Thursday, 31 October 2013

My Beautiful Bespoke Fireplace

“I would love a hole-in-the-wall fire, with a real flame” my husband would hear me whine, whilst flicking through the glossy pages of some “Ideal Homes” type magazine “they’re so cosy”!  Well, what can I say... he certainly delivered the goods (you see ladies, if you nag long and hard enough, you get results!).  Did he whisk me off to a designer fireplace retailer to choose whichever of the £5,000 and upwards fire surrounds and log burners on display I desired? Well no he didn’t, but what he did do was even more special than that.

Using a reclaimed railway sleeper from a local disused line, an old gas cannister, a fair bit of DIY experience, and a whole load of sweat and tears, my wonderful hubby set about creating this beautiful focal point for our front room.

First job was to create an almighty mess by smashing the wall in! Next came the stone base, on which our very inexpensive, but extremely effective, log burner would be placed.  The log burner was created simply by cutting an opening in the front of the gas cannister and one at the top (attached to the flu - which luckily for us was already in place), and painted - obviously flame proof paint is quite key here! The sleeper was sanded, treated with a lick of nourishing oil, and mounted, to create a beautiful mantle to finish the whole thing off... bring me some wood, we were good to go!

We've now been enjoying our beautiful bespoke fireplace for a number of years, and  absolutely love it. So much so, that we now actually look forward to the cold dark nights, snuggling up on the sofa in front of a roaring flame (even better if accompanied by a glass of vino and a chunk of chocolate). As far as we're concerned Hallowe'en, Fireworks, hey perhaps even Christmas, have become secondary highlights of the Autumn/Winter season... we could probably cope without them all, but not without our fire!

One other unintentional 'feature' of the fireplace is the smell!  Every now and then we 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 for us the smell is really rather wonderfully rustic, enhancing the already comforting, cosy, wrapped-in-a-soft-warm-blanket feeling that comes with an open fire. 

And, during the summer months, to help with my log fire withdrawal symptoms, we burn a church candle in the fireplace. Granted, not quite the same, but still an enchanting flickering flame to gaze into, and certainly enough to pacify me until the return of what has become a highlight of the year... the fabulous fire season.

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