As things progressed at a tremendous pace in the summer months - with walls and floors transforming our home week by week, we confidently invited Cal’s family to come spend Christmas in Dunoon.
Surely we would have a kitchen and heating system in by then?! What could go wrong?
We knew we didn’t have time to install a boiler for our central heating system at such short notice, but we had always had plans for a wood burning stove in our living room - so why not just pop it in before Christmas?
It turns out, trying to get the wood burner of your dreams, just as the weather has turned cold, and weeks before Christmas…is a big ask.
I went online, and after some research, found an efficient stove that would fit the style and size of our space - the problem was, the lead time on the stove was 6 weeks. Our dreams of a warm Christmas around a fire, surrounded by family and friends were fast dwindling, but determined, I called around to see what could be done.
With no answers, and now only two weeks before Christmas, we were ready to call off Christmas in Dunoon and head down south to meet family in Bristol, when to our surprise, my desperate attempts at contacting companies were answered by Stovax (PR Product). They could get us our dream wood stove before Christmas! I actually jumped for joy when we heard the good news. It was a Christmas miracle!
We got to tiling the hearth, in preparation for our stove. UK regulations state that a hearth must be made of a 125mm non-combustible material, unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer. Thankfully, our Stovax Sheraton 5 only specifies a 12mm thick decorative hearth - which meant we could use our beautiful Claybrook Studio Red Terracotta tiles, which were also going to be used in the entrance hall, to create the tiled area.
After installing the hearth, we worked on building out a temporary kitchen in our apartment while we waited for our flue and stove to arrive.
From here, things did not continue to go smoothly.
I had already ordered a twin walled flue for our wood stove, but after some measurements, we decided we needed a 15 degree offset, so that the twinwall flue was far enough away from combustible surfaces to meet regulations. The original website I ordered the flue from did not supply offsets, so we went to a different company for this part. On the phone with this new supplier, a representative explained to me that flues are not made to be universal - every brand has their own way of connecting the pipes, so I needed to make sure I was buying the correctly branded materials. I checked on the original website, where the title of the product stated the Brand name we had ordered and relayed this on to the new company who were helping with the missing piece.
On the day of our planned install, Cal’s mom had arrived, and was quickly assured we would a wood burning stove lit by the end of the evening. We excitedly opened up packages (our stove was so beautiful!! AHH!!!) and as Cal started dry-fitting pieces of flue together, we quickly realised they did not fit.
I sat in shock and disbelief - I was absolutely sure I had ordered the correct pieces! We called both companies, and soon found out the first supplier had recently swapped brands, but had not updated their website accordingly. With only 4 days before Christmas, and 2 days before Cal’s siblings and partners arrived, there was no way we could get the correct flue bits sent to us in time. We started calling around Glasgow suppliers, to see if we could drive into the city and pick up the missing piece. It turns out the flue brand we had chosen primarily sells its pieces online, and noone in the area kept it in stock. It was starting to look like we were not going to have a pleasant Christmas in Dunoon.
We were finally resigned to the fact that we were going to have to buy a whole new flue system.
It was a series of unfortunate events, but luckily, all the online companies were willing to make returns on the items we had bought, and we found a helpful company in Glasgow who was still open for business on the week of Christmas.
The next day, we managed to get the wood burner installed, and as we lit the stove for the first time, our living room was transformed. What was a cold, unpleasant space to spend any amount of time in, quickly warmed to a toasty room temperature. It was the first time we could really enjoy being in any part of the house during the winter months.
With plenty of wood cut down while clearing our property, and stacked by Cal and Jake two summers ago, we indulged in a lit fire every afternoon and evening during the Christmas holidays. I spent most of this time at the best spot in the house - the single mattress we sat on the floor in front of the burner. There is nothing more magical feeling than the cozy warmth that a wood burner engulfs you in on a cold winter night.
It was also a relief to see that our insulation was working - the room held its heat overnight, and the next day it was still noticeably warm before lighting a new fire.
When buying a wood burning stove, consider the size of your room and insulation levels to figure out what size burner you will need. Our room is approximately 5*8m, and the wood burner will be a secondary heat source - although, with the rising price of gas, and the ability to source cheap local fire wood, we are considering using the burner as more of a primary heat source in the winter to come - to keep the living room warm and toasty, while keeping bedrooms at a cooler temperature.
Here’s a rough sizing guide provided by Stovax for their burners: https://www.stovax.com/frequently-asked-questions/buyer-faqs/solid-fuel-buyer-faqs/size-stove-need/
The Sheraton 5 uses Stovax’s Cleanburn System for great efficiency, control and for a cleaner burn. Our wood burner has a beautiful, large glass pane incorporated in its door, which offers a beautiful glow to the space. The wood burns so cleanly, we rarely have to clean this glass.
Here's the stove we chose: https://www.stovax.com/stove-fire/sheraton-wood-burning-multi-fuel-stoves/sheraton-5/
We have a few takeaway messages from this close call at Christmas. Summer is the perfect time to start looking for your dream wood burner! That way you have plenty of time bfore the weather cools for ordering and installation. Also…order all your flue equipment from the same supplier!
Stovax truly saved Christmas in Dunoon, and their stove has made the rest of the winter months spent working on the house much more enjoyable. We can’t thank them enough for all their help.
What Have We Dunoon Blog by Claire Segeren is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at whathavewedunoon.weebly.com.