Lifestyle, Living Room, Universal Design

How we transformed our 1930’s fireplace in 2 days

March 31, 2019
buildmumahouse, build mum a house, jolapiesakowska, jola piesakowska stove, blog

It’s been an exciting week. It’s only taken two years of decision making… but we’ve done it. On Friday we had a modern multifuel stove installed into our original fireplace. It’s transformed our living room and looks fantastic.

Our fireplace still has the original 1930’s ceramic tiled surround and lovely Art Deco details, like the wavy lines decorating the mantle. We love the look and have even picked up a mantle clock with the same details. Since we have lived here we’ve have been using the ‘original’ ugly gas guzzling fire on high days and holidays or just for drying off the dogs after a walk in the rain We thought that a real fire would turn the fireplace into a cozy focal point for our living room.


We started researching by talking to friends and family, digging around Pinterest and found that most people go for ripping out the old fire surround to make a large modern space for an amazing freestanding stove.

Well, we knew we didn’t want to go down that route. We had decided that we were looking for a stove that was inset and would heat the sitting room enough to supplemented the central heating. Browsing the internet had confused us, we saw that there are so many options out there. My cousin had a stove installed and recommended the Kindle showroom in Teddington, London. It really helped to see a small selection of fires in action and then have a home consultation. We didn’t have much choice but we fell in love with the modern simple lines of the Contura i4 Modern. It just fits in with the deco lines and makes our original fireplace look fantastic.

Here’s a few tips that we learnt along the way

  • Book a chimney sweep to clean out soot and debris and make sure you get a certificate– we didn’t have much soot but crows had dropped a selection of twigs and even a dried out chicken bone down the chimney!

STOVE cleaning the chimney

  • If you live in a smoke free zone check that your stove is DEFRA approved.
  • If you are going to burn wood, you need to buy kindling to start the fire as well as buying logs. Find a good reliable supplier for both of those, preferably with some eco credentials. We bought kindling from a local volunteer group who are involved in active woodland management.  Our seasoned, dry logs are arrived in a massive jumbo bag from Dandy’s
  • Find somewhere to store the logs out of the rain and with easy to access, find out how to stack them (click for video)
  • A big glass door means you get a big view of the flames and provides a stunning focal point for the room.
  • Heat output – installing a stove into an existing fireplace means you don’t get much choice but the bigger the kwh number, the more heat you will get. We’re topping up our central heating, ours is 3-5kwh. There’s an easy calculator on the Kindles’ website,.
  • Apparently stoves love draughty houses – more air is circulating around and replenishing the stoves air flow
  • Stoves get hot and you will need to open the door to feed it fresh logs: look for a stove that has a door handle that stays cool – or like our stove: Contura i4 Modern handle is easily removable. When not in use we can keep to one side so its always cool or out of the way of any kids. Its also so easy to use which is great for weak grip or restricted mobility.

BLOG stsove installation

  • And the most surprising fact: installation in an existing fireplace is fast:

Day 1

10 minutes: the gas was capped off

1-2 hours: Chimney sweep cleans your chimneys

3 hours: scaffolders built a tower for access to the chimney pots

Day 2

4 hours: Kindle stove fitters arrived, inserted a metal liner down the chimney and replaced the chimney pot. Drilled out the firebrick and inserted the new stove

1 hour: scaffolders removed the scaffolding


One year on Salty our puppy is grown up and loves snuggling up with Pepper our 14 year old in front of the stove.






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