Using blood, sweat, tears, a fair bit of DIY experience, and a reclaimed railway sleeper from a local disused line, my wonderful hubby set about creating this beautiful focal point for our lounge.
Our chimney is open, so we could have a roaring fire in here if we wanted, but we don’t need it as a source of heat, the radiators work just fine for that, (well that’s when the resident “Heating Police Officer” (aka the husband) allows us to turn up the thermostat instead of putting on an extra jumper). Nor do I fancy the mess (or smell) that would inevitably come with an open fire. Instead, I use a church candle to create a natural flame, which I place in a glass vase for added effect. I’ve also tried grouping a few church candles of varying heights in there too, which is really effective but obviously more costly, especially if you’re lighting them every evening (which I do). Another option we’ve considered to create a “living” flame, is a bio ethanol fire. These fires look really attractive, they come in all shapes and sizes, and are suitable for indoor and outdoor use. However, they do seem to be quite pricey on fuel, so are probably only suitable for occasional use. Think we’ll just stick to the modest church candle for now.
One other unintentional feature of the fireplace is the smell! Sometimes you get a whiff of the oil which would have spilled from the train’s engine and seeped into the sleeper. Perhaps not to everyone’s taste but we think this brings a certain homeliness and authenticity to the whole thing (yes...we are a bit weird!)