Meet the latest addition to our house:
Lets just go ahead and get this out of the way — the stove looks completely wonky. We didn’t install it ourselves because installation was included in the cost. And we weren’t around for the installation because the only available day was when we were in Brooklyn. The stove installer clearly does not have a discerning eye. Here’s what’s driving us nuts:
- They didn’t center the stove on the metal sheet underneath.
- The face of the stove isn’t level with the brick wall, so it looks cockeyed.
- They didn’t push the stove back far enough.
- The pipes are crooked. (We’re really not sure how they didn’t notice this one.)
- We asked them to not scratch up the metal sheet and they did. And then they tried to cover it up with….grease? Spraypaint? We’re not really sure.
- The paint on the pipes scratched off during installation.
We freely admit that we’re totally OCD control freaks when it comes to this stuff. We’re designers. It’s in our blood. But, seriously, look at how crooked that stove is:
Not OK. So we called up the stove company and complained. At first they tried to brush us off — it’s not that crooked, there were existing scratches on the steel, the paint didn’t scratch off that much — and we had to get a little New York on them.* We insisted they come out and fix the issue. And that we’d write out the check as soon as the stove was installed properly. That sped things right along and they’ll be back this week to fix the problems. Unfortunately while we’re in Brooklyn again, so we’ll see how it goes.
The moral of the story? If you want something done right, do it yourself.
Or suck it up and learn to live with shoddy workmanship. Whatever floats your boat.
Here’s what we’re loving about our new stove:
There isn’t a gaping hole in our brick wall anymore. That’s a huge plus.
It’s got pull-out “wings” that let you keep beverages warm! Coffee is basically the 3rd member of our renovation team, so we were downright giddy when we found out our coffee will never again go cold. Oh, and it’s pretty good at warming up the house, too:
While Bradley worked on getting the fire going, I took a few pictures of some furniture we haven’t shared yet. Check out our new coffee table:
You can see a couple of dining room chairs in the corner as well. There are four more of those stashed in the garage, and we’ll be designing a table to go with them. And then there’s this maple media console:
The coffee table, chairs and console are all from his company in Brooklyn. So is the tray on top of the media console. His boss gave us a generous employee discount and we took full advantage of it. The jute rug and the handles on the console are from IKEA.
The mix of woods feels like a bit much right now — everything is so loud! — but we’re not worried. Most of this furniture won’t live in the same room. It’s just sort of a hodgepodge situation until we can start actually furnishing rooms.
A few weekends ago, our friend Seryi visited us from New York. She brought us some love housewarming presents, including this:
A box of matches with a sketch of Brooklyn! So cute! At the time she said we’d probably never use the matches because they’re pretty obsolete. Joke’s on her. We’ve been using the matches nonstop since we got the stove:
Gotta love a gift that’s both adorable and practical. Thanks, Seryi!
Before we had the fireplace and attic insulation, our house was constantly freezing. We hated using our oil boiler for heat, so we set our thermostat at 59°F. We pretty much just bundled up and learned to live with it.
With the fireplace, we’ve been sitting pretty at a constant 68-70°F. Our boiler no longer kicks on. And, with the insulation, we’re retaining the heat we’re generating. We still have some old windows to replace and a lot more insulating to do throughout the house, so it’s only going to get better from here.
* New Yorkers have this amazing way of letting you know exactly what you did that is bothering them. It’s not rude and it’s not abrasive — it’s just very, very direct. Honest, almost to a fault. Coming from more passive-aggressive parts of the country, this took a little getting used to. And now we’re all about it.
Why we went with a fireplace as our main source of heat:
- Lumber’s a renewable resource.
Oil? Not so much.
- We cut out the corporations and support a local business.
One of the biggest reasons we went with a wood-burning stove instead of a pellet stove is that we don’t have to go to a big chain store and buy a packaged product. Our firewood guy lives in our town — he’s one of us. And when he delivers a truck-full of wood to our house, we know it hasn’t traveled very far. We love supporting local businesses!
- We have more control over where exactly our wood is coming from.
You know us control freaks are waaaay into this one. The great thing about buying locally is that we can always source naturally fallen trees (as opposed to trees that are cut down for firewood).
- We can get our own wood if we want.
We keep seeing ads in the local paper for “free firewood.” This is basically when a tree falls naturally (like during a storm) and the homeowner wants it removed from their property. They let anyone come in with a chainsaw, cut the wood to pieces and take it home for firewood. Bradley’s all over it — I think it’s mostly cuz he’ll take any excuse to use a chainsaw.
- We’re not reliant on electricity for heat.
Pennsylvania just had a freak snowstorm that left tons of people without power for days. It’s nice to know that if we’re ever in that situation, we won’t rely on electricity for our heat. Bonus: we could actually cook on top of the stove if we wanted.
- It’s cheap!
We talked to our firewood guy about buying 4 cords of wood. That should be more than enough to get us through winter. Since we’re buying in bulk, he cut us a deal and charged us $120 per cord. That means we’re spending a grand total of $480 to heat our house for the next 4-6 months.
- Nothing beats a fire on a cold, snowy night.
Hot cocoa. Blanket. And a dog to snuggle with.
There are some downsides to relying on firewood for heat:
- We need a backup heating system.
We’re in Brooklyn 2 days a week, which means we’re not there to build a fire. With all the insulating we’re doing, our house stays comfortably warm while we’re gone. But just in case it doesn’t, we have our boiler set to turn on if the temps drop below 50°.
- Firewood takes up space.
It would be kinda tough to rely solely on firewood without having extra space to dedicate just for firewood. We’re basically using our basement solely for wood storage.
- Wood-burning stoves require attention.
They need some tweaking every 6-8 hours to keep them burning all day. This isn’t a big deal for us because tending fires is totally Bradley’s jam. But it’s definitely not something that everyone would be into.
That’s it. We’ll be back soon with more projects and updates. Stay tuned!