Last week we shared a few new things that we have around the house with you. One of those new additions is this companion set in our dining room.
Well, I’m sure by now that you’ve guessed that we didn’t just buy a random companion set – we installed a wood-burning stove, too.
We never really used to use the dining room much. Since knocking down the wall between the kitchen and dining room and removing the horrible carpet and sanding the floor we’ve already started to spend much more time there, but now with winter coming and no heating in the room (the only radiator was in the kitchen on the wall that we removed) we had to come up with a quick solution.
Going right back to the beginning, this is the horrible and useless gas fire that was in the dining room.
For safety reasons, we had the gas connection capped pretty much straight after moving in and after removing the fire, we temporarily covered the hole with the Edwardian fireplace that’s now in our guest bedroom.
As fireplaces have to be installed by registered professionals, (you can check out our guide to Period Fireplaces here) ours was purely decorative and couldn’t actually be used to heat the room.
Jan and I had been trying to work out a solution to our heating problems and were still considering the option of having a wood burner installed, when I came home one day only to find, that Jan had decided to start taking the chimney apart! At least it made our decision to go ahead with the project easy!
As usual, we tried to save a bit of money, so when getting quotes for the job we’d discussed the possibility of doing some of the dirty preparation work ourselves. Luckily the contractors were all more than happy for us to prepare the opening, which not only saved us around £250 but also allowed me to use our hammer drill properly for the first time.
We’d planned on removing all of the brickwork that had been installed around the old gas fireplace and wanted to open up the chimney breast back to the original Edwardian opening.
Normally in old houses, there would be a supporting brick arch holding up the chimney breast (I’ve dashed where it should have been in the picture below). We’ll, I’m sure you can imagine our surprise when we didn’t find an arch or a lintel and realized that half of the chimney breast was floating in mid-air!
Luckily it always wasn’t as bad as we initially thought and after a quick discussion with our fireplace contractor and builder, we were given the go ahead to remove the bricks and rubble – even without a lintel. Miraculously the bricks directly over the opening didn’t even fall down and just stayed hovering over the big new opening.
The day after preparing the opening, our fireplace contractor came round to install our new wood-burning stove. Everything went very quickly from there.
They installed a new lintel, slate hearth and flue liner on the first day. They even managed to replaster the exposed brickwork, too. Then on the second day, all that was left to do was install the stove.
It took us ages to decide on the actual stove, but now it’s in, we’re really happy with the result.
We’d like a much more modern feel in the kitchen-dining room and the clean lines and minimalist feel of the stove are exactly what we’d imagined.
We’ve not had much chance to actually use the stove yet, as the weather (rather atypically) has been really lovely! Not that we’re complaining – it’ll save on the heating bills!
With a bit of luck and some help from our new wood burner and a few other little planned house upgrades, this will be the first winter in our house where we’re not really cold.
Are you doing any home upgrades to improve your house before the cold winter months kick in? Do you have a wood burning stove? If you do, do you have any running tips for us?