exterior, for context

I intend to start writing more here, again. I miss you. I dove deep on this project, and found I could either devote myself to the process of building or to writing, but not both. (I chronicled photo highlights on Instagram; if you’re on there I’m @nancy_k_enge. There’s also lots of pics of Scarlett :)

Scarlett is a helper cat

22 thoughts on “The Sea House Leadlights Fireplace

  1. Sheila Lester says:

    Wow! I love how it looks. I know what you mean about the choice between blogging and building. For the record I think you made the right choice, though we’ve all missed reading about your mini adventures.

  2. Jodi Hippler says:

    I love how you worked out how to recreate the fireplace in 1/12th scale, and with real brick, too! I bet it was so much fun to assemble.
    I’m also so excited to hear that you’ll be back in blogland! I’ve missed your regular and inspirational posts. Instagram is okay, but I find it a fast food substitute and I crave fine dining. :O)

    • Nancy Enge says:

      It was a very good challenge, and one I’m interested in revisiting… maybe when I get back to pondering the Conservatory again. And thank you for the encouragement to post more words and pictures here. I agree about Instagram as a quick but flawed fix; I really prefer my own platform as a space to think out loud. (With no advertising or creepy targeted messaging.)

  3. 54lizzie says:

    Your choice for an outdoor fireplace with the wood storage underneath the hearth, and the way you’ve constructed it with the real mini bricks; Couldn’t Be Better! It actually looks like a tiny oasis surrounded by the mix of lush Yucca’s, boulders and the variety of succulents: a Ten out of Ten, Nancy!

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Elizabeth, my cup runneth over. Thank you for your discernment and appreciation. Every home — or studio — wants at least a tiny oasis. I’m learning that yucca is not as common as… well, I didn’t even give it much thought. I am an observant creature of my environment. And I do love rocks and succulents. So glad you can see it too.

  4. Megan Wallace says:

    I’ve been following your progress on Insta, Nancy, and this project is turning out really awesome. Nice to read a blog post too, a chat is always welcome.

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Hiya, Megan! Hope all is well with you and your tarantula associates. I’m so glad you like this build. Agree, chat *is* always welcome, and I intend to reconnect with the spirit of discourse :)

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Dearest Keli, thank you for putting up with our 3-hour time differential, and endless wingeing and endless shitty pics of works-in-progress. It’s only my less-than-subtle strategy for getting you back in the game. I doubt my tactics are effective, though far more than self-serving.
      And you’re right. The chimney topper is clever :)

  5. Bennie says:

    OMG! As always amazing, adorable and sooo realistic! I want to move in. Happy holidays. I’m going to look you up on instagram. I made one little ornament this year for a few people maybe I can post it there to show you my one little project. Of Course I just wrap them all up so let me see if there’s one that’s

  6. mormson says:

    Just when you think a build is absolutely perfect you come along and add more perfection. What a truly lovely calming space to sit and watch the flames dancing and dream of the day gone and the one to come.

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Oh wow, Marilyn, thank you, and I’m so glad you like it. I’m coming to the possible conclusion that I’m building the same build over and over in hopes that it will materialize in real life :)

      • mormson says:

        I have never done a build without it being a place I would want to be…. minis give us a chance to imagine other lives in 3D …. part of their joy for me.

  7. azteclady says:

    Oh what a lovely addition! Everything about how you adapted the design to make it your own is just perfect!

    I hope you are having a most lovely holiday season.

    (It would be lovely to ‘see’ you more here, as your life permits)

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Hiya C’lady! And thank you. I had on my holiday wishlist a whole lotta miniature bricks which were magically delivered, so I think I’m going to try the fireplace surround again with the Conservatory build. And I wish the same for you. My Nordic heritage, via the Midwest, tempered by a Northern Californian origin offers numerous ways to celebrate the transitions of the seasons. Still, fire at night is best.

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