Who knew that something small, black and made of steel could have such an impact on our lifestyle as a family! It’s our one luxury purchase in the house to replace an old rather unsafe fire which we hardly used anyway. My husband always wanted to use the old gas fire but complained at the many things I blocked it with like plants, chairs, cushions, blankets etc that in the end he gave up. It wasn’t easy to light anyway let alone control the heat.
Two homes on Instagram with a gorgeous fireplace that I have always envied are Miriam @holmes_and_away with her massive statement brick chamber that opens up her room almost doubling it and Louisa @louisaatstarrecorner in her “elegantly knackered” home (her words) and oh the most charming fireplace. Go check them out.
So the decision was made and early January we had it installed. It took one 8-hour day, the last hour of which was putting in the multi-fuel stove. Most of the day involved chamber work and putting the flue in. Since the install, this room has been used surprisingly differently and has affected our family in a way we didn’t expect.
Personally, it made me stop and pause during the evenings, take a moment or couple of hours to relax with my family by the fire. That might not sound radical but I run my own business from home and the lines between work hours and family hours are so blurred and a huge juggle to say the least . I don’t really stop to be honest and often work late after dinner into midnight. There is always something to deal with or chore to do.
But when the fire is roaring, bearing in mind it’s not actually cheap to have a constant fire, we all make the most of it. We slow down, relax and enjoy our evenings. And so this brings me to the second way…
It made us BE together as a family in one room, even though we may be doing different things. I may be on Instagram, the husband on his iPad or laptop, the eldest drawing on the iPad, the middle one on some educational or games app on the iPad and the youngest often just snuggling up next to me chatting and singing and promptly falling asleep.
We have music playing in the background (a variety of styles and eras – usually 80s and 90s) and we tell our kids about them – how old we were when they came out and what life was like back then! These ordinary things we do become extra special in the context of being together by the fire.
This pic was taken when we were using some briquettes which last so much longer than wood but doesn’t give a pretty looking fire.
Lastly, it has made me keep this room fairly tidy ready for snuggling. Before the fire, this room was barely used, sometimes for shoots, but often time to dump our bags and coats in. Now, it feels more spacious, open, welcoming and snug.
I have written more about how I transformed this room with before and after photos on here also showing the opposite wall which is dark and how that has totally changed the feel of the room!
This change has caught us by surprise and we are really enjoying our fire as well as our family evenings. It has made it worth the money for sure – a luxury that had an effect one of necessity.
Do share your thoughts on Instagram layered.home and I’d love it if you would follow me on there too! And please share on your stories or repost on Instagram, I’d be forever grateful!
By the way, if you have a wood burner stove and still haven’t heard of the upside down way of lighting a fire, you are missing out! It’s the easiest and most efficient way – Google it and you won’t ever look back to the old tippee way! I showed a time lapse video on my Instagram grid if you want to see how it’s done in a minute!