The Sullivan County Stone Mason Blog

Natural Stone Design, Construction, Application, and Methods from an Experienced Stone Mason in Sullivan County, New York

Tag Archive: Stone Fireplace

Outdoor Fireplaces Featured in Top Design Trends for Residential Landscape Architecture

April 27, 2016

As a stone mason with professional experience in design and residential landscape architecture, I pay attention to current design trends. Many of my clients are second-home owners from New York City who buy property in Sullivan County to afford them open space. It provides an opportunity to design an outdoor living space for friends and family to enjoy that would not otherwise be available to them in the City. Maintaining awareness of popular design trends helps when discussing design ideas with new clients.

Earlier this year the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) released survey results of the Top Ten Design Trends for Residential Landscape Architecture (read the article here). It is interesting to see how environmental sustainability has grown in awareness and demand, but it’s also interesting to see a demand for outdoor living spaces. This is represented by the inclusion of “Fire Pits/Fireplaces” on the list of expected highest consumer demand.

The ASLA article also ranks the expected order of popularity for 2016 of Outdoor Design Elements. Ranked in order of popularity, “Fire Pits/Fireplaces” tops the list as indicated by 75% of respondents. Reading down the list are other design elements one would expect to see when designing an outdoor living space: Seating/Dining Areas, Outdoor Furniture, Grills, and Counter Space. Their list ranking Outdoor Recreation Amenities included Swimming Pools.

This demand for outdoor living space was evident in a design I did recently for a client. As second home owners, my client was a family in need of outdoor space and wanted to create a place to entertain family and friends. The two most important design elements requested were a pool and a fireplace. Shown above is a portion of the proposed site plan. The design makes both the pool and fireplace the main focal points, but provides other elements (such as a grill, counter space, and furniture) to make the outdoor living space complete.

To help the client visualize the space we prepared a 3D computer model, complete with landscape. I often find 3D computer modeling to be an invaluable tool in helping clients see what their space will look like upon completion. It helps the client visualize themselves living in their space before a shovel hits the ground.

As both designers and builders, Kelly Masonry & Design can make your dream for an outdoor living space a reality.

Read More

Western Sullivan County Home Transformed With Pool, Bluestone Patio, and Landscaped Yard

September 23, 2015

Kelly Masonry & Design recently completed the first phase of a project for a family at their weekend getaway home in North Branch, NY. The family desired to transform their backyard space and engaged Kelly Masonry & Design to create a Master Plan that was to include the following:

  • In-ground pool design with adjacent pool deck and outdoor entertaining space
  • Landscape plan for the property
  • Identification and creation of scenic view corridors with selective tree removal

The design and scope of the first phase of the project was finalized in the early Spring of 2015. Pool installation took place in the early Summer of 2015. After the pool was installed the property was graded to create a level area and topsoil was imported to create a large lawn for family activities. Additional landscaping, security fencing, pool deck area, and fireplace were completed at the end of the Summer.

Read More

Proper Planning For Your Stone Project

March 10, 2014

Proper project planning isn’t something that is performed occasionally by Kelly Masonry & Design….It’s always performed!  It’s a service that all clients receive for their stone masonry project, large or small.

Outdoor living spaces easily become the most popular area of your home and will yield one of the highest returns on investment compared to other improvements you could do to your home’s exterior.  Understanding why you want an outdoor living space for you and your family depends on its intended use of that space.  Choosing the right company that has construction knowledge about how a project should be properly built from beginning, middle, and end is of the utmost importance.  The use and placement of structural components must be properly planned for to last a lifetime.  Outdoor living spaces such as the project illustrated below, cannot be hastily designed without the proper tools or knowledge.

Kelly Masonry & Design prides itself in being as thorough as possible when all projects, large or small, are first optioned.  We utilize both manual and computerized means of designing a project from concept through to construction.  Often, hand sketches and annotated photographs are helpful to get the project started, and sometimes computerized 3-dimensional modeling is used to assist in this task.  This helps both the client and Kelly Masonry & Design visualize the project and determine all goals and objectives.

Side-by-side hand sketches showing patio design alternatives. Real photo imagery is sometimes used to enhance the sketches and communicate the design intent to the client.
Side-by-side hand sketches showing patio design alternatives. Real photo imagery is sometimes used to enhance the sketches and communicate the design intent to the client.
Hand-drawn sketches are useful during client meetings. Here is a sketch drawn early in the design process, and the completed fireplace.
Hand-drawn sketches are useful during client meetings. Here is a sketch drawn early in the design process, and the completed fireplace.

With some projects, more technical drawings prepared by a licensed civil engineer or other licensed professional, are required and created to ensure the proper structural integrity of the project and that specific materials are properly quantified.  The size, scale, and aesthetic may be determined by local building code…Kelly Masonry & Design always adheres to local building codes and aesthetics!  The consultation of a licensed civil engineer with the client may be needed on projects that require building permits and this is done to protect the client and ensure that their project is designed to known current building standards.  To the untrained eye these elements usually aren’t appreciated until they’re used.

Our Clients are amazed at the quality of craftsmanship and how amazing their new space looks.  Our clients thank us for the special attention given to the initial design and exploratory budgeting.  Careful thought and planning that went into making the outdoor living space seen below was successful because it was designed with the perfect mix of utility and style.  Upon the project’s completion, the client recognized the value in the initial project planning by stating that the early detail…“paid off”!

The completed project, photographed after a fresh snow fall.
The completed project, photographed after a fresh snow fall.
Read More

New Interior Fireplace Veneer Project

February 22, 2014
Interior Fireplace Liberty NY
Fireplace is ready for veneer, hearth, and mantle.

Working on interior fireplace veneer is a nice change of pace from my typical outdoor projects. During the winter months it gets me out of the cold, which is always welcome! I’m currently working for a homeowner who desired a change to his fireplace. Previously clad with granite veneer, the aesthetic no longer matched other upgrades to the home. The warmth and beauty of fieldstone was much needed to bring together the entire living space.

Bluestone Fireplace Hearth Liberty NY
Bluestone hearth after installation.

In addition to fieldstone veneer, a bluestone hearth is being installed. Bluestone works wonderfully with fieldstone veneer since the palette of colors are harmonious and the stone is extremely durable and the appearance is timeless.  The project will feature a new bluestone header above the fire box and custom pine log mantle.

The project is currently in progress. The old veneer has been removed and concrete backing boards have been installed – all ready for the fieldstone veneer, header, and mantle.

Once the project is complete I will feature photos of its completion in my portfolio of fireplace work.


Here are some progress photos of the fireplace work:

February 24, 2014:

Progress photo of the fireplace fieldstone veneer, pine log mantle, bluestone hearth and header.
Progress photo of the fireplace fieldstone veneer, pine log mantle, bluestone hearth and header.

February 27, 2014:

Getting close to the top!
Getting close to the top!

March 5, 2014:

Stone Interior Fireplace Liberty NY
The completed fireplace!

View photos of this and other fireplaces on the Fireplaces Portfolio page.

Read More