So now that we had prepped the plasterboard wall to be safe for the woodburning stove we only had a few days to wait until Installation Day.
Finally, bright and early the Low Carbon Energy Centre team were at the door, and all of a sudden, after years of waiting, the installation was happening. They had a quick look at the room, they approved all of our prep work, and headed off to start unloading their van.
I think we were astonished by two things – one was the sheer speed things happened, and the second was the incredible tidiness!
Before we knew it the living room was looking like a murder scene as every surface was covered in plastic, and some brilliant sticky yellow plastic stuff was rolled across the floor – what a genius system, it meant that they could trek in and out the patio doors in their boots without a care for our cream carpet (I’m considering putting it down permanently…).
Frankly the room looked as messy as I had expected, and we had no thought of using it for a couple of days.
Maybe it was because we had done all the prep work and made the job easier, but it seemed like no time at all before things were looking remarkably far along. We were assured it was a simple process – but even so it was an incredibly short time before the woodburner was actually sitting in place.
We had got incredibly lucky with the hearthstone – our budget had limited us to a basic glass hearth, but neither of us were very keen. However, Low Carbon Energy happened to have a stone in their warehouse which had been ordered a few years ago, and subsequently hadn’t been wanted. It had been taking up space ever since – but it turned out to be the perfect size for us, so we gladly took it off their hands and ended up with a stunning hearth of local Marnhull stone (literally, the quarry is just down the road) filled with fossils, instead of the glass hearth we had dreaded. SO lucky!
As the team finished up on the first afternoon we were a bit surprised to find that the room looked like this:
I know, right? A few neatly stacked boxes filled with chimney-things (yes, that’s the technical term) ready for the flue to be installed the next day, and apart from that the room was ours. We couldn’t believe that there was absolutely zero tidying to be done!
Because we have a 12kw fire we needed a second air vent in the room, which is already installed here, neatly tucked behind the armchair at the far end of the room. They also fitted a carbon monoxide alarm up above that chair almost at the ceiling – it’s the tiny white box you can just make out if you squint.
The next day was mostly outside work – climbing higher up the scaffolding as the galvanized chimney grew skywards…
Once the chimney was up there appeared very little left to be done – and it was only lunchtime on Day Two! The magic sticky yellow stuff was rolled out again as the hearth was cleaned up and sealed, and everything was made ready for the First Fire.
Though we know how to light a normal fire, we were happy to have a quick demonstration on the lighting of the woodburner – gathering around and ooh-ing excitedly as the very first flames licked upwards through the kindling…
We slowly fed the baby fire, aware we shouldn’t go too big too quickly. And then the smell hit us… Thank goodness it was such a mild December day as we had to have the windows and patio doors thrown wide open to try and clear the smell of the paint fumes as the stove heated up!
It took a few hours before the painty-stench cleared completely, but by the time evening rolled around, there was only one place we were going to be found.
Yes we were currently looking at bare Gyproc with an ugly gap, we still had to tile the surround, we had no mantle, we had no log basket…
But we had fire.
And that made us ridiculously bloody happy.
We’ve been thrilled to be working with the amazing Arada Stoves on this series, a family firm who produce the Aarrow, Stratford and Villager stoves – with an obsessive commitment to design, workmanship and support. It was absolutely fascinating going to see the stoves be made from plain sheets of metal at their factory in Devon. Our woodburner of choice was the Villager 12 Duo, a free standing multifuel stove that’s big enough to not get lost in our rather large lounge.
And how does it look now we’ve tiled and installed the oak beams, plus invested in a beautiful log basket?