I love fire.
There is something primal, alive and pure about staring into a flame. In the house upstate, we start using the fireplace as soon as it gets cold and even though we are well into June, a couple of weekend ago we lit a fire- because it was raining a little.
All of last summer I obsessed about how to have a similar fire experience during warmer months, and googled outdoor fire pits endlessly. It was, somehow, never a completely satisfying experience.
I found some modern gas versions too slick and hotel like ( and by hotel, I don't mean a chic, boutique-y kind of place. I once stayed at a Hampton Inn near the airport in Columbus, Ohio that had a slick seating area centered around a fire pit.)
Then there was the semi - traditional stylized ones that seemed inauthentic and some concrete stone kits that were just OK. The only ones I loved cost much more money than I was willing to spend. Also, a lot of them were just too big. I didn't necessarily want to create a whole new area for the fire, just wanted to enjoy it in my existing spaces. So I decided to make my own mini fire pits.
First, I bought some of these clean burn tabletop fireplaces from Tikki Brand:
At our local barn sale, I found some great antique cast Iron pots/containers.
These are thick, Heavy and heavily weathered pieces, with some Rust and incredible patina. Beautiful functional objects in and of themselves. Pieces with a history.
Every time I see them, I wondered who used them and what they were for.
Using a metal drill bit, I made some holes on the bottom of each of the containers so that they could stay outside and not get filled with water every time it rains. Then, I started filling them with marble chips, building up a foundation high enough that when a Tikki tabletop fireplace was placed on it, it's rim sat just a little below the top of the container. Once placed, the tabletop fireplace was buried in more marble chips, until only the top rim showed.
And that's it! the whole project took a couple of hours and each mini fire pit cost less than $65.00 to make. It was so easy that I sort of got addicted to it and now we have quite a few. I love them. They are easy to move around and refill, and light up warmer nights in just the right way.
Maybe now I can start thinking about a large fire pit area......
All photos by Ian Cartwright. Please leave your comments below.