Project House - Opening Up The Chimney Breast {and fitting a logburner}

December 06, 2016

Our latest renovation project {before the huge project beyond projects started} was in the lounge. You may remember me talking about our plans to open up the chimney breast in here to put a log burner in nearer to our sofas. We finally received planning permission {it's a listed building, normally you wouldn't need planning permission for this} and so set about getting to work on it.. 

This was the very first before photo {more here} and this was the temporary fireplace we mounted before we were allowed to open it up {more pics of the whole lounge transformation here}. The chimney breast was originally an external wall, this part of the house was a Victorian extension. So the other side of it had a working fireplace in the dining room. But we wanted to block that one up to be able to have this opening. We'd planned a log burner in here from one of the first viewings we had, it just seemed to make sense and the room looked weird with a plain chimney breast in the middle of it.

Normally this would have been a job for Ben but with this house being very old, and us not knowing what we'd find when we opened it up, we wanted somebody else to take control! Also with fitting stoves and lining the chimney breast etc you need somebody who is HETAS registered so that it complies with building regulations. It's not just a case of fitting a log burner, you need it to be safe. So we contacted a guy that had fitted a lot of our friends and families stoves around here {if you're within Hertfordshire then give Duncan at All Seasons Chimneys a call} and he then recommended us to Dane, his remedial builder who was able to do all the building prep work. 

We were desperate for the fireplace to be ready for Christmas and the only date that Dane could fit us in for the first stage was whilst we were in the Seychelles a couple of weeks ago. We were slightly nervous, as none of us knew how big the opening could be until it was opened up but luckily my parents agreed to be around to come and let the builder in and then supervise the works for us. The night before we went away we moved all our furniture and things off the shelves to the very back of the lounge and covered everything with thick double layer dust sheets and then a tarpaulin on top. We didn't want the sofas etc becoming covered in dust. Everybody had warned us how messy it can be opening up a chimney breast. In the end it was probably a good thing that we were away for the works and my Mum sent up these update photos! There was dust EVERYWHERE.

We came back to the opening which had been fireboarded across the back and had a lintel put in to support the chimney stack, the edges had been plastered. We should have thought to leave a heater on or the heating on whilst we were away as when we got back a few days later the plaster/bonding hadn't dried at all in that time. It was a v cold period but once we had a dehumidifier and heater on it it started to slowly dry out. 

Next we had to choose a mantle shelf and hearth before the logburner could be fitted. We wanted a light grey stone to not stand out too much in here and trawled around a few reclamation yards before realising that our local builders merchants sold thick patio slabs that would work just as well for a fraction of the price. The hearth has to be a certain size to pass for building regs, it has to come out beyond the log burner to catch any hot sparks when the door is open etc.

Shelf wise, a lot of people have a beam fitted across their log burners but our house doesn't feel like it suits that cute cottage look quite so much so we went with a chunky mantle shelf in the end. We were looking online, at local fire shops and eBay and the like before realising our old kitchen mantle shelf that we had in storage would work perfectly. Serendipitously it was the perfect size too. Ben fitted it to the wall and then primed and painted it white.

A few days of the dehumidifier and heater later the plaster still wasn't dry! 

Ben cut the slabs to size and shape and we then got them set in. We put a sheet of ply down first to protect the floor in case we ever want to take the stones up in future.

With the shelf painted I could set about creating my Christmas mantle display yay and at last the plaster was dry enough to paint it before the logburner was installed. Ben also cut new bits of skirting board to match in with the rest of the house.

We were lucky to get booked in before Christmas as it's the busiest time of year to fit woodburners. I'd first enquired back in August so make sure you book somebody with plenty of time before you actually need them. We ordered a Chesney's Stove, it's the Salisbury 8 series, I like that it's a fairly simple design and not too fussy. We had a Chesney's before in our old house and my parents have got one, but there are so many brands out there to choose between. You'll also need to ask your fitter what size KW they recommend for the size room you have. It depends on insulation/air circulation/ceiling height/room size etc etc. We also chose a log burner rather than a multi fuel for coal etc as just want to burn logs.

On the day we left the fitters to it as they climbed up to the roof to the top of the chimney and wrestled around with the log burner that weighed a tonne!

By the afternoon we were ready for our first small fire. You have to start very slowly, with kindling only to start with, to cure the paintwork and have the door open to start with so as not to glue the door shut. As it heats up and then cools again you can build it up and after a couple of nights with it we were really feeling the heat.

Just in time for Christmas! It's really changed the whole feel of the room, and makes it so much warmer and cosier. It was perfect timing for that freezing cold snap over the weekend and we've had it on every afternoon/night so far.

Post on decorating for Christmas up next. 

We're so happy it's all done now and we can have this room as our sanctuary to retreat from the kitchen chaos over the next couple of months.

This post wasn't sponsored at all but if you are in Hertfordshire then I can't recommend Duncan at All Seasons Chimneys enough if you need any chimneys/stoves sorting out. 

R <3 xx 

You Might Also Like


  1. Your house looks gorgeous and the log burner looks perfect in the room! We have a log burner and they are just perfect at this time of year and really give off a lot of heat!

    Rachael xx.

  2. If anyone needs a log burner in the Bucks area Chiltern Stoves are amazing. Mark, who owns the business, is a builder by trade and can do all the prep as well as install the burner. Look him up on Facebook by searching Chiltern Stoves.


@rvk_loves on Instagram