Toasty!

Way back in February I told you all that I had bitten the bullet and ordered a new wood burning stove for my sitting room. (If you missed it you can find the post here https://goingbattyinwales.wordpress.com/2022/02/20/building-resilience/) One big enough to heat the whole of the downstairs and allow me to use my Air Source Heat Pump less thus saving on my electricity bills which are becoming ridiculous.

A conversation with my friend Lindy, who heats her bungalow entirely with a wood stove from the same company I chose, made me realise that the new fire would work much better if the downstairs was more open plan. I should explain that my house has a really weird layout. It is very long and thin with the rooms opening off each other. You come in through a new porch to the kitchen, then my workroom, the sitting room and finally a spare bedroom. It is all because it was originally 2 small cottages which went derelict after WWII, were bought in the 70’s, and renovated with an extension either end to give a garage at the kitchen end and a bathroom at the other. When we moved in my workroom and the sitting room, the downstairs of the larger cottage, were open plan. As both the owner and the builder doing the renovations smoked a lot of cannabis the ‘renovations’ were a bit odd, shall we say! We replaced the kitchen, knocked the 3 very cramped bedrooms upstairs into one generous bedroom with en suite, turned the huge downstairs bathroom into a single bedroom also ensuite and put up a stud wall to divide the open plan livting room into two as we needed more wall space and wanted a cosy sitting room. The picture on the left has the new stud wall to the left and the stairs wall to the right in my workroom. The right hand picture is the sitting room with the small wood burner lit.

I didn’t want to go back to the original single living space – I have tried having my desk and / or my sewing machine in the sitting room and I find it hard to relax with ‘jobs’ in my eyeline. So after much head scratching and with Lindy’s thoughts to help me, I decided to take down the top half of the wall. It was clearly going to be a job that needed 2 pairs of hands – one to cut and one to hold – so she very kindly offered to help. There were some very useful electrical sockets on the workroom side above the cupboards so we decided to make the cut a little higher and just hope that the cables could be re-routed. But as I had an electrician coming at some point for another job all was not lost if they has to stay as they were for a while. It took 2 days and made a lot of mess but Ta Da

Apologies for the poor lighting but it was late when we finished and most of the small lamps had been moved to safety! There is still some filling and touching up of paint to do but I knew that the fire installation would make more so chose to do it all at the same time.

Then last week the fire arrived. Alek and Jason from Beacon Stoves were brilliant! I had cleared the room of small stuff and moved the furniture out of the way but they put down dustsheets over everything and cardboard to protect the floor then got the old fire and the flue liner out. They were quite impressed by how little soot or tar there was up the chimney – that told them that I only burn well seasoned wood. Then we had a discussion about how I wanted the new stove installed. I could have the flue coming out of the top which would push the stove to the back of the space meaning I would only need the hearth extended slightly. Or I could have it coming out of the back which would mean the stove sat close to the front of the existing hearth and a bigger extra piece would be needed. I would also need a bigger insert into the wooden mantleshelf to prevent it getting singed. But forward would mean the heat was less likely to get trapped in the enclosed space and would be easier to put pans on (a bigger surface area and easier to reach) so I decided on that option. They cannected it all up and put the first lot of cement round the flue pipe where they had had to cut away to get the old one out.

The next day they returned and Alek had found a piece of slate cut in a curve which he thought I might like for the hearth although he had some other pieces he could cut to another shape if I preferred. He put it down in front of the fire and we all stood back to look – it was perfect! Then I had to consider the piece to go in the shelf. Could he cut one to match the curve on the Hearth? He was a bit surprised – he hadn’t been asked for a shaped piece for that job before – but, yes. So he set up his bench and cutter in the carport and used the hearth piece as a template. The mantleshelf is not solid – it is boards cladding a shelf constructed of cement and old roofing slates. So the fascia board was cut away and the piece of slate inserted. A final tidy up of the making good around the flue and the job was done. But the fire could not be lit until everything had dried. So the following afternoon Alek came back to carry out a check that the flue worked properly with a smoke bomb and lit the fire demonstrating how to operate the air intake and so on. We both knew that I was perfectly capable of lighting fires and knew about using well seasoned wood but we both had to sign that he had done his job so we went through the procedure!

The photo I took of it lit was out of focus! So this one was taken today.

It was a mild day so I didn’t stoke the fire again after he left but the stove was still giving off heat almost 4 hours later. Toasty!

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22 thoughts on “Toasty!

  1. Anne May 18, 2022 / 2:09 pm

    I am so pleased that all the changes have been done and dusted. Now you need to ensure you have a good supply of cut wood to see you through the winter when it comes around again 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Going Batty in Wales May 19, 2022 / 9:07 am

      Lucjkily I knew this was the direction I was going in so last winter Laura and I cut as much as we could and it is drying in the woodshed.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Marie Lewis May 18, 2022 / 2:24 pm

    What a transformation Sue! Looks great.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Going Batty in Wales May 19, 2022 / 9:08 am

      Thank you Marie. I am pleased with it.

      Like

  3. cattitudegrooming May 18, 2022 / 2:35 pm

    The fireplace looks terrific, the curved slate in the mantelpiece is genius! You really are clever, moving the half wall with your friend was brave but worth it and it looks very attractive too.
    I also have a wood stove and an air heat pump which work very efficiently in my very old and strangely shaped house. As I spend most evenings in the sitting room I am able to turn the air pump off or very low and stay toasty with any spare heat making its way up through the sitting room ceiling to my bedroom.
    I love reading all your posts and knowing what you are up to. Hopefully we can meet up this summer. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • cattitudegrooming May 18, 2022 / 2:37 pm

      The comment above and this one is from Sue Joseph……don’t know why it says cattitude grooming….?.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Going Batty in Wales May 19, 2022 / 9:09 am

        WordPress is prone to throwing hissy fits! It refused to load photos whilst I was writing the post and I had to shut everything down and come back to it later.

        Like

    • Going Batty in Wales May 19, 2022 / 9:10 am

      Thank you Sue. I have no idea why I thought of a curved insert but am glad the notion came from somewhere! It would be lovely to meet up if we can.

      Like

    • Going Batty in Wales May 19, 2022 / 9:11 am

      Thank you Amanda. I was careful to take photos which skated over the fiddly tidying up bits that still have to be done 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. anne54 May 18, 2022 / 10:38 pm

    I am impressed with your abilities, Sue. I would have dithered for ages about the wall, and then tried to organise someone to come in a do it for me! The stove is a great idea, and very efficient too, by the sound of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Going Batty in Wales May 19, 2022 / 9:13 am

      Luckily both Lindy and I have taken stud walls down before and as I helped John to build it all I had a pretty good idea how it was constructed and so how it had to come down. It would have been hard on my own so I was very glad of a second head and pair of hands.

      Like

  5. nanacathy2 May 19, 2022 / 8:09 am

    So impressed with the DIY. Wood stoves are wonderful and I am am sure will be toasty. I’ll be interested to know what you think about the pump. Love the slate overmantle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Going Batty in Wales May 19, 2022 / 9:15 am

      Thanks Cathy. The Air source heat pump is very efficient and fuss free. If I was changing from a gas or oil boiler I would probably be delighted. And if I lived in town with a small garden or couldn’t carry wood in it might well be my best option. But it still uses electricity which is expensive and for me wood costs only effort. So whilst I am fit enough to do it I will go on burning that.

      Like

  6. onesmallstitch May 20, 2022 / 7:30 pm

    everthing looks so wonderful and professional, amazing. I love the colour, the plate rail is beautiful- hope you don’t live in earthquake territory (something we are always aware of). You will enjoy the extra heat and a kettle on the fire for tea. Delighted to see you in the mirror.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Going Batty in Wales May 21, 2022 / 9:29 am

      Thank you Jean. The plates were my husband’s grandmother’s – a wedding present to her I was told. I also have her tea service and used to use them all but now they are just decorative. I am almost looking forward to winter now!

      Like

  7. lisatheardentgardener May 20, 2022 / 10:51 pm

    It looks fabulous! Great job on the pony-wall/cutaway work you did with your friend. And how nicely the stove installation turned out with your vision to guide it! I’m imagining you now, sewing in cozy comfort of an evening. Also love the shade of peony-pink you have on the walls! Thanks for sharing this follow up. I’ve been looking forward to it. -lisa

    Liked by 1 person

    • Going Batty in Wales May 21, 2022 / 9:26 am

      Thank you Lisa. I have never heard the expression ‘pony wall’ before but I do like it! I am, as you will have gathered, very pleased with the new fire. The wall used to be red which was really comforting in winter but a tad dark in summer so I redid it pink which works all year round.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Going Batty in Wales May 24, 2022 / 5:41 pm

      Thank you. I have no idea where or why that popped into mu head but I am very gl;ad it did!

      Like

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