The company then outfitted the firebox with a special damper that has two controls — one in the horizontal position that lets smoke into the smokehouse and a second vertical control on the bottom of the firebox to control the amount of air and temperature of the fire.
They equipped the fireplace with solid doors that close tightly during smoking but can be opened or completely removed to use the fireplace for recreation. Because the fireplace is wood-burning, the owners also can add applewood, cherry or hickory to enhance flavor during smoking.
A Bridge to the 21st Century
The covered patio that contains the fireplace and extends out from the smokehouse is topped in the same cedar shakes for consistency, and exposed aggregate concrete was used for a safe, nonslip patio surface to create a period-appropriate look. Nevertheless, the space is full of modern features.
Another opening in the front of the fireplace provides a built-in oven for outdoor baking. On either side of the fireplace, McClorey designed benches of smooth concrete and added brick sides to create storage areas beneath the benches to keep wood orderly and dry.
The pavilion was electrically wired and outlets were installed so the owners can use their laptops in the shade. Copper sconces flank the fireplace with soft lighting for entertaining without attracting many bugs. The crew installed a ceiling fan within the vaulted roof, and opposite the fireplace. A flat-screen television hangs in the gabled recess.
The owners were looking for ways to enjoy the space even in Michigan’s brutal winter months, so they had Paulson’s Construction custom-create snap-on sides from materials similar to a wedding tent to keep cold winds at bay.
“Even when there’s 2 feet of snow and it’s 10 F in the dead of winter, the owners can have their friends over, crank up the fire, serve great food and watch the big game on TV. We also added a recessed bonfire pit outside of the covered pavilion. It’s a popular feature for entertaining, and now they can have outdoor bonfires anytime,” McClorey says.
The $21,750 renovation and addition added 180 square feet of year-round recreational space for the owners and transformed an untapped resource into a functional smokehouse to rekindle its useful life and lend a distinct character to the entire project.
KJ Fields writes from Portland, Ore., about remodeling and design.