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Echelon Helps Provide Crowning Touch to Contemporary Asheville Home

Polished White Block Used for Full Masonry Wood-Burning Fireplace and Chimney


When a creative contractor and skilled mason partner with Echelon to complete a wood-burning fireplace and chimney, good things are bound to happen. The result of this partnership is a stunning feature to a contemporary spec home built in an upscale neighborhood just south of Asheville, North Carolina.

Asheville home with fireplace chimney made from Echelon CMUs.

When incorporating fireplaces into new residential construction, most contractors utilize a plain, modular unit. However, Will Walker had a different idea for his newest spec home. Walker approached Clay Wheeler, the Echelon representative who provided him the concrete block for the home’s foundation, and inquired about materials to build a full masonry fireplace with a contemporary look.

“Will mentioned that he wanted to steer clear of rock and brick, and use some type of veneer that provided a more modern aesthetic,” stated Wheeler.

“I suggested a polished concrete masonry unit that I thought would be perfect to dress up the house.” Neither of the men realized it at the time, but the fireplace and chimney would go on to elevate the aesthetics of the house to an entirely new level. “I am fortunate to have a good relationship with Mike Allen, one of the best masons in the Carolinas,” explained Walker. “I sketched a very rough design out and he took it from there. I knew the fireplace would be a nice addition, but it really became the focal point of the house.”

The Cameo White CMU was polished, which added a unique look and feel to the block. Mason Mike Allen skillfully mixed and matched pieces taking full advantage of the product’s versatility. A slate accent was incorporated into the center of the chimney to provide an additional design element. And to extend the motif and provide continuity, the block was used as a support component on the home’s front column.

Inside, the fireplace plays another starring role, featuring a combination of rock and Tennessee field stone along with an oak mantel backed by reclaimed barn timber that stretches to the ceiling. Just as on the exterior, the fireplace is the focal point of the home’s interior décor.

“This fireplace, both inside and out, sold this house,” said Walker. “Plus, I’m able to use this element as an upgrade option for additional houses in the neighborhood or in other developments. I definitely plan to use a similar style of Echelon CMU on full masonry fireplace builds in the future.”

Download and view the PDF case study here.

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