We moved into our house exactly 6 years ago- it’s pretty unusual as it was built in 1892 as a psychiatric hospital. After the hospital was closed in the 1980’s, it was developed into housing- and now forms a whole village.
When we were looking into moving back to Devon (where I grew up) from London, we just fell in love with our house- it has big open plan spaces and incredibly high ceilings, and sits tucked away right on the edge of Dartmoor. Lots of people ask me if it’s spooky to live here, but not at all. I love to find out about the history of the place, and it has become a fantastic community. Also a really big bonus is our communal gardens- they have been a life-saver with young children!
There were lots of things we loved about it when we first moved, one was the Aga in the kitchen- I had the idea of the kitchen being the heart of the house, always warm, with biscuits baking and soup bubbling! Another thing we loved was the huge lounge- our first friends to visit said it felt like a village hall! Central to the lounge was a big wood burning stove, and once we got the knack of lighting it, it’s one of those things that actually makes us excited when Autumn approaches to be able to start using it again.
Our first 3 months in the house was chaotic, we had a new baby, a toddler, a big house with no furniture, and my husband was working away while I stayed at home trying very hard not to find the house spooky! To top it all off, our very first gas and electricity bill was £2000 (we hadn’t changed the tariff when we moved in from the terrible one that n-power had put us on!). It was an absolute blow, and one we couldn’t afford as we had just started a new business (Arcade Aerials), and so between 2013 and 2018 we did not use our central heating again! Our wood burner went from being a pretty accessory, to our main source of heating. We have hoped to update the old-fashioned one we have with something more modern and efficient for a couple of years. We are gradually updating our house from tired and worn, to contemporary with a Scandinavian feel- it’s a slow process as just the task of painting is an enormous job- when my husband commenced the painting of the ceiling in the lounge to eradicate the awful tobacco colour, it took him 6 days at the top of a scaffolding tower to finish the job!
We started to research wood burning stoves last Autumn. First of all, we worked out what size we would need for our room. To achieve a room temperature of around 21ºC when the external air temperature is at freezing, you will need approximately 1kW of heat output for every 14 cubic meters of space. Measure the length, width and height of your room and multiply the three figures together. Once you know it will be much easier to narrow down the models available to you. We then visited several showrooms, and after looking at pretty much everything on the market, we both fell in love with the Chesneys range of wood burning stoves. My requirement was to have a big ‘fire picture’- I love sitting and watching the flames, and on our old model they were pretty obscured by bars. My husband wanted to make sure that we chose one big enough to heat both the room it is in, and also to be able to output enough heat to keep the rest of the downstairs warm in the winter. Aside from that, he wanted to get something that looked really smart, and high-end, and once he saw Chesneys’ Salisbury model, there was really no alternative for him.
Aside from choosing the model of wood burner you would like, and determining the size needed, there are plenty of other things to take into consideration. Depending on whether you are replacing an old wood burning stove, or installing one for the first time, you may need to have a flue installed- this can be an expensive process and may well require scaffolding. The other cost will be the actual fitting of it. We used a local supplier in Bovey Tracey, Moorland Fireplaces , who came and gave us a free quote for installation. You also need to consider the costs of maintenance- you will need to have your chimney swept annually, and also to source a good supplier of logs- it’s important to use properly seasoned logs in your wood burning stove, and if you are using it as a main source of heat, you will probably want to stock up with a proper delivery rather than just buying the expensive nets available from supermarkets and garages.
We had our Chesneys stove installed in August, and have now been using it for a month or so (we couldn’t resist even though it’s not particularly cold yet!). We are thrilled with our choice, and it is everything we hoped it would be. The features that we particularly love about the Chesneys Salisbury 12 series are:
- It looks beautiful!
- Chesneys stoves are highly efficient (A rated)
- Colour choice: we chose silver- it’s not as ‘heavy’ looking as a black stove, and works perfectly with the colour scheme we are aiming for in our lounge!
- The flue comes out of the top of the stove rather than the back, so it fits really neatly into an alcove instead of sitting forward like our old stove
- The fire-picture is large and clear- and once burning you get some absolutely stunning flame formations. The stove has clean glass technology which means that (as long as you are using properly seasoned timber), you will always have a clear picture of the flames, and will barely have to clean the glass.
- It’s much easier than our old stove for getting a fire started, due to the way the airflow works- sometimes it would take me several attempts to get a good fire going with our old model
- The Salisbury is very quick to get up to a good level of heat- you can feel the effect almost as soon as the fire has started
- There is only one airflow lever to deal with, so it’s not complicated to control the fire
- The 12 series has a bypass baffle, so when you open the door it allows a direct release of the smoke up the flue which avoids filling the room with smoke.
If you are thinking of having a wood burning stove installed you can find some really useful information on the Chesneys’ website about the whole process of buying and operating a wood burning stove such as understanding wood-burning regulations, practical tips on how to use and maintain a wood burning stove, and the benefits of a wood burning fire.
Disclosure: All words and pictures are my own, and honest and open. We chose this wood burning stove ourselves, and contacted the manufacturer Chesneys about a collaboration. We were offered a discount on the stove in return for a blog post outlining our experiences. We paid the full costs of installation.