There has been a definite shift in the weather this last week or two. We have gone from a beautiful Indian summer with regular temperatures of 20°, to waking up to a light frost and 2°. I think it's fair to say we are feeling the change of season keenly now!
I am sure you will know by now that I have been using my studio as a workspace since early this year. It is a place I use for photography, writing and escaping the children. OK maybe not the last point, but it is lovely to have a dedicated workspace after using the dining table for the past 5 years or so.
The only down side is that the studio is located under several large tees and most of the windows are on the north side of the building. So it stays cool inside. Amazing when we have such lovely summer weather, not so much when it is less than 10° outside, then a hat, scarf and gloves are required indoors.
At the beginning of this year, sometime during the longest cold spell we have had for years, Arada contacted with a slightly unusual request. Might I be in need of a wood burning stove...?
An unconventional request, admittedly, but definitely a timely one!
As it happened, yes. We had recently finished building the studio which already had a flue plate on the roof ( a kind of flexible, heatproof rubber sleeve through which an insulated flue can be pushed rather than building a chimney) and a hole on the ceiling inside, with a stove in mind to be installed before this winter.
We were actually in the process of researching stoves and the invitation from Arada to work together seemed like perfect timing.
Over summer we built a hearth ready for the stove to sit on, using encaustic tiles on a cement board. I wanted it to be as unobtrusive as possible so chose a simple geometric design in grey and white.
We then chose the Arada Hamlet Solution 5 Smoke Control stove, it's simple design suits our style and - a huge bonus - there is an option to have a heat shield attached to the rear which significantly reduces the distance it can sit from combustible materials.
This was a fundamental feature in our choice as the studio is a timber frame building, and we hadn't realised cement board would be required rather than plasterboard - long story short, the walls are essentially combustible. The heat shield means the stove doesn't have to sit (almost) in the middle of the room and can be close to the wall.
If you are thinking of installing a stove, there are several things you need to research. Aside from the obvious - such as where you might install it and how suitable your space is - you will also need to consider what you burn and the implications of that choice.
Whilst burning logs is pretty much carbon neutral, they do release particulate matter into the atmosphere when burned. Now I am not going to claim to know everything here, but you will need to ask some questions about the stove you install and consider what you burn and the emissions they produce.
There is currently a Europe wide programme to reduce stove emissions due to come into force in 2022 - you can read a little more on the SIA website here, and Arada have shared some useful information here.
The stove we chose is already ecodesign ready. We can burn wood or smokeless fuel (with a kit fitted) and the stove is approved for use in smoke control areas.
I am sure you will do your research if you are looking to install a stove, so what else to say? It lights easily and burns efficiently. We have another stove in our lounge so are familiar with the way they work, one log can burn for up to an hour when we have the balance right, and this produces just about the right amount of heat in all but the very coldest weather.
In my experience, it is entirely possible to regulate the output of a stove, it's not all or nothing.
Not to mention there is nothing quite like sitting near a fire, cup of tea in hand, warming your toes. We may have only had this stove for a week or two, but I can already tell you it's going to make a huge difference to how I use the studio over the colder months.
Roll on winter...