The Coronavirus pandemic has seen many of us confined to our homes over the spring and summer, only going out for essential reasons such as food shopping and exercise.
One of the few positive outcomes of the crisis is that we are falling back in love with improvements to our homes and gardens, so this autumn, think about transforming or replacing your old fireplace.
Autumn can be a magical time of the year. There’s a chill in the air, the nights draw in and red, brown and golden leaves dramatically transform the landscape.
When returning from your evening walk or from a long day at work, there is no better welcome than the dancing flames and comforting glow of a modern, clean burning fire or stove.
And today’s contemporary fires offer a wealth of design options and striking architectural features that will grace any home, from a modest urban terrace to a rustic rural retreat.
Refurbish your existing fireplace
The traditional British fireplace is an iconic structure, which is renowned throughout the world. Its distinctive size and shape makes it a fundamental part of our culture.
However, we don’t just have to settle for a traditional fire that looks just like the one our parents or grandparents would have enjoyed. You can easily replace your fire and surround with elegant new designs in gas or wood, which also deliver low emissions and much greater energy efficiency.
Take, for instance, the new Global by DRU 55XT CF gas fire. It fits into a Class 1 chimney with minimal building work, features the latest DRU Truflame log fire effect, can be combined with a range of beautiful fire surrounds and is at least 75% energy efficient.
The 55XT is also available as a balanced flue fire. This means that it can be installed with or without a chimney, either using a false chimneybreast to conceal the flue, or by inserting the fire inside a cavity wall. Either way, you have a stunning fireplace that will transform your living room.
The wonder of wood
Wood fires and stoves are still hugely popular and the latest, most efficient models are another great way to transform a tired looking fireplace.
Firstly, you can install a modern, hole-in-the-wall wood fire into your existing brick chimney with the help of a qualified HETAS engineer. You can even make use of the depth of the chimney to have a 2-sided or 3-sided model, like the Dik Geurts Instyle Corner pictured here, creating a beautiful flame picture from multiple viewing points.
Or how about hollowing out the chimney opening to accommodate a freestanding wood stove? This is easily achieved with models such as the Dik Geurts Ivar or Aste, which are designed to fit into Class 1 chimneys and combine rustic charm with modern, efficient performance.
Create a new architectural feature with your fire
Once you move your fire or stove away from the confines of your existing chimney, the possibilities are endless.
Contemporary gas fires with the balanced flue system are not limited in size, design or capacity in the same way as chimney fires. You can have 2 or 3-sided fires, see-through tunnel fires, widescreen fires and extra tall fires like the new Maestro 75 Tall pictured here. They can be hidden behind false chimneybreasts, suspended from the ceiling, or integrated into dramatic room dividing walls and other architectural features.
The DRU Maestro and Metro series of gas fires come in sizes up to 2 metres wide with many design variations, fire bed styles, interior finishes and heat outputs.
You can also select a stunning freestanding gas stove like the DRU Passo Eco Wave model, which has a fashionable cylindrical shape and a variety of elegant colour finishes to compliment your décor.
These fires can be effortlessly controlled using a smartphone or tablet using the exclusive DRU Eco Wave app, integrating them into smart building control systems.
Contemporary wood fires and stoves have many of the same advantages but with even more possibilities. There are spectacular circular models, like the Dik Geurts Odin, freestanding or suspended cubic stoves like the Dik Geurts Bora with its fine selection of log storage units and built-in wood fires like the Spartherm Premium series, which have automatically controlled vertically sliding glass doors and many other clever features.
Electric fires have historically been the poor relation to gas and wood fires because of high running costs, poor efficiency and unrealistic flames. But that is all changing!
There is now a new generation of electric fires that are rivalling the desirability of their gas and wood counterparts. Prominent among these is the recently launched DRU Virtuo. Soon to be available in single-sided, 2-sided and 3-sided models, the Virtuo has a stunning video enhanced flame picture that looks just like a real fire. It is easy to install, includes a remote control and can be adjusted to show a huge variety of images, with or without heat.
Bioethanol – the green solution
Many people are seeking alternative, green fuels to replace wood, gas or electricity as primary sources of home heating. One option that is becoming increasingly popular is bioethanol, an odourless, colourless liquid derived from renewable plants such as grain crops and hay.
Bioethanol fires are available in a surprising range of sizes and designs, including built-in, table-top and freestanding models. The Ebios Passo E bioethanol stove was voted Best Fireplace Suite (other fuels) at the 2019 Hearth & Home awards and the Ebios One 1000 is a versatile 1 metre long coffee table model that can be used in many places around the home.
Fires fuelled by bioethanol are 95% energy efficient, release water vapour with no harmful emissions and most require no chimney or flue, so they are the natural choice for a sustainable future.
So, freshen up your home as we emerge from lockdown. Choose a new fire or stove and settle down to enjoy the warmth and comfort it brings as we drift slowly into autumn.