Last we talked we were in the thick of the demo phase and since then there has been a lot of concrete dust, concrete lifting (ouch), math that makes my head hurt and progress...sweet, sweet progress. It really helped to get all of the clutter cleared out so we could start with a nice clean slate to really dig into the details of the new vision. One thing we knew for sure was the pizza oven was going to be the center point of our new patio plan, not because it is necessarily the favorite, but because it will literally sit in the middle, so we decided to start there and work our way out. As you saw a few weeks ago, the existing patio/fence has an angled bump out in the corner which was weird and random ,but strangely enough the perfect spot for the pizza oven.
The pizza oven itself will actually sit atop the existing angled concrete wall, so the first step was to remove the wood fence in this area. Our property actually goes back a bit behind the fence so once the pizza oven is built we will square off the fence behind it.
Next, we used cinder blocks to create the structure for the base of the pizza oven. The structure is 72" wide and 36" high. The overall size of the structure was determined based off the fact that we want the pizza oven itself to be around 48" wide on the inside. We came up with a system where I applied the mortar and then Brent followed behind me with the cinder blocks.
It moved pretty fast and before we knew it we had our walls.
Because the pizza oven is so large this time, we decided we wanted to create a fireplace underneath. Last time we left this space open below for wood, which was cool, but because this pizza oven is so much bigger we thought it would be a better use of the space to utilize it in this way.
For the opening of the fire place, we had to make our form to pour the concrete arch. We stacked up two pieces of plywood and then drew out an arch on the top piece. The size of our arch was determined by the size we wanted the fireplace opening (24" high x 30" wide). Brent clamped the two pieces of plywood together so he could cut the arch out of both pieces at the same time.
The form needed to be 8" wide (the size of the short side of a cinder block) so we took our pieces and nailed them together with spacers to create the form. To set the form of the actual arch we put a piece of sheet metal across the bottom arch, which we had just cut out.
Once together, the arch form was set in place between the walls of our cinder block structure and Brent and Adam poured concrete inside.
We let the concrete set for 2 days and then we removed the forms and......
Next we framed out the inside walls of the fireplace; again using cinder blocks to create the walls. We left a hole in the back for the flue. We had to make sure the flue was pitched so the smoke would go out the back and not out the front hole of the fireplace, which was a bit tricky but we were able to accomplish using plywood forms.
Once the walls were up and the flue forms were set up we got got another couple hundred (exaggeration) bags of heavy, dusty concrete and poured the top.
Here is a shot of the top....
And here is a shot inside the fireplace with a glimpse at the flue opening.
During this same time we decided to hire a crew to help us out with some grading and to pour the concrete for the new steps.
Brent and I had to jet away for a quick over night trip on the big concrete day, so my sister and brother-in-law were in town to watch Croix Boy for the night. They were busy tending to his cute self so they enlisted Piper to keep watch over the progress outside.
When Brent and I got home the next day we were super excited to see this:
We designed the top step to be longer than the rest to create a bench for additional seating. We are so happy with how this turned out! It's crazy what a difference removing the deck and adding these steps make. It's also crazy what a 3 man crew can achieve in 6 hours. If Brent and I had attempted this work we would probably have it completed by the time Croix goes to kindergarten...MAYBE... DIY is great and all but you definitely have to recognize your limits and concrete + steps = ours.
We made even more progress this past weekend but I will save that for my next post so as to save my wrists from carpal tunnel. :)