The opening into the Casa oven and the landing in front of the oven, which is typically used to stage pans and food as they are they move in and out of the oven, can both be finished with a range of materials.
Because the Casa vent and vent floor are built into the basic oven design, and they have both been assembled and sealed as part of the oven assembly process, the arch that frames the oven opening is not structural. The vent and chimney are freestanding, and the arch is strictly decorative.
The oven landing is also optional. How far the owner and builder set the oven chamber back from the front of the stand is a matter of taste and preference. The oven landing also serves as the base for the oven's decorative arch, which rests on top of the landing.
This gives the installer a wide range of design choice.
Also, we should note that a decorative brick arch is available for the Casa ovens, and that the Premio and Ristorante ovens come with very nice terra cotta arch and landing assemblies, all of which simplify installation and give the owner an attractive and easy-to-install decorative opening.
We built both the oven landing and opening from standard red clay bricks. Because we did not have any tools, and we still working on the rapid installation approach, we decided to score the bricks, and break them with a hammer. It worked well.
Also, because we decided to not use expensive tools and forms (as they would be difficult to obtain), we decided to frame the arch opening with blocks, bricks and pieces of brick and block.
Again, it worked well.
We framed the arch using 1/2 bricks, about 4" deep, and set our arch without cutting any angles. The final product is a hearty, rustic look -- appropriate for the local Tuscan landscape.
In order to make fully certain that the arch would not fall in, we let the mortar cure around the arch over night, before removing the forms.
We are now ready to do our last stucco coat, and finish the oven.