***This blog post is a paid partnership with Arada Stoves***
When we renovated in 2015, I had two things at the very top of my list, they were to install a wood burner in the living room and bi-fold doors in the kitchen. And no matter what other compromises we would have to make it whether it was budget, specs of things or what we wanted to do for the overall renovation, we had to have those. You may be wondering why?! I was yearning for a cosy home, connected to the outdoors and had recurrent day-dreams about having a real fire lit and watching the flames on a cold day. Hope I am not the only one who has fantasised about having a wood burner! If we look at the statistics I don’t think I am as according to the Guardian around 10% of UK homes (2.5 million) have an open fire or wood burner.
I grew up for part of my childhood in a 1930’s house with parquet floors, stain glass windows and an open fire (knowing what I know now, I am not sure of the eco-credentials of the fire we had and pleased to say my parents have since moved to a newer house with no open fire). The UK winters seem to have gotten longer and colder and we have had more snow year on year for the past few winters and I am one of those people who is always cold and goes to bed with socks on, sometimes even my nightgown over my pyjamas! All in all I was convinced and justified that we needed one. I had read the guidelines so we picked a DEFRA approved stove and we had a tiled hearth and fully approved fitters to install it. During the beast from the East last year and being snowed in, I couldn’t have been happier to have one.
We are currently renting after having sold our home of 7 years which the wood burner went with. I am still sad about that and miss it. And whilst we await planning permission, I am designing the interior of the new house. We are hoping to have not just one wood burner but two. The layout for the new house includes one large open plan living space around 11 metres long by 6.5metres wide. There will be a snug area at one end, this is where the wood burner will go, a dining space in the middle and a kitchen at the other end. I am really passionate about Hygge living and for the home to be a warm and cosy place. One of the biggest positives of having a wood burner is the heat it gives off and how quickly you feel the benefit of it. We would often have the heating off in winter especially in the evenings because the wood burner did such a good job.
There are a few other reasons why I really want to have a wood burner again other than the cosy factor. Firstly if you think about the aesthetics of a wood burner and fireplace, they can add so much character to a space. This is going to be really important to me in the design of the new house because we have ended up buying a 1960’s bungalow which believe me I would not have even believed at the start of our house hunting journey. I have always been obsessed with period properties, so much so that even when I rented post university, I only lived in period properties. Our first home was also a very old victorian terraced cottage. However, my husband saw so much potential in what we have bought and somehow got me on board and now I could not be more excited about the opportunity to *almost* self build! It is really important for me to create character and features where we do not have any. I am planning on using natural and tactile materials such as concrete to create a backdrop for the stove. And I particularly love the contrast of a cold, some might even say harsh material against the metal and warmth of the stove. We are hoping to achieve a similar look and feel to this which is from the look book of the Arada stove collections which are made in Britain.
And before we go any further, we need to address the elephant in the room! You may be reading this thinking, “whilst your plans sound great Reena, wood burners are about to get banned.” Well, there is some truth in that but there also isn’t. Wood burners are not going to be banned but certain stoves will be, in particular older models and open fires which do not comply with the new European-wide law that aims to lower emissions and improve air quality. The new laws will come into effect from 2022. There will not be a retrospective ban on older stoves.
Arada stoves have been working behind the scenes to develop a range of eco stoves which are a few years ahead of when the new legislation is going to come into effect. Eco-designed stoves also reduce particulate emissions by up to 55%. As well as buying an eco-designed DEFRA approved stove, you should use seasoned wood with a moisture content of less than 20 per cent as this is a far more environmentally friendly way to run one. We had a DEFRA approved stove in our last home and you could definitely tell the difference between ours and some of our friends who had older stoves. We never had any smoke or smells coming from the wood burner.
I want my home to be a place of sanctuary and relaxation even though at times it is the polar opposite of that as I have my three little ladies to contend with. I find warmth and watching a real fire burn a very calming experience which has been especially important at a time when parenthood with little ones and the daily grind is so exhausting. This is also the reason we are planning a second wood burner for our study which will be upstairs and connected to the master bedroom via crittall doors. We would opt for a smaller and more compact wood burner for this space because at roughly 15sqm it will be a fairly small space. As I mentioned above, I would like two this year which means there are also options to go for a colour other than black too! At the moment, I am not being that brave and thinking cream but each of the stoves from Arada’s Farringdon collection which are EcoDesign ready come in 7 different colours.
I would love to hear your thoughts about my wood burner stove plans for our new house and also which one of the Arada stoves above is your favourite!