I’ve grouped these together because these pieces have very different stories to tell but happen to be in the same house.
The Drawing Room
I’m not sure that there was a chimney piece in this room, but if there was is was too small and insignificant for the space. We needed to find something suitable to fit the given space – without requiring the upheaval and cost of extra building works. It should fall within a sensible budget, and to function as real log fire, so the opening had to be compatible with the existing chimney size. It needed to fit with the period of the listed house, and we wanted attractive but not ornate.
When you walk around reclamation yards and fire specialists it seems that there is almost too much choice – at least it does until you actually want one !
After several unsuccessful sessions with tape measure and camera at known haunts across the country, a couple of the possibilities earmarked but not really quite hitting the mark I came across this perfect piece in east London.
The Family Room
This was a new build across a courtyard to extend the kitchen into a family room and at the same time join with the stable cottages.
The ceiling of course is beautiful, as is the space, the windows and the outlook, but no provision had been made for a real log fire. And if a room ever needed one this was it. A big room like this depends on a real crackling fire – not so much for it’s focal point, something to look at, but for it’s life and energy – the sounds, smells, atmosphere, and the magnetism that attracts and invites ad hoc groupings and conversations.
There are always problems to solve – here It was too late to built a massive chimney, so the flue and chimney breast had to be built within the structure and a small fire would have been pointless and mean. So we found an off -the-peg solution to the fire itself that would also allow us to create a large stone fireplace to accommodate it, or rather to embrace it.
We started to look for antique pieces but were put off both by the amount of work we would, need to do to make it all fit together and the costs. We decide to make our own based loosely on the big hall fireplaces circ. 13th century. Bath stone is well known for its strength and it’s ability to age well, so we found a good stone mason whose experience was in fitting early pieces. He understood how they were constructed and assembled, the proportions and would enjoy the challenge of make a new one. We chose the stone from the centuries old Doulting quarry, just outside Bath, so that we have a chimney piece that will just get better and better the more it’s used and the older it gets….