The fire is in

The fire is in & has been lit to see if it’s all OK and also to help with any last drying out of the inside. Being mostly timber frame construction this is a lot less than a concrete building requires.

The slate slab under the fire is the first bit of final floor to be in the house.

Even with doors being left open the house was rapidly super warm with the fire. I know it’s not a cold time of year, but it does show how a well insulated and sealed house is easy to heat up and then stays warm.

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UK Fire Hearth Rules

I’m putting in a lounge fire, in the form of a contained log burner.

These are the rules I’ve found regarding a hearth.


  • Stricter rules if a stove into a fireplace recess Vs a freestanding stove.
  • Freestanding stove rules (NOT in a recess):
    • assumes stove  is independently certified not to heat the hearth underneath it to more than 100 degrees centigrade;
    • 12mm thick non-combustible superimposed hearth onto the floor
    • Minimum size 840mm x 840mm
    • Minimum 150mm each side and behind the stove
    • Minimum 225mm in front of the door. Best practice is 300mm.

If it’s a stove going into a fireplace recess, also look at

Fire & Fire Breast Evolution

The fire, TV, fire breast, log store is continuing to evolve.

A tall thin fire could look great and remove the problem of needing to heat shield the TV from being above the fire.

It also means the TV can be at a more normal height.

With a proposed 2m or 1.9m wide fire breast a tall thin fire (less than or close to 50cm deep) the fire breast should be nice visual, but not space dominating feature of the room.

Especially with the planned slate, similar to this fire at the Scarlet Hotel:


Updated layout mockup with notes below. This based on the STUV 21/45, where there is a version that has a full height facia:

layout - fire with slate texture - tall slot fire

Carbon Neutral Woodstove!


Some models are carbon neutral. European woodstoves using the Nordic Ecolabelsystem are so efficient that the carbon emitted when they’re used properly is equal to the carbon a tree naturally emits while decomposing in the forest.

Fire + TV + Log storage

The plan for the east wall of the lounge is to have a wall with the fire, a TV and a log store. Potentially also the HiFi equipment.


I’m currently thinking indoor fire with a TV into an insert above it (so onto the fire chimney wall, that is built for thermal mass) and logs to one side and possibly also below.

I recognise, that with an efficient house, the fire will need to be small (lower thermal output). But any heat will fill the whole open plan downstairs and then travel up the 3 storey stair well column.

Here’s the a few of the current images of ideas for the fire.
– I’m not having an open fire, but some of these images show an open fire.

Above has the fire, woodstore, TV and a bench in front of the fire to sit on or leave stuff.

On the photo above, at the top of the block to house the fire is an exposed section of fire chimney pipe, which will transfer more immediate heat into the room.

Note the metal lining to the log store 🙂

This layout (above) could also allows the fire to be moved lower, making it easier to put the TV at a more normal height, but above the fire.

Example low fire position below:

fire - low - StovesOnline-co-uk - Stovax-Riva-50-Stove

I do like the above idea of a bench that sticks forward from the fire.

Or have the fire in a fire breast column with a bench to side for the TV etc.

fire - bench to side - poss 4 TV - - Wendron contura-ci4-4-sided


fire - vertical log store - poss lower fire - wide bench to side for TV

An alternative is a bench onto which is the fire and TV (if heat between the 2 is OK) with logs below. Riva do a bench up to 180cm wide. (wider than the one below).

fire - bench from RIVA Screenshot - poss with TV + logs underneath - Riva freestanding on Riva bench - see PDF brochure

Further  great log storage photos and ideas at

Slate hearth

As the lounge area is to have a wooden floor, it’d be good to either have slate on top of the wood, or instead of the wood, just in front of the fire. Dropping logs (whether alight / hot or not).

fire - vertical log store - poss lower fire + so lower TV - slate hearth



Inset slate floor in above photo. On top slate on the photo below.

fire - slate hearth - StovesOnline-co-uk - Stovax-Riva-66

To the north (sea view side) of the fire:

To the north of the fire, on the west wall, the idea is to have a tall vertical window and maybe a comfy seating area.

Automatic fire !

Scandinavian HWAM fires have a heat sensitive spring that auto regulates the amount of air going into the combustion chamber of the fire, so that you continually get optimised buring of the wood:

  • More heat from the same amount of wood
  • Less ash
  • Less hassle
  • Less soot on the glass.

Video that shows the auto system (jump to 1 minute in !).

Above picture of the HWAM I30/55 that has the Nordic Ecolabel. For more info see

Fire Heat Storage / Thermal Store

Create a thermal mass, with the chimney around the fire, so that post the fire dying out heat is slowly released into the room.

HWAM have a page on their soapstone system at

UK HWAM Distributors:


Nice look & feel :: Fire, kitchen, stairs

Some nice ideas, look & feel vibe etc. from Houzz.

Nice enclosed fire, with fire side storage and seating:
Nice look and feel to kitchen and stairs:

Bamboo “wood” stairs:

Which could be on just the horizontal sections like for:

Scarlet Hotel inspiration

Robert from ra-studio and myself went to the the The Scarlet Hotel,  for lunch to go over the plans progress and also to look at several aspects of the Scarlet Hotel that Robert had not seen.

As ever, a stunning lunch with amazing service and some more ideas / inspiration.

Some of which was reminding myself and showing Robert their smaller bedroom layout.

I also thought that we might consider having a central strip / floor corridor of wood from the entrance area, past and through the living area and kitchen, to the top of the 3 stairs down to the lounge. The current plan is slate or tiles for the entrance and living area (dinning, kitchen etc.) and wood for the lower living area.

I also like their stone work fire breast, but not sure this will work.

And good to see further Cornish wood cladding.

Hot tub ?


It seems my friends are more inspired by the house having a hot tub than anything else!

Yes, it would be great fun, to sit in a hot tub outside the lounge or on the balcony at the top by the study. BUT can I find a way to be a bit eco about how to heat the water ? (Lets face it, having a big body of heated water outside, can’t be that efficient). So, ideas on the best way to achieve the idea:

  • Use hot water that is heated by the solar panels and a back burner on the fire?
  • The Scarlet Hotel hot-tubs aren’t metal as I thought, but made out of  Glass Fibre Polyester. Looking at the Website of the Dutch firm that makes these log fired hot tubs, you can use a hose to fill them. So maybe you could use the house hot water tank to pre fill the tub with the 800 litres of  hot water. Then use the fire to keep the water warm.
    • These tubs are 170 x 260 cm wide (specification),
    • “The weight of the Dutchtub can reach 1400 kg / 3000 lbs, a small platform under the tub can spread the total weight on more square meters than just the four legs of the tub.” (Safety).
    • The English agents are