Reno Diaries: Silver Linings and Wood Burning Stoves

What beautiful weather we’re having – in typical fashion now that our wood-burning stove is finally in there’s a heatwave. Not that I was really expecting to use it at this time of year of course but seriously!

So, the next part of our living room renovation is pretty much complete but this has been a valuable learning curve for us both in how to approach future projects. I broke my own rules of quotes and didn’t get any comparisons and whilst I was so careful with the windows to document every little step on paper, we had a couple of issues with the stove which means that we’ve had to dispose of all the rubbish since that wasn’t factored into the cost and the internal section of the fireplace has not been finished properly since apparently I didn’t specify that I wanted it plastered. Well who knew there was any alternative?!


It’s fine, it’s rendered, and that’s enough for me to be able to work with but this was not a cheap operation and I can’t help thinking that where we thought we’d be saving loads in going directly with the contractor instead of via the company he works for, we haven’t really saved anything at all and had a little bit of aggravation in the process. Pete spent most of yesterday carrying all the rubble that was left on our drive, down the passageway at the side of our house, into the back garden and up to the top so he could pop it all in the sheds which back on to the garage. This sounds like nothing but when you have the equivalent of a ton of material to shift and our garden slopes upwards and is 100ft long, it’s a nightmare.

That said, I have been known to love a challenge and so once the plaster on the front of the fireplace and the render inside is dried, I’ll set about repainting. In the meantime, here are my tips if you’re thinking about getting a wood-burning stove.

  • Most importantly, check you live in an area where you can burn fuel and if there are any restrictions to the type of fuel. We live in London and some areas are different, on our current road it’s fine but where we used to live just 4 miles away it was not possible to use wood-burners.
  • Do you have a chimney? Obvious one right, but you will need some kind of air vent for the stove to expel air to. It’s not impossible if you don’t have a chimney, either you can have one built or there are now some very clever designs on the market (mainly Scandinavian because chimneys aren’t common over there) which aren’t chimney reliant
  • Multi vs. single fuel – we’re only interested in burning wood but as the burner we went for is a multi-fuel one, we’ve had the appropriate lining fitted in case we move on so the next occupiers have the choice
  • Design – there are SO many to choose from. We went to Westcombes Fireplaces near to where we live which was a positive treasure trove and got some really good advice. You definitely need to see them in the flesh, don’t think that internet shopping is enough for this one. You’ll need to know the size of the space you have (both width and depth) and whether you want something traditional or modern, do you want clear branding, what size of window? We went for the Heta Inspire 45. It’s a Danish design, quite stream-lined and minimalist. I love the simplicity and the large clear glass – the beauty of woodburners for me is to look at the flame rather than all the surround. I also like the fact that there is no obvious branding.
  • Strength/output – you’ll need to know the dimensions of your room or the area you want to heat, this has a bearing on the choices available also
  • The work – if you’re having a hearth replaced or added, what material would you like? Mantel or not? And make sure to clarify the internal structure of your fireplace, we had a gas one which needed to be stripped out and the fireplace opened up back to it’s original 1930’s dimensions. Depending on the style of the look you’re going for, you could leave the original brickwork exposed or have it plastered over.
  • The mess – depending how much excavation you need doing, it’s a messy, messy business. Make sure you determine who is responsible for getting rid of all the debris and packaging!

Needless to say despite the trials and tribulations we’ve encountered, we really do love how the fireplace looks now and it’s such a huge improvement on what was there before. Hopefully a much warmer winter awaits.

Do you have a wood burning stove? Have you encountered any problems with certain projects?

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  1. July 1, 2015 / 2:38 pm

    Thanks for this guide. I would love a stove in the sitting room but we’d have to have a big shiny chimney built on the outside of the house (regulations here). We are dithering about it for a few years now. Maybe some day we’ll go for it.
    Fionnuala from

    • Lins
      July 2, 2015 / 10:28 pm

      That definitely does take some thinking about doesn’t it? I don’t know whether we’d have gone for it if we didn’t already have the fireplace but they do make a nice feature. Thank you for commenting X

  2. July 1, 2015 / 3:28 pm

    This is great info! We have a wood burning stove in our dining room but it was here when we bought the house. I love it though and if we moved to somewhere that didn’t have one, I’d definitely want to install one. It may not feel like it today — with 30 degree heat outside — but you’ll LOVE it in the winter 🙂 Thanks so much for linking up with #HomeEtc — hope to see you again next week! x

    Caro |

    • Lins
      July 2, 2015 / 10:29 pm

      Yes I’m quite sure the nation has me and my woodburner to thank for the current heatwave, oh the irony! We’ve got a fireplace in the dining room too so if it works out well this winter I shall save up and invest in one for there too X

  3. July 1, 2015 / 3:29 pm

    Really useful post! I am also planning on introducing a stove in our house, as soon as money wise possible, but it is a struggle to know what to do and in what order. I am dreaming of a Victorian period fireplace but we shall see. We also live in a no smoke area so wood burners unless special make are not possible for us. Really interesting to see how yours turned out 🙂 #homeetc

  4. mummyofboygirltwins
    July 1, 2015 / 7:23 pm

    Really informative and such great advice. Looking great! We have an open fire in our snug and it has been FAB over the winter months and so cosy. However, we will not be having one in our new home *sobs*. It will be one thing we really miss. Thanks SO much for sharing, great post.

    Jess xx


  5. July 1, 2015 / 8:37 pm

    What a lovely wood burner – I am very envious. The hassle about the rubbish sounds really annoying – especially when you consider how expensive having them done is! I’m hoping to get one eventually, but I’m a bit scared of the cost and the mess! #HomeEtc

    • Lins
      July 2, 2015 / 10:24 pm

      Ugh I don’t blame you Lizzie, I really hope come winter for us the hassle will be long forgotten and I’ll be all warm and toasty! X

  6. July 1, 2015 / 9:15 pm

    Oh I love your stove and I can sympathise also with some of the hassles you have had with the person who put it in! We renovated our house five years ago and there were many issues and it was pretty stressful. I would love a wood burning stove though I think they look so stylish. Bring on the cold weather!! x

    • Lins
      July 2, 2015 / 10:23 pm

      Thank you Julia, yes we definitely have many issues ahead with future renovations I think! Thank you for commenting X

  7. Stephanie
    July 1, 2015 / 9:47 pm

    Looks great –and hopefully you’ll be snug as a bug in a rug (or in front of a wood burner at least) come winter, but definitely not one for today 🙂 #homeetc

    • Lins
      July 4, 2015 / 10:19 pm

      Yep Steph, as much as I want to try it out I hope we don’t need to any time soon!! I’m still hoping for a couple of months of glorious heat #evertheoptimist X

  8. July 2, 2015 / 9:55 pm

    Good to know all this, I’m really keen on getting a wood burning stove in one of our rooms, so thanks for sharing 🙂


    • Lins
      July 8, 2015 / 3:28 pm

      You’re very welcome, thank you for popping by! X

  9. Toni @ Gym Bunny Mummy
    July 3, 2015 / 4:47 pm

    I would love a proper wood burner but it would mean a lot of money & work which we just can’t afford at the moment. Instead we took out our old fire & found we had a small hole in the chimney breast big enough for an electric wood burner effect stove and used that instead. The hubby then made a mantle out reclaimed wood. It’s not the real deal but I still love it #HomeEtc

    • Lins
      July 8, 2015 / 3:25 pm

      That’s such a great day! I’ve been getting so much inspiration from hearing other people’s home stories to actually try and repurpose things were possible, it’s amazing what can be achieved. Thank you for stopping by X

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