Friday, April 29, 2011


Photo courtesy Flickr

In a glossy shelter book about Caribbean design, I saw a traditional Haitian stove, built of brick with circular openings to allow a fire to be built below a pot. Later, I ran across a good deal on a classic Fifties freestanding sheet steel fireplace in a building salvage outfit, took it home, and set it on a pile of gravel just beyond the eaves of an open shed roof. The fireplace serves very well as a barbeque and gazing amenity.

I added a dozen fire bricks to the arrangement. They allow me to configure the air flow across the cement floor of the fireplace, and I can tune a fire for any occasion. It’s like playing with rocks and a beach fire, except the bricks stack safely. I can set them up to support a frying pan, coffee pot, and/or wire grill basket, or I can use them as andirons. They’ve saved quite a bit of fuel, a nice point in a central city household that’s self-sufficient in fire wood.


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