How to choose the perfect fire for your Connecticut home

'How to choose the perfect fireplace for your Connecticut home' blog post banner

Traditional Connecticut salt housecredit

A good fire should do much more than simply provide warmth for you and your family. It can bring a room to life with its cosy glow or flickering flames. It instantly adds a unique character to the space in which it sits. When choosing the best fire to install in your Connecticut home, it’s important to be aware of all the various options. We’ve put together a list of the different types of fires available in order to help you choose.

Long narrow gas fire in an open-plan sitting roomcredit

Gas fires

If you’re thinking of saving money on your energy bills, gas fireplaces can be excellent choice. You can warm the room you’re sitting in without having to heat the whole house. Gas fireplaces need ventilation, but don’t require a masonry built chimney, so if your property in Connecticut doesn’t have a chimney this may be the best option to go for. There are many different sizes and styles to choose from, and gas fires tend to have the best energy efficiency ratings.

Wall-mounted electric fire with blue backlightingcredit

Electric fires

One of the most convenient factors of an electric fire is that they come ready assembled and simply need plugging in and switching on. They’re very flexible in terms of positioning within the home and because the manufacturer has already selected materials and dimensions, there’s one less thing to worry about. However, if your home in Connecticut is quite large, an electric fire may not be the best option as they only tend to work well in smaller rooms, meaning that using one in a large space usually results in unsatisfactory results and energy inefficiency.

Pair of wooden rocking chairs in front of a traditional open fireplacecredit

Wood fires & stoves

Open fireplaces & wood-burning stoves are traditional and have been used for many years. As well as saving hundreds of dollars on your energy bill, they’re particularly good for adding some character and authenticity to your Connecticut home. You’ll need firewood of course. You could chop your own if you have suitable resources – or firewood can be bought from suppliers and delivered to your door for ease and convenience.

Open fireplace with wood mantelpiece in a kitchen-loungecredit

Themes & styles

When selecting a fire for your Connecticut home, you’ll find that no matter what type you go for, there are a vast array of different styles available – materials too of course. Brick, stone, tile, marble and wood are just some of the different choices available. Select a combination that suits the feel & décor of the room. Many people want a fire that will last a lifetime or many years at least. Therefore, it’s not unusual for homeowners to select a fireplace that has a neutral theme in order to keep it in line with any interior decoration changes or adjustments that may be made in the future. Mantles are also an excellent addition that can add to the character and styling of the room.

Do you live in Connecticut? What kind of fireplace do you have, and why did you make that choice? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

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Home survey: Money well spent

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home survey word cloud

 

Despite the fact that real estate in Sydney is a significant long-term investment that could impact a buyer’s finances for decades, many prospective home-owners baulk at shelling out for a professional surveyor to examine the property before the sale is completed. This is an unnecessary risk at best and a disastrous error in judgement at worst, as home damage that may be invisible to the untrained eye can cause unforeseen calamity long after you’re left holding the deed.

An expert eye

Surveyors are trained to spot existing as well as potential issues with an uncommon level of detail. Once the 2-3 hour examination of the interior and exterior of the property is complete, the surveyor will provide a thorough report on the various aspects of the home, including structure, plumbing, electrical equipment, and other amenities.

During a surveyor’s report, minor defects, major defects and safety issues will be categorised and detailed to you. You will also find out which items need repair and replacement as well as those that should be monitored for future wear. Home surveyors can even inform you of routine maintenance that should be performed based on the amenities in the home, which is information not even the seller may possess.

Survey contingency

One of the most useful discretions that having a home surveyed before buying affords you is the ability to back out of an offer if significant issues are discovered during the assessment, even after an otherwise enforceable deal is reached in principle.

The survey contingency is a vital resource after an offer has been accepted. Without this protection you may be legally bound to pay the seller a penalty fee or even the full purchase price of a home once an agreement is reached regardless of what issues may later arise.

Your options

If issues are discovered during a home survey, you can choose to ask the seller to fix them at their expense, to reduce the purchase price, or to provide a cash credit at closing to be applied to the cost of repairs. This is where surveyors truly earn their keep, as without the survey your options would be extremely limited and you would likely be responsible for the cost of any repairs necessary before you can live in the home.

It is advisable for all home-buyers to have a survey conducted prior to exchanging. A survey is an investment of time and money, but one that could pay for itself many times over if significant issues are discovered.

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Craft room

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view of our craft & sewing room

In last week’s Mapping the World post we talked about finally sorting out what had become a storage room after last year’s flood. It didn’t end after hanging a few maps, so here’s a short follow up to show what else we did in there.

view of our craft & sewing room showing a vintage printers tray full of cotton reels

It has evolved into a combined craft room & spare bedroom. We’ve put an old, rustic work bench in the large window area to make use of the natural light. On it sits a vintage Bernina sewing machine that’s just had a full service; also drawers, jugs & baskets full of thread, pins and craft tools.

view of our craft & sewing room showing a vintage hanging industrial lamp

When the sun goes down we have a couple of task lights – both have an industrial look. The first is a pale blue touch-sensitive desk lamp that we reviewed for John Lewis. The second is a vintage hanging work light with metal cage to protect the bulb.

view of our craft & sewing room showing a vintage black painted iron bed with vintage floral quilt cover in shades of orange & yellow

And last but not least a bed – we bought this Victorian folding metal bed at a flea market for £20 which was a bit of a bargain. It looks lovely with its bright floral linen. If you overdo it on the crafting, you can just flop into bed a few feet away!

Bookmarks – Homemade Home

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Homemade Home book cover

Homemade Home by Sania Pell and published by Cico Books is the third in our new series of Bookmarks book reviews.

Homemade Home book with vintage sewing machine and fabric

We’re often in awe of people who seem to find the time and have the creativity to make something out of nothing. In our case, we either don’t get round to doing it or don’t think we’ve got the skills.

page from Homemade Home book showing various hand-painted bottles

Homemade Home will put paid to both – it will motivate you to make a start and it will give you the instructions in how to do it.

title page in the Homemade Home book showing covered buttons

Recycling household materials was once common in most households.

page from Homemade Home book showing handmade linen napkins

There was a certain decline in during the latter half of the twentieth century, but that trend is now very much reversing again…

page from Homemade Home book showing handmade napkins

…whether in the guise of recycling, up-cycling or remodelling.

page from Homemade Home book showing handmade canvas deckchair seats

This could be for many reasons – a new awareness of conserving the world’s resources, saving money or creating an individual/distinctive look.

page from Homemade Home book showing handmade labels

Whatever the reason, this book’s a perfect companion.

page from Homemade Home book showing fabric covered notebooks

The pages are divided into quick ideas and larger projects.

page from Homemade Home book showing covered buttons

There are easy to follow, step-by-step instructions – and some lovely photographs of the finished items in household settings.

page from Homemade Home book showing handmade origami flowers

There’s plenty of opportunity to adapt the ideas in terms of materials, design or finish.

page from Homemade Home book showing upcycled planters made from food tins

The author’s objective is to inspire you to have a go… and it certainly works!

page from Homemade Home book showing teacups now being used as plant pots

Before you know it you’ll be collecting buttons & scraps of material.

page from Homemade Home book showing sewing paraphernalia

And, if you already have such a collection, it will offer some fun & interesting ways to use it all.

Homemade Home can also be bought from our vintage design bookshops: Amazon UK | Amazon US

[Many thanks to Cico Books for supplying this review copy]

Our home in Your Home

We’ve just been featured in the December issue of Your Home magazine.

Initially, the magazine asked us for one or two product shots of items from the H is for Home website. This escalated to a full house feature.

A couple of months ago, a photographer and his assistant spent a whole day taking shots around our house.

We’re very happy with the results, they’ve used a lot of the photos and the article is spread over six whole pages!

If you’d like to be able to read the feature properly we’ve scanned larger versions of each of the pages:

Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5 | Page 6

K is for… Kitchen

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Image of our kitchen

The kitchen is probably our favourite room in the house. We love spending time in here – cooking, chatting or having a big mug of tea after a long dog walk.

photo of a child's writing slate and wooden kitchen utensils

We have the main wall painted a zingy tangerine. It’s bright & lively in the summer but also gives a warm cosy feel when the nights draw in. We used to have it painted a fresh apple green but this felt a bit cold in the winter, so we had to get the brushes back out.

photo of the cooker in our kitchen

The orange also works well with the stainless steel and various shades within the stone tiled splash-back.

The centre of the room is filled with a large, old, beech baker’s table which serves as our main seating & eating area – also a very useful extra work surface.

On the opposite wall to the work units & cooker is a stone fireplace. This would once have housed the original kitchen range.

Photo of the fireplace in our kitchen

The chimney has not gone to waste however, with the cast iron stove chuffing away on chilly nights. On the ceiling above this stove we have a slatted drying rack – perfect for hanging washing on cold, rainy days.

The graphic 1960s street scene is by artist Ken Law… and on the stone ledge sit various vintage pottery plates including Poole and Royal Copenhagen. Mixing old & new is a recurring theme throughout our house.

photo of the shelves in our pantry

We like the blend of rustic pieces such as the baker’s table, butcher’s block and spoon rack with the modern stainless steel and downlighting.

Photo of our kitchen workbench

Both being former chefs, we like to fill the kitchen with practical (and preferably good looking) equipment.

photo of antique butcher's block

Objects from the 1950s, 60s & 70s seem to fit in well, helping to tie it all together.

photo of our vintage 1960s Hornsea Pottery 'Bronte' tea, coffee & sugar canisters

Vintage kitchen enamel and ceramics are a particular passion of ours – pots, pans, storage jars etc. Hornsea, Denby, Cathrineholm, Rorstrand, Figgjo Flint, Arabia, Dansk Designs, Le Creuset are just a few of the names we look for…

…and then there are the cookbooks – don’t get us started on those!