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Wednesday, 25 April 2012 12:22:33 Europe/London
Whether you are renovating or selling your home, some additional features could help to add value or sell your property. One of the homeliest of these is the hearth or stove. Whether you go for an open fireplace or a wood burning stove* you are guaranteed to bring a warm glow into your home.
Fireplaces are usually regarded as the traditional option. An open hearth has long been the symbol of welcome. Many conversion properties have existing fireplaces that simple need to be opened up and restored. You might need to replace the grate, surround or flue – a professional hearth restorer will be able to advise you – but the cost of installing a reproduction fireplace can be surprisingly affordable.
Of course you can invest in a period piece – many architectural salvage yards have a wide variety of lovingly preserved fireplaces with original art nouveau tile surrounds or Victorian cast-iron grates. These period details – especially if they are in keeping with the era of your home – can add value and appeal to your property.
Modern fireplaces can add a striking twist to loft-style conversions and bolder architectural visions. A range of steel and stone designs have recently come on the market, including free standing and suspended designs that make for an unusual focal point in a large, modern space.
However, open fireplaces can contribute to high levels of dust and, while modern designs can be easily lit and regulated, they can sometimes be temperamental. Enclosed wood burning stoves are much easier to maintain and, being enclosed, they are safer and cleaner than open fires.
Again, your main choice is between reproduction, antique or modern. Look for a wood burner that has a way to regulate the air flow as that allows you to change the speed of the burn, thus regulating heat and making more efficient use of your fuel. Many wood burners have hotplates on top that can be used to heat a traditional kettle, and some include back boilers that can heat radiators either in the same room or elsewhere in your home, which can really help to minimise drafts and even out the heat.
Whichever you choose you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you’re using a renewable fuel every time you throw another log on the fire. Whereas coal and gas are fossil fuels, well forested timber can actually help reduce carbon dioxide levels. You can also use the waste products of your fire in the garden: wood ash can be used to condition soil. According to the Royal Horticultural Society “[wood ash] is a natural source of potassium and trace elements. It also has a liming effect, so wood ash can remedy excessively acidic soils.”
Whichever you choose, the final design will depend on the style of your home and on your budget. Whether you have a small period conversion or a large modern loft there is a fire place or a wood burner for you.