Interiors: We all love an open fire

First published in News The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Columnist

Interiors with Sarah Jane Nielsen, owner and director of Sarah Jane Nielsen Limited, at Staveley.

The wood burning stove is featuring in most of our Lakeland renovation projects. Whether it be a replacement for an open fire or it be the need for an upgraded appliance or more contemporary statement.

There is no doubt we all love an open fire. However, some of us groan at the thought of the maintenance and mess they create and decide against it. The other concern is within rental properties, the landlord may be nervous of leaving a potential danger hazard available for use by ‘unconcerned’ visitors, never mind children.

This reminds me of the first time I suggested candles in the dressing of a hotel room scheme. Yes, I was blown out the water with a very definite ‘no’ from the hotel owner. Looks great, creates atmosphere, all great and we do all love the sensation a lit candle creates, but of course fire is a hazard and the insurance cover is not up to it.

Wood burning stoves, may not be ‘all safe’ but they seem more acceptable to homeowners and landlords. We are involved with half a dozen within projects at present; each application creates an alternative consideration.

The first is a perfect log house, we want to relocate the existing fire into the centre of the room to allow movement between a kitchen and dining space, and ensure the diners don’t get over heated. It also balances out the room usage perfectly. This particular stove was the Jotul contemporary floor mounted F275, the clean style could go straight through the roof with the chimney flue or through the internal wall into an existing flue to a fireplace in the joining room. Both options have issues as the wall and the roof is mainly timber. And when internal flues pass through wood they need an additional collar plus an unsightly wide section of flue to help combat easy combustion.

With a little advice offered up by the builder, we removed the timber p board cladding to the internal wall and replaced it with a non-combustible plaster which I would then use to enhance the suggestion of a fire breast. And no additional sections needed. Result!

Another type of popular stove, which is more English in style is the Clearview Vision or Pioneer. I feel this suites most households with an Aga or similar enamel stoves. A turn of the century farmhouse or town villa can equally house this traditional and handsome stove. No over enhancement, just cleaner detail lines than most in this category. Morso and Stovax follow on, except the Clearview also performs as it suggests: the glass remains clear through use.

There are some positively beautiful, sculptural forms of heat from suppliers such as CVO, the Fireplace Company and Ropeys. All of which need a spectacular setting and sizable budget, but boy are they worth it. None, more so fabulous than this Eva from Bordelet which we hung , without the glass cover, in a converted barn locally. It doesn’t get much better than that!

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