Keep the home fires burning

Posted 19th March 2021

Fireplaces are adored by many of us, mainly for the relaxing ambiance they create, the physical warmth they bring to a room and the mesmerising beauty of dancing flames. Historically they were used for heating water for laundry and bathing, and for cooking; how lucky we are then that the passing of time enables us to admire their beauty without the need to be pressing clothes through a mangle or drying off a shivering child, fresh out of a metal tub.

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The period and style of your house should heavily influence your chosen design. An original fireplace is something to be treasured and you should think very carefully before deciding to remove it as it could negatively affect the value of your house. If the original fireplace has already been removed then research styles sympathetic to the period and investigate the costs of putting an original fireplace back in. Local reclamation yards and auction houses are good places to start.

A new fireplace will make more of a statement, so better to choose something that you love rather than a design that is linked to a period or style you are not keen on. Think about the size of the room, in terms of height as well as width and length but also consider the amount of furniture too. A smaller fireplace or log burner might be a better option in a cosy cottage that’s already home to two large dominant sofas.

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Think about colour and materials. Your choice could dictate schemes for years to come so it’s important to consider how accommodating the look might be to future scheme changes. Fireplaces should be a statement without dominating the room, classic designs are better in traditional settings and simpler, more linear styles work better in contemporary situations. 

Good fire showrooms are a joy to behold when you find them. They are warm and inviting, full of inspirational designs and ideas of how to get the best from your fireplace, aesthetically, economically and environmentally. Choose a fire showroom that is Hetas approved ( ensuring quality advice and a good standard of service. Leading manufacturers names to look out for are Capital, Clearview, Dimplex, Dovre, Gazco, Jøtul, Stovax and Rais.

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Even if your room has no working chimney, you can still install a fireplace. Both electric and bioethanol fires provide instant heat or a feature focal point without the need for a chimney or gas supply. Electric fires tend to be plugged in and require little in terms of installation. They’re easy to use, warm up quickly and are very efficient. Bioethanol fires are a new and innovative development that are highly contemporary and do not need to be vented externally, so are truly flue-less. 

This means that they’re not subject to appliance or fitting regulations, so are easy to install in houses that have previously been constrained by strict planning rules. 

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No need to change or install a new indoor fire then why not turn your attention to an outdoor fire? Madness, I hear you cry at this time of the year, but with all of us confined indoors during the current pandemic there really is no better time than to cosy up around an outdoor fire on a clear and star-filled night. Artist Andy Gage has created beautiful, sculptured fire pits that work brilliantly both as patio heaters and garden sculptures, especially when illuminated with electric lights or fires. The fireballs are Andy’s piece de resistance, enhancing gardens and patios in a uniquely beautiful way. You can see them locally in Bell, Northampton ( or online at

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Still in need of persuasion, then the revolutionary Dutchtub may be just what you need. The Dutchtub brings outdoor bathing to a whole new level. It operates in a very simple way being wood fired with a natural circulation of the water, and having seen the tub in action, I can confirm that the water gets beautifully warm and the glow of the fire only adds to the experience.

With so many new and exciting innovations in the world of fires and fireplaces, there really is a design to suit every style and taste. The hardest part will be choosing which one!